Nathaniel Sullivan is a musician, theatre artist, and writer devoted to holding space for reflection, understanding, and creative projects that champion change. As an avid performer of vocal music and theatre, Sullivan infuses his work with "impressive strength and precision" (Schmopera), as well as “great eloquence” (ConcertoNet) and "allegiance to both music and words" (ConcertoNet).
Having performed works in both the classical and contemporary dramatic repertoires, Sullivan's roles have ranged from Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), the Count (Le nozze di Figaro), and Sid (Albert Herring), to the roles of Hannah Before in Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed's As One, Vincent van Gogh in Michael John LaChiusa's The Highest Yellow, the Baritone in Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox, and the Elephant in the American Premiere of Richard Ayres's The Cricket Recovers. In 2016, Sullivan joined Beth Morrison Projects to cover the roles of the Young Monk and Gilgamesh in Scott Wheeler's Naga and Paola Prestini's Gilgamesh, as part of the world premiere of the Ouroboros Trilogy in Boston. He has participated in the Opera Studio program at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and was a 2018 and 2019 Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
In addition to dramatic repertoire, Sullivan engages in many oratorio and concert performances around the country. He made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in November 2018, performing Gerald Finzi’s Requiem da Camera “with great eloquence” (ConcertoNet) alongside the NY Choral Society. Sullivan has joined the Blanche Moyse Chorale & Memorial Orchestra in performances of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor—bringing “natural expressiveness and warmth” to the “Et in Spiritum Sanctum” (Rutland Herald)—as well as numerous concerts featuring the cantatas of Bach—singing with a “warm lyricism” and “expressive presence” (Rutland Herald). Other orchestral highlights include Frank Martin's Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann with The Orchestra Now, a collection of Bach works with Capital City Concerts, and oratorios by Mozart and Haydn with Maestro James Bagwell. For his 2017 performance as the Chansonnier in HK Gruber's orchestral pan-demonium Frankenstein!!, Sullivan was regarded as "ebullient" and "a marvelous actor" (ConcertoNet), putting on “a virtuoso show in the part” (The Berkshire Eagle).
Sullivan also takes great interest in the art song and chamber repertoires, with a particular focus on recently composed works. Alongside the acclaimed Momenta Quartet, he premiered Matthew Greenbaum's Crossing Brooklyn Ferry in 2019 as part of Momenta's 15-year anniversary festival. Other chamber premieres include Oliver Leith's Dream Horse with conductor Thomas Adès; Gary Fagin's Jumping Mouse with the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra; and Songs of the Earth with members of the Albany Symphony. Sullivan's initial foray into chamber music culminated in a performance of Milton Babbitt's Two Sonnets for baritone, clarinet, viola, and cello, performed at Bard College in 2016. The following year, Sullivan premiered the piece "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" by composer Gregory Spears, as part of a recital of premieres at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. In 2018-19, he premiered a number of songs from Paula M. Kimper’s Song of Myself Melody Book, in celebration of Walt Whitman’s 200th birth year.
Sullivan's awards and recognitions include the Grace B. Jackson Prize for exceptional service at the Tanglewood Music Center (2019); the Cynthia Vernardakis Award for Third Place in the Orpheus Vocal Competition (2019); the Janet Plucknett Award for Third Place in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Solo Competition (2019); First Place in the NATS National Musical Theatre Auditions (2018); and two artist scholarships from the Nebraska District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2012, 2013). During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sullivan conceived and self-produced the Pandemigram Project, raising over $7,500 for 43 different charitable organizations. He received his BM from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he graduated in 2014 as a Chancellor’s Scholar, and his MM in 2017 from the Bard College Conservatory of Music's Graduate Vocal Arts Program, led by Dawn Upshaw. He is currently based in New York City.
Connect with Nathaniel and read his written reflections at nathanielsullivan.com.