Nathan began his artistic life as a surfer kid in Florida, and his artistic career as a precocious and iconoclastic conductor of national acclaim. In 1998, prior to his graduation from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (B.M. with Honors '99), he had already become Apprentice Conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver, a position created especially for him by Music Director Marin Alsop. Concurrently he held the positions of Assistant Conductor of the Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy), Cabrillo Music Festival in California, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. He was a nominee for the American Symphony Orchestra League National Conductor Preview and a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition.
In Cincinnati, he was also the Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning experimental and renaissance music collective Cobra Ensemble Cincinnati, and in Denver the Founder and Music Director of the Brave New Chamber Orchestra, with young members of the Colorado Symphony.
His instincts however soon grew to reject the corporate and conservative nature of the American orchestral scene, in favor of a plurality of artistic influences and collaborations, and thus moved to New York City in acceptance of an invitation to work with MacArthur "genius" Grant awarded-composer John Zorn, where he also conducted the world premiere of Lou Harrison's Simfony in Free Style at age 23. In NYC Nathan was also apprenticing with the SEM Ensemble, and was thus invited as Assistant Conductor to their new summer institute in the Czech Republic, Ostrava New Music Days, in 2001 and again in 2003.
A growing curiosity toward Europe coincided with being offered a 1-year position conducting Ensemble Muse in Holland, and he moved from New York in September 2001, just a few days before the world changed like wind on his back. In Holland he quickly became active conducting countless premieres as guest conductor for ensembles such as the Royal Conservatory of The Hague New Music Ensemble, Percussion Group of The Hague, New Opera Academy, and Orkest de Volharding (for whom he was also later a finalist candidate for new Chief Conductor in 2005). In the summer of 2002, Nathan attended the renowned Darmstadt International New Music Institute (Germany) and conducted the music of Morton Feldman for the first time. At the conclusion of the institute, the jury awarded the highest prize to two premiere performances which Nathan conducted, and have thus been released on CD.
For the purpose of legal residence in the EU, Nathan had enrolled at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and then the Conservatory of Amsterdam, subsequently earning a M.M. in Orchestral Conducting ‘05, with a Minor in Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques).
In Holland, Nathan also initiated his own ensemble in development upon his work with John Zorn: Collision Palace, specializing in the exploration of group improvisation languages and game-systems. The ensemble enjoyed collaborations with composers such as Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Robert Ashley, Pauline Oliveros, and was invited to perform in the Holland Festival with Fred Frith in 2003. (This work is detailed under Group Improvisation Languages.)
Nathan conducting the Percussion Group of The Hague
Composition for percussion, loops, blips and flesh (premiere)
Donnacha Dennehy - composer, John Gerrard - video artist (Rotterdam, 2002)
[ additional videos forthcoming ]