Judith Anne Nelson, née Manes (10 September 1939 – 28 May 2012) was an American soprano, noted for her performances of baroque music at the beginning of the "early music revival" of the 1970s and 1980s.
Nelson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She graduated with a degree in music from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1961. On August 5 of the same year she married Alan H. Nelson, with whom she moved to Berkeley, California.
In Paris, Nelson joined the Five Centuries Ensemble, then in 1976 she was a founding member, with William Christie, and Wieland Kuijken, of René Jacobs' Concerto Vocale, the chamber music ensemble which preceded Christie's own Les Arts Florissants in 1979. She also performed with Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music, and Anthony Rooley's Consort of Musicke - in soprano duets together with Emma Kirby. Later she was one of the founding members of Nicholas McGegan's San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, specialising in Handel and Purcell.
In opera she made her debut in Brussels in 1979, in Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea under Alan Curtis. She was soprano for Christopher Hogwood's landmark 1980 recording of Handel's Messiah, recorded in Westminster Abbey and videotaped by the BBC.
Nelson died, aged 72, in Albany, California.Mondonville: Pièces de clavecin avec voix ou violon. Judith Nelson, William Christie
Pietro Antonio Cesti: Pasticcio. Mihoko Kimura, Judith Nelson, William Christie
Montéclair: La Badine. Pan et Syrinx. William Christie
Strozzi: Cantatas. Judith Nelson, Concerto Vocale
M.-A. Charpentier: Salve Regina Judith Nelson, Concerto Vocale
Music From the Time of Elizabeth I Hogwood
Musique pour la Chambre du Roy Hogwood 2CD
Handel: Alceste & Comus. Kirkby, Nelson, Kwella, Cable, Elliott, Thomas. AAM
Handel: Apollo e Dafne. Nicholas Mcgegan