Logan Nelson has worked on many projects that merge music and visual media. (Photo courtesy of Maria Alvarez)When Logan Nelson, a senior music student, got a call from the producer of the World Soundtrack Awards saying that he’d been selected as a finalist for the Best Young International Composer, he was shocked. To enter the World Soundtrack Awards, a subsection of the Ghent Film Festival, Nelson submitted an original score for a full orchestra set to a clip of Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Grave of the Fireflies.” Nelson wanted to enter the competition because of his interest in writing for orchestras and love for Miyazaki’s animation. On Oct. 17, Nelson will travel to Ghent, Belgium to perform his score with a live orchestra while the clip from the movie plays in the background.“I did not expect to win [the competition] but I’m really glad I did,” Nelson said.Although the score is finished and most of the work has been completed, Nelson is still actively preparing for his performance at the awards show next month. For a live performance set to a picture to run smoothly, each instrumentalist must stay on track. “The [musicians] have a click in their headphones so everybody’s in time, so I have to … prepare the click track for them,” Nelson said. “I’ve been talking with [the conductor, the Director of the Brussels Philharmonic,] about the intentions I have [for] the piece.”Learning to play the piano and violin, studying music theory and listening to his parents’ collection of soundtracks in his middle school years transformed Nelson. His love for films, along with his musical background, helped him realize that he wanted to compose soundtracks. He draws stylistic inspiration for his projects from Hans Zimmer and Ben Wallfisch, two composers who combine orchestral music with electronic elements. Ted Hearne, Nelson’s private instructor since his freshman year, said he’s thrilled to see his student grow, improve in his craft and receive due recognition by being selected as a finalist for the awards. “I know him as a composer who showed a lot of promise, who’s always asking the hard questions about what it means to be a musician and really looking at opportunities to meld genres, to think about hybridization in music,” Hearne said. “He’s been working to find ways to combine all of his different influences into something cohesive and expressive.”Nelson said he has worked on many projects that blend music with visual media. One of his favorite collaborations, entitled “The Goh Ballet,” was produced with longtime friend Lukas Dong, a senior majoring in film production. Logan said he values artistic collaboration and appreciated the opportunity to work alongside his friend.“Collaboration is what I live [for] … I like to collaborate on everything just because life is so boring without [it],” Nelson said.Dong said he was excited for his friend’s nomination and he hopes to accompany Nelson to Belgium for his performance. “[The nomination] feels so big it doesn’t really [sink] in,” Dong said. “The vibe I get is that he’s extremely well-skilled and that he understands how to execute the music he’s doing very well. It’s just like a second language to him.”While he’s worked on personal and school-related projects with film students, Nelson has also assisted composers for TV shows such as Netflix’s “Dear White People” and ABC’s “For the People.” He is currently running the music department for sci-fi TV show “Skyvault,” which will be pitched to Netflix. He’s also working on a film called “Lullabye” for submission to the Cannes Film Festival. Nelson plans to work on bigger projects after graduation, whether they entail making soundtracks for films or composing orchestral music. “[It’s about] developing my own sound, my own voice, and working with my own directors and through those relationships eventually … [being] able to do this for a living,” Nelson said.