Nathan Michel

Adjunct Professor of Theory

Address: Cato Center
Personal Website:

“Daring, but highly listenable” is how Pitchfork describes the music of composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Nathan Michel.  Awards for his work include a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, several ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, and a Naumburg Fellowship. His composition teachers were Louis Andriessen, Paul Lansky, Steve Mackey, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman and Elliott Schwartz. He was a featured composer for the 2014 Ecstatic Music Festival and has also written pieces for the Now Ensemble, The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, and others. His work has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and WNYC’s Soundcheck.

In addition to his concert music and recording work, Nathan composes music for film and TV. The New York Times praised his “haunting” score for Lana Wilson’s feature documentary The Departure. Other recent film score credits include Narrowsburg, directed by Martha Shane, and the multi-part documentary series A Cure for Fear (Lana Wilson, director). His music has been heard at film festivals such as Sundance and Tribeca. He has composed music for major brands such as Nike, Apple, and Google, including several Superbowl spots. His score for Nike’s “Be Better / Mamba Forever” commercial, narrated by Kendrick Lamar, won a Cannes Bronze Lion and has received over 34 million views on YouTube.

In 2007, along with songwriter Amber Papini and bass player Brian Betancourt, Nathan formed the band Hospitality. They released two critically acclaimed LPs  on Merge Records and toured worldwide, including stops at major festivals such as Primavera Sound, Roskilde, Treasure Island, and Sasquatch. Groups they toured with include Jeff Tweedy, Wild Flag, Porches, Frankie Cosmos, Here We Go Magic, and others. They also performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Rolling Stone named their debut album one of the best records of 2012, and Time included their song “I Miss Your Bones” on their list of the ten best songs of the 2010s.

Nathan has also released four solo recordings of experimental pop music on the influential labels Sonig, Tigerbeat6, Skipp and Tomlab. He pioneered mixing pop songwriting with glitchy electronics, using an intuitive harmonic language informed by classical, jazz and experimental music. In the early 2000s Nathan frequently performed at New York City venues like Tonic and the Knitting Factory. In 2008 he was commissioned by Yamaha to write music for an experimental instrument called the Tenori-On, joining artists such as To Rococo Rot and Pole on an American and European tour that included a stop at Berlin’s legendary club Berghain. Nathan has also collaborated with other artists, appearing on albums by French group DAT Politics, German duo Mouse on Mars, and the American band Dirty Projectors. He has also done remixes for Helado Negro and an installation with artist Neil Goldberg. His recent interests include improvising on a modular synthesizer system.


Ph.D. in Music Composition, Princeton University

M.M. in Music Composition, Yale University

Koninklijk Conservatorium, Composition Studies with Louis Andriessen

B.A. in Music, Bowdoin College

Courses Taught

MUSC 237 - Music Theory I
MUSC 238 - Music Theory II