Music Now is an informal forum series for Brown’s community of composers and music scholars. This week’s guest is Eric Nathan, composer and David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music, who will speak about his recent music in the context of his work over the past few years. Music Now talks are free and open to the public.
Zoom link for event: https://brown.zoom.us/j/95067280463
About Eric Nathan
Eric Nathan’s (b. 1983) music has been called “as diverse as it is arresting” with a “constant vein of ingenuity and expressive depth” (San Francisco Chronicle), “thoughtful and inventive” (The New Yorker), and as “a marvel of musical logic” (Boston Classical Review).
A 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, Nathan has been commissioned by leading ensembles and institutions including the New York Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, Boston Musica Viva, Collage New Music, The New York Virtuoso Singers, Fromm Music Foundation and Barlow Endowment. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has commissioned three works, including a chamber work, “Why Old Places Matter” (2014) for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and two orchestral works, “the space of a door” (2016), that Andris Nelsons and the BSO premiered in November 2016 and commercially released on the Naxos label in 2019, and “Concerto for Orchestra” which Nelsons premiered on the 2019-20 season-opening concerts, and was scheduled to repeat at Tanglewood in summer 2020 (canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Nathan’s works have also been presented nationally and internationally at the New York Philharmonic’s 2014 and 2016 Biennials, Louvre Museum, the 2012 and 2013 World Music Days, Emily Dickinson Museum, Nasher Sculpture Center and at the festivals of Aldeburgh, Aspen, Cabrillo, Domaine Forget, MATA, Ravina Steans Institute, and Tanglewood. In 2019, Yellow Barn featured Nathan’s 50-minute dramatic song cycle, “Some Favored Nook,” created in collaboration with librettist Mark Campbell, on opening night of its 50th anniversary season. Composer portrait concerts of Nathan’s music have been presented by the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble Berlin at the American Academy in Rome, by the Hudson Valley Music Club, and at the Tenri Cultural Institute (New York). In April 2020, the Longy School of Music was scheduled to present a portrait concert featuring the premiere of Nathan’s evening-length work, “Missing Words” (canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Nathan’s music has additionally been performed by orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Louisville Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, A Far Cry and New York Classical Players. Chamber ensembles have performed Nathan’s work, such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Dal Niente, JACK Quartet, and American Brass Quintet. In addition, Nathan’s music has been performed by sopranos Tony Arnold, Jessica Rivera, Lucy Shelton and Dawn Upshaw; violinists Jennifer Koh and Stefan Jackiw; baritone William Sharp; and pianists Gloria Cheng, Gilbert Kalish and Molly Morkoski.
Nathan began an appointment as Composer-in-Residence with the New England Philharmonic in the 2019-20 season. He has previously served as Composer-in-Residence at the Chelsea Music Festival (New York) and Chamber Music Campania (Italy). Nathan has completed an artist residencies at Yellow Barn, Copland House and the American Academy in Rome, and will be a fellow at Civitella Ranieri Foundation in 2021. Nathan has been honored with awards including a Fromm Commission, ASCAP’s Rudolf Nissim Prize, four ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, BMI’s William Schuman Prize, Aspen Music Festival’s Jacob Druckman Prize, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Leonard Bernstein Fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Center.
In 2015, Albany Records released a debut album of Nathan’s solo and chamber music, “Multitude, Solitude: Eric Nathan,” produced by Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman, featuring the Momenta Quartet, trombonist Joseph Alessi, violist Samuel Rhodes, oboist Peggy Pearson, pianist Mei Rui, and trumpeter Hugo Moreno. (Le) Poisson Rouge presented a CD release concert of Nathan’s music in October 2015. In 2019, Chelsea Music Festival Records released “Eric Nathan: Dancing with J.S. Bach,” featuring conductor Ken-David Masur in Nathan’s two suites of orchestrations of Bach keyboard works. In May 2020, Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project released a portrait album of Nathan’s orchestral and large ensemble music on the BMOP Sound label. Nathan’s music has additionally been released on Bridge Records.
Nathan is also a passionate educator and advocate for contemporary composers. He serves as David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music in composition and theory at Brown University’s Department of Music. At Brown, he teaches a variety of subjects from composition to popular music history that engage students with and without backgrounds in music. In 2018, he was awarded Brown University’s most prestigious award for junior faculty, the Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship, that recognizes excellence in teaching. He has additionally served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College and has taught composition at the New York Philharmonic’s Composer’s Bridge program and at Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program.
Nathan completed his doctorate studying at Cornell with Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra and Kevin Ernste, his masters from Indiana University studying with Claude Baker and Sven-David Sandström, his B.A. from Yale College where he studied with Kathryn Alexander, John Halle, Matthew Suttor and trumpeter Allan Dean, and a diploma from the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School where he studied composition with Ira Taxin. Nathan additionally was a composition fellow at Tanglewood, Aspen, Aldeburgh and the Composers Conference.