Growing up in the small town of Gaylord, Michigan, composer Nelson T. Gast sought every musical opportunity available to him, gathering many performances of his compositions. Upon graduation Nelson attended Central Michigan University and studied composition under David Gillingham and Jarrett Goodchild. After transferring to the University of Michigan, Nelson studied under Paul Schoenfeld and Bright Sheng, as well as studying with Samuel Adler while in Berlin. As a recording engineer, Nelson has recorded numerous recitals and concerts. In addition, Nelson has led the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as the president of the Epsilon chapter, which he brought from reorganizational status to a chapter in good standing.