Nathan Bowen is currently pursuing a doctorate in music composition at the CUNY Graduate Center, studying primarily with Amnon Wolman and Tania León. Having composed for chamber ensembles, short films, orchestra, choir, theater, commercial projects, and computer music, Nathan has diverse interests. As a member of the Handcart Ensemble, he created sound scores tightly integrated with kinetic dance movement and spatialization for New York premieres of Pulitzer Prize winner Seamus Heany's Burial at Thebes as well as Ted Hughes's Alcestis. His music for Handcart Ensemble's Two Yeats Plays garnered a nomination for a New York Innovative Theater Award for best original music. He was recently commissioned by MELD Danceworks to provide an original score for Sydney Ann's Apple, which was premiered at the Merce Cunningham Studio. His most recent projects involve networked performance and are geared toward audiences helping to make compositional decisions in real-time. As a co-founding member of the Intermedia Arts Group, Nathan has performed computer laptop improvisations using signal-processing and 3D graphics. His work in this area has been funded by a position at the Graduate Center's New Media Lab. Nathan currently teaches computer music and music history at Hunter College (CUNY), as well as solfége and music theory at Purchase College (SUNY).
Cassia (2004) is an aromatic spice that, among other uses, is an ingredient for anointing oil. Having an interest in the rich history of anointing, I love how it is a tradition mainly associated with vitality and potential. This piece is meant to be a celebration of things that are ennobling, constructive, and beneficial to growth and enrichment. As such, I wanted to write something that not only comes alive aurally, but also requires a bit of physical nimbleness for performance. I am increasingly drawn to durational issues and how rhythm can be used to create a sense of motion or stasis. In this piece I am conscientious of the interplay between sparse and rich textures, brittle and lush timbres, and abrupt dynamic and rhythmic contrasts.