After returning from Paris he started teaching music history at U-M Dearborn. Although he applied to--and was a finalist for--a job at Dartmouth, he did the math and realized that between teaching at Dearborn, Schoolcraft, and doing carpentry in the summer, he was already earning more than the Ivy League school's starting salary.
So Nissen "decided to stick around." And, he adds, "I haven't regretted it at all. Who'd want to leave Ann Arbor? It's such a great town with so much music and music opportunities. Plus, my family roots are here, as well as all my closest friends."
Twice married and recently divorced, Nissen has two stepdaughters. In his free time, he watches U-M football ("my second religion"), sometimes with his dad, and he acts in the Friends of the Michigan League dinner theater (where his roles have included Mozart in Amadeus). He enjoys a quiet evening sitting in Carson's restaurant, sipping a martini while he studies his lines or reads a biography.
A biography inspired one of his latest compositions-in-progress. Upstairs in his home studio, he calls up "Genghis Khan" on his computer, and the monitor shows--note by note--the music he's created.