Nathan Cornelius pursues a multifaceted career in performance, composition, and teaching.
Trained as a classical guitarist, he has received competition first prizes for his solo, concerto, and chamber performances on guitar. He has studied with Julian Gray, Ricardo Iznaola, Jonathan Leathwood, David Crittenden, and Jeffrey Van, and has performed in masterclasses with guitar luminaries including Eduardo Fernández, Benjamin Verdery, Roland Dyens, and Zoran Dukic. His performances and research focus on guitar music of the 20th and 21st centuries, exploring how modern and postmodern composers articulate cultural conceptions of time and memory through intertextuality with works of the Western tradition. In doing so, he also seeks creative ways to engage with audiences outside of the traditional venues for classical music. In 2017, he was selected for the Young Artist Development Program residency with El Paso Pro Musica.
As a composer, Cornelius searches for the hidden beauty in sounds both fresh and familiar, opening listeners’ ears to new colors, textures, and ultimately, new ways of hearing. He is a co-founder of Nebula Ensemble, a group dedicated to creating and performing innovative and interdisciplinary chamber music throughout Colorado. In addition to commissions from Nebula, his works have been performed by the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Wet Ink Ensemble, and at the World Harp Congress. He has been composer-in-residence at Shenandoah National Park and Isle Royale National Park.
Cornelius currently teaches musicianship and music theory at Towson University and the Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include the application of working memory principles to music classroom pedagogy and the extent to which models of post-tonal theory accurately describe listeners’ perception of unfamiliar music. He received an M.M. in music theory pedagogy and a D.M.A. in guitar performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and an M.M. in composition and guitar performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.
Cornelius is deeply interested in the connections between music and the visual arts as they embody the values of a civilization, and he seeks to compose music that both reflects his Christian faith and expands the imagination of the culture. He blogs about new music and his compositional philosophy at deformingprisms.wordpress.com and displays his nature photography at Luminous Shadow Landscapes on Etsy.