Biography | Press Kit

Nils Bultmann is a violist, improviser, and composer based in the San Francisco bay area. Active as a performer in the United States and Europe, he plays both classical as well as contemporary repertoire. He is also involved in collaborative projects including dance, video, and avant-garde improvised music. He has generated an expansive body of work in the recording studio, including solo and multi-track viola music as well as collaborative and improvised musical textures.  He also writes traditional through-composed works for solo instruments, string quartets, and orchestra. 

Nils was born in Houston Texas to a German father and an American mother and was raised in Madison, WI. He also often traveled in Germany. His mother introduced him to music and he began to study viola and piano at age ten. Nils received his B.A. from the University of Madison-Wisconsin on a music scholarship, studying viola performance with Sally Chisholm.

While maintaining a strong love of and connection to performing traditional western classical chamber and orchestra music, he has turned his focus towards composition and improvisation, performing in diverse settings with Indian classical musicians, electronic DJs , and contemporary dance companies. He self-produced and recorded two solo CDs of his own multi-track compositions, “Forgiveness”  and “Terminally Unique” (Mutable Music) and was featured as a member of the Transatlantic Art Ensemble performing new works by jazz Saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Evan Parker released on ECM records. Recently he premiered the solo viola piece "9-9-09" written for him by Roscoe Mitchell and recorded for the Rogue Art label. He was awarded the Aaron Copland Recording Grant for the recording and release of his acoustic works on Innova records including his series of viola duets with Hank Dutt of the Kronos Quartet.

Nils recently completed his PHD in music composition at UC Berkeley, where he worked with David Wessel and Edmund Campion at the Center for New Music and Technology creating interactive works and video installation pieces. His multi-media work focuses on combining diverse live performances often recorded in unconventional settings with musicians of a wide variety of backgrounds.

He was recently commissioned by Michael Tilson-Thomas to compose and perform in a new work for 31 violas (in 8 parts) as part of the 2019 Viola Visions Festival in Miami Beach.