Composer Eric Nathan to Make Boston Conducting Debut In New England Philharmonic Season Opener

A 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, Nathan has been commissioned by leading ensembles and institutions including the New York Philharmonic and more.

By: Sep. 08, 2021
Composer Eric Nathan to Make Boston Conducting Debut In New England Philharmonic Season Opener

On Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 8:00pm, composer Eric Nathan will make his Boston orchestral conducting debut leading the New England Philharmonic in their season opening concert at All Saints Parish. As the Philharmonic's Composer-in-Residence since 2019, during which the orchestra has had an interim period between Music Directors, Nathan worked with the orchestra to program the 2021-2022 season. The opening concert, titled Opening a New Door, includes Nathan's own the space of a door, as well as Bernard Hoffer's Fanfare in Honor of Richard Pittman, Hannah Kendall's The Spark Catchers, and Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.

Nathan says, "We wanted this opening program to help the New England Philharmonic open a triumphant new door to the future as we return to live performance but also give us space to acknowledge the experience of the past year and half as a community. My piece the space of a door begins in celebration, and concludes in reflection, with a texture that asks each string player to sing out at once amongst the collective as if a soloist. They do so first intimately and incredibly quietly, asynchronously from one another, and then swell as a mass as they all cry out at once, before then receding and fading to silence, still singing all the way. Hoffer's Fanfare celebrates Richard Pittman's legacy and impact at the NEP and Kendall's The Spark Catchers has a vibrant energy that presses forward with both excitement and defiance, as it reflects on Lemn Sissay's poem about the Matchwomen's strike in 1880s London. With the Firebird, we conclude the program with some of the most joyous and life-affirming music in the repertoire, looking ahead with hopefulness to the future."

Nathan's 11-minute the space of a door (2016) was originally commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pays homage to Brahms. Robert Kirzinger, the BSO's Director of Program Publications, wrote that with this piece, Nathan "wanted to evoke complex emotions that could simultaneously express grief and wonder, tragedy and beauty, reflecting his sense that normal, everyday human emotional experience is a fluid and highly nuanced spectrum."

Concert Information
Opening a New Door
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 8:00pm
All Saints Parish | 1773 Beacon St | Brookline, MA
Tickets: $35 General Admission, $25 Senior, $10 Student

BERNARD HOFFER: Fanfare in Honor of Richard Pittman
ERIC NATHAN: the space of a door for orchestra
HANNAH KENDALL: The Spark Catchers
Igor Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919)

Eric Nathan, conductor

About Eric Nathan:

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, Barlow Endowment and University of Chicago's Grossman Ensemble. 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.

Nathan's works have also been presented nationally and internationally at the New York Philharmonic's 2014 and 2016 Biennials, Louvre Museum, Library of Congress, 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" (postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic).

Nathan's orchestral music has additionally been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and orchestras of Charleston, Charlotte, Daejeon, Louisville, Milwaukee, Omaha, Portland as well as A Far Cry, Aspen Music Festival 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 a four-year 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 artist residencies at Yellow Barn, Copland House and the American Academy in Rome, and will be a fellow at Civitella Ranieri Foundation in 2022. Nathan has been honored with awards including 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 Associate 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 David S. Josephson Assistant Professor at Brown, 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.

For more information, visit

Photo credit: Rebecca Fay

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