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Nathan Shirley


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Classical composer and pianist Nathan Shirley was born in North Carolina on April 23rd, 1981.

At the age of 17 he began private lessons in composition with Olga Harris, a Russian composer and the last student of Aram Khachaturian.

Shirley studied piano and composition at several conservatories and universities until shortly after his twenty-first, birthday when he broke with the academic music world for good. Later the same year his composition “Music for Strings and Marimba” was a winner in the 2002 Andrzej Panufnik International Composers’ Competition in Poland. In 2004 his piece “Locorum Musica” for string orchestra and flute was chosen in the First International Garden Music Competition in Krakow, and in 2006 he served on the jury of the same competition. In addition to attending many orchestral performances of his work, Shirley has given several piano concerts in Poland, and is now collaborating with the Malwa Music Klub of Krakow on a number of projects for 2007.

Shirley has been a guest lecturer at UNCC on the history of Russian music, and has performed and conducted his work throughout North Carolina. His music has been featured on international radio in Europe and Canada, as well as locally through WCQS Asheville and WDAV Davidson. His composition “In the Distance” was awarded first place in the 2006 Orpheus Music Composition Competition in Australia. In 2007 his piano piece “Cultus” gained an award in the Renee B. Fisher Composer Awards in New Haven, Connecticut.

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