Inspired by natural phenomena and the abstraction of simple stories, Nathan Davis "writes music that deals deftly and poetically with timbre and sonority" (NYTimes), elucidating the acoustics of instruments and the fragile athleticism of playing them.
The BAM Next Wave Festival and American Opera Projects presented the world premiere of Davis’ Hagoromo, a chamber dance-opera featuring ICE, soloists Katalin Karolyi and Peter Tantsits, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and featuring dancers Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto. Lincoln Center inaugurated its Tully Scope Festival with the premiere of Nathan's landmark work Bells, described by Tommassini in the NYTimes as "an alluring and pensive musical experience", and presented other premieres of his work at the 2013 Mostly Mozart Festival. Nathan has written many other works for the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and its members, and has received commissions from Steven Schick, The La Jolla Symphony Chorus, Miller Theatre, the Ojai Festival (for Eighth Blackbird and an installation by sound-sculptor Trimpin), Third Coast Percussion, MATA, Yarn/Wire, and Donaueschinger Musiktage. Currently a fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, Nathan has received awards from the Fromm Foundation, Meet The Composer, American Music Center New Music for Dance, Aaron Copland Fund, Jerome Foundation, New Music USA, Concert Artists Guild, ASCAP, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the ISCM. He and Phyllis Chen won an NY Innovative Theater Award for their score to Sylvia Milo's play The Other Mozart, for which Davis also received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Sound Design.
Performances of his music have been presented at NYC's Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, The Kitchen, Roulette, Le Poisson Rouge, the Stone, Issue Project Room, the Park Avenue Armory, and the Look and Listen Festival. His music was featured in portrait concerts at Spoleto Festival USA and Mount Tremper Arts, and it has been performed across the country by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Calder Quartet, the CSO MusicNOW, Talujan, TimeTable, and many soloists. International performances have been heard at Acht Brücken | Musik für Köln, Aspekte Salzburg, Helsinki Musica Nova, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Audio Art Krakow, and other festivals in Holland, China, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and Australia.
Davis' music has also been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, on WNYC's New Sounds Live, KALW's Then and Now, American Public Media's The Story, on WKCR, and on Q2. Albums of his music include On the Nature of Thingness, The Bright and Hollow Sky (performed by ICE and one of TimeOut NY's top 5 classical albums of 2011), flutist Claire Chase's debut Aliento, Travel Diary from the Meehan/Perkins Duo, Simple Songs from Doug Perkins, 100 Names from Rebekah Heller, Little Things from Phyllis Chen, and his electroacoustic percussion disc Memory Spaces. A premiere recording from the Calder Quartet is forthcoming.
Also an active percussionist, Davis has premiered hundreds of pieces, working with luminaries and fostering emerging composers. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, and Nagoya Philharmonic. A core member of ICE, he is an artist-in-residence at the Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and performs regularly at major venues throughout NYC, across the US and Europe, and has toured Russia, Bali, Turkey, and Cuba. He has recorded for Nonesuch, Tzadik, Mode, Kairos, New Albion, Bridge, BMOP, and Cold Blue records.
Davis was on the faculty of Dartmouth College for eight years and has given masterclasses on composition, electronics, and extended percussion techniques at UC Berkeley, CalArts, Rice, Baylor, Yale, and the Akademia Muzyczna in Krakow, Poland, with additional residencies at Harvard, Princeton, UCSD, Brown, and other universities across North America. Nathan received his Masters in Music from Yale University, Bachelors degrees in both composition and percussion at Rice University, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Rotterdams Conservatorium in Holland.
Photo by Adam Szczepaniak