Roger Nixon was born in 1921 and raised in California’s Central Valley. He acquired a taste for the rhythms and dances of the early settlers of California which appear in many of his works. His musical interests were nurtured in the public school music program, summer camp at Pacific Grove, and Modesto Junior College. He spent the war years in the Navy as a commanding officer, and obtained his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley where he studied with Roger Sessions, Sir Arthur Bliss, Ernest Bloch and privately with Arnold Schoenberg.
In 1960, he joined the faculty at San Francisco State University. He has written over 60 compositions for orchestra, symphonic band, choir, and opera. In 1997, Nixon was honored by the Texas Bandmasters Association as a Heritage American Composer. His works have been premiered and performed by San Francisco Choral Artists on numerous occasions, and he was the Choral Artists’ first Composer in Residence in 1999.