Nathan Williamson’s career crosses genres, styles and performance practices. Alongside regular solo, chamber and concerto performances, Nathan is in demand for new work from a wide variety of artists both at home and abroad. He also stages and facilitates a range of musical projects on a local and national level, ranging from collaborations on new repertoire, performances for the concert hall and theatre, and music-making for musicians of all ages and abilities.

As well as working alongside numerous living composers in performances of their work, Nathan has collaborated with a diverse rostra of artists, including Claire Bloom, James Gilchrist, Guy Johnston, Arisa Fujita, the Gryphon Trio, Njabulo Madlala, Boris Kucharsky, Alexander Baillie, Ensemble Endymion, the Rossetti Ensemble, the Allegri and Sacconi Quartets. Since 2016 Nathan has been a member of the ensemble Piano Circus who, alongside their position as Artists-in-residence at Brunel University London, have commissioned over 100 new works and undertake regular international tours.

January 2022 saw the final release of the three-volume recording project for SOMM-Recordings, ‘100 Years of British Song’, with tenor James Gilchrist. The discs included premiere recordings of Holst, Maconchy, Carwithen, John Woolrich, Geoffrey Poole, and Nathan’s own work, as well as songs by Bridge, Clarke, Gurney, Bush, Alwyn, Rawsthorne, Dickinson and Dring. Awarding its ‘Recording of the Month’ accolade, Limelight described Volume I as a penetrating, frequently revelatory start to a promising new series. Reviews from The Gramophone followed: James Gilchrist’s contribution is past praise in its probing range of expression and unfailing sensitivity to the text. What’s more, he enjoys immaculate support throughout from Nathan Williamson, who also provides a stimulating booklet essay. Glowingly realistic sound and full texts boost the desirability of a most impressive release… Of Volume II MusicWeb International said: It is redundant to declare that this is a superlative CD. Considering the two performers, the technical prowess of SOMM Recordings, the excellent liner notes and the imaginative and wide-ranging programme, it could be nothing else.

Following these recordings Nathan founded The Art of British Song in September 2021, a longer-term project celebrating British song, its legacy and its future, through performance, education, and the development and funding of new work. Since then Nathan and James Gilchrist have given recitals at Snape Maltings, The Alwyn Music Festival, the English Music Festival, and Surrey University, before staging a series of ‘Salon Recitals’ in the summer 2022, presenting British song in its more ‘natural’ environment of the domestic setting. This theme continues with the premiere of Nathan’s new song-cycle, Grey and Green are all my Light, written for the baritone Jonathan Eyers, which will take place at Reydon Hall in April 2023.

Nathan’s enthusiasm for British music has also been reflected in recent solo piano projects. An exploration of the Sonatas and Nocturnes by Malcolm Lipkin, and the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Christopher Brown, both culminate in 2023 with the release of premiere recordings of this repertoire for Lyrita. 2022 also saw Nathan give the first performance for some 20 years of Thomas Pitfield’s First Piano Concerto at Aldeburgh in his own arrangement for chamber orchestra commissioned by the Pitfield Trust, as well as several concerts and broadcasts focussed on the music of Doreen Carwithen in her centenary year. Prior to the pandemic Nathan’s CD of British 20th century solo piano works for SOMM, Colour and Light, was chosen as Album of the Month in International Piano Quarterly:  ‘No praise could be high enough of Williamson’s performances… Whether in the dream-world of the Delius Nocturne or in the fire and ice of the Herschel Hill Toccata, Williamson unearths musical treasure beyond price’ (Bryce Morrison).

No stranger to the classical repertoire, Nathan celebrated Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020 with a cycle of the complete Piano Concertos at Aldeburgh. His debut recording, Brahms and Schubert: Late Piano Works, was reviewed by Donald Sturrock as ‘a truly electrifying debut from a musician with a rare marriage of thoughtfulness and passion… I doubt this Sonata [Schubert D.959] has ever had a more powerful advocate.’ His first CD for SOMM, Great American Sonatas (2017), was hailed by Musical Opinion as ‘a landmark in recordings of American Piano Music’.

During the recent lockdowns Nathan gave online solo recitals and duo recitals with violinist Marije Ploemacher for City Music Live, the Southwold Music Trust and the Delius Society, as well as streaming regular live music into local schools and care homes. 

Nathan’s own compositions are a mixture of extremes, ranging from complex, virtuosic chamber works and songs to music written specially for young performers, and arrangements for amateur instrumental ensembles and choirs to opera and incidental theatre music. Recent works include The little that was once a man, a song cycle to texts by Bryan Heiser written for James Gilchrist, a major new Sonata for cello and piano commissioned by Charles Watt, and Crystal, a mammoth single movement work for piano quartet written during the pandemic and premiered by the Rossetti Ensemble in 2021.

Machine Dream, a children’s opera commissioned by Mahogany Opera Group for their ground-breaking ‘Snappy Operas’ project, has been performed by numerous primary schools across the UK. Nathan’s music for piano, which he regularly performs in recital, includes a number of works commissioned as personal tributes or to mark special occasions, including Intermezzo (2012), Flowers of the Field – a lament (2013) Variations on a Theme of Cole Porter (2014), and Dreams (2016).

Nathan has also been commissioned by Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Bury St. Edmund’s Cathedral, Mariko Brown and Julian Jacobson, Endymion, Pushkin House, as well as works for younger and amateur performers by Pro Corda and Music Works chamber music courses, Rugby School, Waveney and Blyth Arts, and the Chamber Music 2000 project. A cycle of string quartets has led to premieres by the TinAlley and Barbirolli Quartets in both the UK and USA. In 2010 he conducted three performances of his first opera, A Fountain Sealed, to a libretto by Thomas Walton. His work Trans-Atlantic Flight of Fancy is featured on NOW Ensemble’s album Dreamfall (New Amsterdam Records) and Homecoming, a commission for violinist Piotr Szewczyk as part of his Violin Futura project, was recorded on Navona Records following dozens of performances by Szewczyk and other violinists worldwide.

Nathan studied with Malcolm Singer and Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of  Music and Drama, and at Yale University, where his principal teachers were Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Michael Friedmann and Joan Panetti, to whom he was appointed deputy on her revolutionary ‘Hearing’ programme of ear-training and aural analysis. Further postgraduate studies followed with Robert Saxton at Oxford University, before a period of teaching at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Nathan now lives in the town of Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, where he founded and directs the Southwold Music Trust, seeking to make music a central part of the local community through performance and education initiatives with musicians of all abilities, and its sister organisation, the Southwold Concert Series, which has staged some 60 events in local venues since 2008. He is married to Daisy, senior music therapist at Suffolk Music Therapy Services, and together with their two young children they love nothing more than heading straight out onto the beaches and beautiful countryside which surround their home.