Nicholas J. Carlson serves as Music Director and Conductor of the University Wind Ensemble at the University of Chicago. He also serves as Senior Lecturer and Acting Director of Bands at the University of Illinois Chicago where he teaches the undergraduate conducting curriculum, clarinet, chamber music, and directs the Wind Ensemble.
Carlson is the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Arts Orchestra, Symphony847, and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra. He has previously performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Skylight Opera, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Wind Orchestra, and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
As a passionate advocate for music education, Carlson is the founder of numerous youth band programs that support the work of music teachers in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and is co-conductor of the CPS All-City Symphonic Band. He is an active clinician throughout the midwest and has guest conducted honor bands in Wisconsin and Georgia.
Prior to his work in Chicago, Carlson earned a Master of Music degree with a dual concentration in instrumental conducting and clarinet performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). He served as the graduate conducting associate with the UWM University Band and UWM Youth Wind Ensembles and assisted with the overall administration of the band program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in music education with honors from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
His professional affiliations include College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, Illinois Music Educators Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Music Service Fraternity.