David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music

Overview

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, and The New York Virtuoso Singers. 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 repeats at Tanglewood in summer 2020.

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, and at the festivals of Aldeburgh, Aspen, Cabrillo, Domaine Forget, MATA, Ravina Steans Institute, Tanglewood and Yellow Barn. 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).

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, and Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra. Chamber ensembles have performed Nathan’s work, such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Dal Niente, JACK Quartet, American Brass Quintet and A Far Cry. In addition, Nathan’s music has been performed by sopranos Dawn Upshawand Lucy Shelton; violinists Jennifer Koh and Stefan Jackiw; and pianist Gloria Cheng.

Nathan begins 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). In September 2017, Nathan completed an Artist Residency at Yellow Barn, where soprano Jessica Rivera, baritone Andrew Garland and pianist Molly Morkoski workshopped and recorded Nathan’s new 45-minute dramatic song cycle, “Some Favored Nook,” based on texts by Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, adapted by librettist Mark Campbell. The Nasher Sculpture Center presented the premiere in January 2019 with Tony Arnold, William Sharp and Gilbert Kalish, FirstWorks presented the New England premiere, with the Amherst premiere presented by the Emily Dickinson Museum. Yellow Barn featured the work on the opening night of its 50th anniversary season.

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 2020, Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project plan to release a portrait album of Nathan’s orchestral and large ensemble music on the BMOP Sound label.

Nathan has been honored with awards including a Fromm Commission, Copland House residency, Civitella Ranieri Music Fellowship, 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.

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 and Aldeburgh where he worked with John Harbison, Augusta Read Thomas, Bernard Rands, Michael Gandolfi, Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews, Christopher Rouse, and George Tsontakis.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

On the Web