stanton nelson

Dave and Gunda Hiebert Fellow


“Throughout my whole life I’ve investigated the many mysteries of music, faith, and life.  I’m constantly trying to discern the structure of pieces and inquiring how the great composers went about their work.  At the same time, I enjoy delving into the murkiness of theological aspects, such as free will vs. predestination and grace vs. justice.  I’m especially interested in the sacraments (communion and baptism) and the freedom which comes from repentance-forgiveness-deliverance.  It is a wonderful mystery the world we live in, and I want to understand it as much as I can.”

— Stanton Nelson


Stanton Nelson, organist and composer at Highland Park United Methodist Church, comes from Long Island, Kansas. He has released four albums, which can be found on many streaming and purchasing websites: Genesis, From the Launchpad, On This Journey, and Respite. A fifth is underway, With These People, and should be released in the fall of 2018.

Mr. Nelson is also the first prize winner of many piano competitions, including the Hays Young Artist’s Competition 1st Prize Winner (’11), Kansas City SAI Scholarship Competition Top Prize Winner (’10), and Robert M. Spire Solo Piano Competition 1st Prize Winner (’08).  He has also been selected for two prestigious positions, one of the two vocal coaches for the University of Michigan production of Dead Man Walking in 2014 and the pianist for the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble performance in Carnegie Hall (2012).

Stanton, a much sought after pedagogue and collaborator in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, fosters a private piano studio while being an adjunct professor of piano at The King’s University.  He has performed on many voice teachers’ studio recitals and with the eminent Turtle Creek Chorale.  Stanton also collaborates with many professional musicians at Highland Park United Methodist Church, where he often composes the pieces for the ensembles.

Mr. Nelson holds his degrees from the University of Kansas (B. M. in piano performance) and the University of Michigan (M. M. in collaborative piano performance). He is currently receiving a Master of Divinity from The King’s University and a Doctor of Pastoral Music from Southern Methodist University. He is expected to graduate from both institutions in May of 2020.

Stanton has studied under many wonderful teachers – Jack Winerock, Scott McBride Smith, Julia Broxholm, Martin Katz, Katherine Collier, Michael Hawn – and has had the privilege in taking masterclasses with Graham Johnson, Margo Garrett, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, and John Musto. In his free time, Stanton loves to swim, rock climb, and worship.