Nathan Friedman is a composer and clarinetist based in Victoria, BC. He has an MA in Composition/Experimental Music from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Anthony Braxton, Paula Matthusen, Ronald Kuivila, and Neely Bruce. He also has a Bachelor of Music in composition from the University of Victoria, where he studied composition with John Celona, Wolf Edwards, Dániel Péter Biró, and Christopher Butterfield, and clarinet with Patricia Kostek and Ed Nishimura. He has also studied independently with Michael Finnissy, Chaya Czernowin, Judith Shatin, Annesley Black, and Samir Odeh-Tamimi. In 2019 Nathan was one of the six composers selected for the Canadian League of Composers’ PIVOT mentorship program, where he worked with Martin Arnold.
His works engage with and aim to subvert the contradictions and conventions of music and aesthetics of the last 150 years, using a pluralistic approach that juxtaposes rigorous structural methods with an expressionist lyricism. His works have been performed by Continuum Contemporary Music, Mark McGregor, Erik Abbink, the Bassinova Quartet, the Vancouver Clarinet Trio, loadbang, Michael Robert-Broder, Corey Hamm, and the Victoria Composers Collective. His music has been featured at SALT New Music Festival (with Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart), Wesleyan Experimental Music Festival, Oak Bay New Music Festival, and the Victoria Symphony’s Hugh Davidson Composer Readings.
As a clarinetist, Nathan has performed in the Canadian premieres of pieces by Witold Lutoslawski, Fausto Romitelli, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Michael Finnissy, and Antoine Beuger, as well as in the world premiere of Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome Project at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad 2010. As an improviser, he has performed with Joëlle Léandre, Mats Gustafsson, Nicole Mitchell, Wayne Horvitz, François Houle, Taylor Ho Bynum, Gino Robair and Adam Rudolph.
Nathan is currently a member of the Victoria Composers Collective, A Place to Listen Ensemble and Friedman/Krause Duo, and is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre. He is also a freelance arranger, copyist, recording engineer and producer.
“Truly sad is the piece by Nathan Friedman based on the Lugubre gondola II by Franz Liszt. This music does not need much dusting to make it sound contemporary. It has a dramatic chromatic bass line, here adorned by small clusters of microtonal sounds. In the hand of Nathan Friedman, this funeral march becomes an ode to the modernity of the composers of the end of the XIXth Century. Solemn, this piece is quite different from everything heard through the evening, fully assuming its emotional aspect. Because the structure is very clear, the memory of the listener impregnates more easily this music. Sometimes indeed, less is more…”
Normand Babin of Neomemoire, Review of Continuum’s PIVOT concert, March 30, 2019
“Friedman most definitely has an ear for a bracing discord, as the opening of the piece amply demonstrated. Erik Abbink’s excellent baritone saxophone wove its grief-stricken arabesques over bass harmonics, later indulging in glissandos and various unconventional sound-producing techniques, such as blowing through the mouthpiece and producing a high-pitched shriek, while the basses kept up their mournful dirge beneath. An effective and affecting work, extremely well-played.”
Deryk Barker of Music in Victoria, Review of Bassinova Quartet concert in Victoria, July 7, 2016
“Dave Riedstra’s Prairie Trails was a virtuoso performance on [bass] clarinet by Nathan Friedman–of all the compositions I found it demanded the greatest attention…”
Janis La Couvée of Monday Magazine, Review of Wanted Composers Tour concert in Victoria, June 28, 2015
Interview with Maren Lisac on RE:composition, Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5FM, July 5, 2017
Interview with the Wesleyan Argus about the Wesleyan Experimental Music Festival, November 2013.
“Mythen und Widersprüche. Bob Gilmores Claude-Vivier-Biographie.” MusikTexte 147 (November 2015): 89-90.
Six Popular Songs After Lawrence Durrell. Middletown, CT: Stethoscope Press, 2014.