Eric Nathan: Quartet for Oboe and Strings

Program Note

Composer Eric Nathan is a 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. His work has been performed by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, among others. Nathan’s recent projects include two commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including a chamber work for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and an orchestral work, the space of a door, that was premiered by the BSO and conductor Andris Nelsons in November 2016. Nathan has received additional commissions from the New York Philharmonic for its CONTACT! series, Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival for the American Brass Quintet, Lucy Shelton and Tony Arnold that premiered at a season opening concert at Merkin Hall, and more.

Nathan served as Composer-in-Residence at the 2013 Chelsea Music Festival (New York) and 2013 Chamber Music Campania (Italy). He received his doctorate from Cornell and holds degrees from Yale and Indiana University. Nathan served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College in 2014-15, and is currently Assistant Professor of Music in Composition and Theory at the Brown University Department of Music.

During the opening weekend of Yellow Barn’s 2015 summer season, Nathan’s multisensory piece LUMEN was installed in Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro, VT. In addition, Nathan served as composition guest faculty at Yellow Barn's Young Artists Program in 2016. Nathan will return to Yellow Barn this September for an Artist Residency to develop, perform, and record a new oratorio based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

“I think of my Quartet for Oboe and Strings as a sort of theatrical play. I treat the oboe and string trio as characters in a drama, engaging them in a series of dialogues and conversations that follow an emotional arc and narrative trajectory. While I didn't have a specific story in mind writing this piece, my work follows a narrative in the abstract – the characters lead us on an emotional journey, one that leaves us someplace new by the end, with memories of the musical events and interactions that have transpired.”

— Eric Nathan (ed. Fiona Boyd)