Faculty Profile

Nathaniel Lew, PhD

Associate Professor of Fine Arts: Music
View Curriculum Vitae

M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
B.A., M.A. Cambridge University
B.A. Yale University

Areas of Expertise:

Twentieth-century British music, particularly opera, and its relationship to institutions and the broader culture; the composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Alan Bush; choral conducting

Courses I Teach:

  • Chorale and Chamber Singers
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music
  • Music Theory III & IV
  • Musicianship Lab for Music Theory I & II
  • Opera
  • Senior Seminar

My Saint Michael's:

I teach music history, music theory and musicianship, and I direct the College Chorale and Chamber Singers.  I enjoy the creative freedom to teach a wide variety of subjects in a department where faculty and students are open to his experimenting with new topics, materials and methods. I like having the freedom to organize my courses as I choose. I also appreciate being able to work closely with my students, and I love it when students respectfully disagree with one another in really productive ways.

In all of my courses on musical repertory, such as Opera and Medieval and Renaissance Music, I take the entire class to live performances, usually including one in Montreal. Although the music department is small, we work hard to facilitate all our students' performance projects, some of which are ambitious and impressive.

My research involves 20th-century British music, particularly operas, by composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Alan Bush.

I prepared the introduction and edited Scenes Adapted from Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress, a play by Evelyn Ouless with incidental music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Promethean Music, 2008). I also prepared and edited Haitian Noel, a Creole Christmas Carol (Hal Leonard Music, July 2007).

Favorite Quote:

 "I beseech you ... think it possible that you may be mistaken." - Oliver Cromwell

Nathaniel G. Lew, associate professor of fine arts, music, is the editor of the recently published “Ralph Vaughan Williams, Richard II: Incidental Music for a Radio Production.” According to the Promethean Editions Composers and Repertoire online database, this 1944 orchestral work by Williams to accompany a radio production of the Shakespeare play is being published for the first time, and “provides insight into a substantial work at the height of his maturity. Although the composer prepared this extensive score – having written approximately 25 minutes of original music scored for an orchestra with a full complement of brass and percussion – the BBC radio production never materialised.” The website entry quotes Nathaniel, as editor, about the work. “Documentation of the project is scarce … Queries in the orchestral score in a copyist’s hand suggest that instrumental parts were prepared, but neither these parts nor any recording has survived, nor has any other correspondence or documentation of the commission,” he explains.
(posted December 2014)

William Lee Ellis and Nathaniel G. Lew, assistant professor and associate professor, respectively, of fine arts/music, both attended the joint meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Musicological Society, and the Society for Music Theory in New Orleans on Nov 1-4. Bill gave a paper entitled "I Can't Make the Journey by Myself: Blindness as a Transformative Trope in the Music of Reverend Gary Davis" and was courted by Scarecrow Press about book and series editor possibilities. Nat, in his role as Secretary of the North American British Music Studies Association, helped run that smaller society's business meeting and organized and conducted at their reception and musicale.

Nathaniel G. Lew, associate professor of Fine Arts/Music and director of the college Chorale and Chamber Singers, in July delivered a paper, "The Moment We've Been Waiting For: Post-War British Identity in Operas from the Festival of Britain," at the Fifth Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, in Urbana, Illinois.

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