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Staff Profile

Staff Profile

Nathan James Dearden: Lecturer in Music Composition & Performance Manager

Described as “a champion of his generation” and whose music is “hauntingly beautiful’ (Media Wales), Nathan James Dearden is an award-winning composer of concert music and mixed media, conductor, curator, and educator.

Nathan's music has been commissioned, performed, featured and workshopped by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkeley Ensemble, The Tippett QuartetGenesis Sixteen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, The Heath Quartet, Grand Band, the Fidelio Trio, Hebrides Ensemble, CHROMA ensemble, Carla Rees and The Dunedin Consort. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Summer School and Festival, International Young Composers' Meeting, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music. Nathan was an inaugural Young Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and Music Creator for Sinfonia Newydd in 2013. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Resonance FM, RTÉ lyric FM, S4C and Soho Radio.

Recent notable performances and projects include: an outreach collaboration in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Swansea receiving city status with the Welsh National Opera; a new song, the way we go, being released on Delphian Records (Helen Charlston, Alexander Soares); 3 postcards as part of Making Music UK’s Adopt-a-Composer Scheme (Swansea Philharmonic Choir); and suo at the Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain). For their 2020 season, Nathan was a Young Composer with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, creating new music with the choirs in partnership with NMC Recordings and the PRS Foundation. His work, Morals + Interludes, written as part of this residency has been released on the NMC Digital label and published by Stainer & Bell.

Upcoming projects include a Passion setting combining choir, chamber ensemble and immersive, digital storytelling in partnership with the Choir of Royal Holloway (generously supported by the PRS Foundation), a Welsh tour of his orchestral folksong settings, Pedair Cân o Forgannwg, plus collaborations and commissions with Britten Sinfonia (Magnum Opus) and National Youth Arts Wales for National Youth Choir of Wales.

Nathan has recently been shortlisted to represent Wales at the 2021 International Society for Contemporary music World Music Days in Shanghai, and awarded the inaugural Acapela Studio Award for Composers from the Welsh Music Guild, to record and promote the music of exceptional Welsh composers. In recent years, he has also been awarded an Early Career Public Engagement Grant from the Institute of Musical Research in support of Spotlight Series: Finnissy at 70, was selected as a London Philharmonic Orchestra Leverhulme Arts Scholar for their 2016/2017 season, and in May 2017, Nathan received the inaugural Paul Mealor Award for Outstanding Young Composers by the Welsh Music Guild.

As a conductor, Nathan is carving a career as one of the most sought-after interpreters of his generation for the performance of twentieth and twenty-first century repertoire. Nathan has held posts and guest conductorships at National Youth Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Choir of Wales, CHROMA, Cardiff University, Cardiff Contemporary Music Group, London Metropolitan University / CASS Institute, and is currently the Director of New Music Collective and New Voices Consort at Royal Holloway, University of London. Nathan made his London Philharmonic Orchestra conducting debut with members of the LPO at their 2018 Summer Gala. Nathan has recorded, performed and premiered works by established living composers such as Judith Weir, David Lang, Caroline Shaw, Michael Finnissy, Benjamin Tassie, Gavin Bryars and Howard Skempton, plus hundreds of new works by young and emerging composers. 

Based in London, Nathan is currently Director of Music Composition (Interim), Lecturer in Music Composition, Conductor of the New Voices Consort and New Music Collective and Postgraduate Research Scholar at Royal Holloway, University of London. Supervised by Mark BowdenHelen Grime and Julian Johnson, Nathan’s research interests include parody in music, and music as a form of social commentary. 

Nathan holds a Bachelor of Music (with Honours) from Cardiff University, where he was awarded the David Lloyd Music Prize for excellence in vocal studies and choral work (2012) and the Elizabeth Griffiths Award for his outstanding contribution to the musical life at Cardiff University School of Music (2013). He later graduated from Cardiff University as a Master of Music (with Distinction) in Music Composition with Robert Fokkens, Louis Johnson and Arlene Sierra, where his studies were kindly supported by Cardiff University, the James Pantyfedwen Foundation and the RVW Trust

Nathan is a Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (SMISM), a Trustee of Classical Remix, Board Member of the Welsh Music Guild, Mentor with Ivors Academy, Associate Artistic Director at MusicFest Aberystwyth, Festival Manager of Chamber Music on Valentia, an Academy Member of the British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors (Ivors) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

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