Like so many artists around the globe, Nolan's work has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Nolan had the opportunity to share his candid thoughts with Michael Brodeur, classical music critic for The Washington Post. Here's a link to the article. (Published April 9, 2020)
Celebrity Chef Carla Hall engages Nolan in an intimate, one-on-one conversation exploring the inspiration and creative process for developing his new musical, GRACE.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the premiere of Nolan's new musical, GRACE, for the 2020 Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY has been cancelled. We are hopeful that the show will be mounted once our country has recovered from this outbreak. Register here to receive updates.
The cast of GRACE performs "When Gran'Me Cooked," the finale selection from Nolan's new musical, GRACE.
The national touring production of "Stirring the Waters Across America," conceived, written and music directed by Nolan, premiered on Friday, February 28, 2020, at Vanderbilt University's Langford Auditorium. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the tour is discontinued until further notice.
Chef Carla Hall and Nolan dish about the new musical, GRACE - FOX 5 D.C.
"I want to spend the rest of my days exploring music and the arts in ways that bridge communities and that speak inconvenient truths and that challenge and press us towards being our better selves — as individuals, as communities, as a nation."
GRACE, centered on the history and legacy of African American food traditions [is] the fourth musical created by Williams, who grew up in the District and has pursued an eclectic career...
Williams, the [Let Freedom Ring] celebration’s musical director for the past 17 years, ...[announced] his STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA tour, a Civil Rights-themed production... The night ended with [a] ...musical tribute featuring...
10-time-Grammy-winner Chaka Khan.
“[GRACE] was inspired when I started looking at food traditions, the way those traditions shape family and community and the way persons who migrated from enslavement in the South made their way north and discovered that their food was an economic commodity. ...I’m fascinated by that history...”
[Williams has had] an eclectic career of scoring and producing music for television, editing hymnals, programming for diplomatic and cultural institutions, conducting orchestras and choruses... and composing and arranging.
Electrifying. Awakening. These are words to describe the heart-rending workshop presentation of STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA performed at Studio K at The REACH. To call it anything less would be just plain wrong.
The annual festival, the nation’s leading incubator for new play development, is a longstanding cultural highlight for theatre lovers, artists and producers from across the country.
Williams has channeled [his] varied passions into a catalogue that spans genres...
A powerful new musical premiered in a staged reading by composer/ playwright Nolan Williams, Jr., September 25 in Washington, DC...
DEVINE HAMER GRAY
The Philadelphia Community Mass is Williams’ baby, a multi-composer work that uses the Bernstein Mass as its general inspiration. It was impressive a few months ago at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. And here, sporting new orchestrations by Williams, ...[it] had even greater impact.
The focus is on Leonard Bernstein and his "advocacy for social justice, particularly the way in which he leveraged the platforms that he had in order to extend opportunities to a diverse group of artists..."
Philly astronaut Bluford gets his props at the Mann - and a soaring orchestral number in his honor...
Williams has a musical language all his own. It brims with vernacular American optimism.
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Nolan's current roster of original theatrical works include: Grace, selected work for the 2020 Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY; Stirring the Waters Across America, a theatrical concert production workshopped at the Kennedy Center and touring nationwide beginning in February 2020; and Devine Hamer Gray, a new American musical (currently in development) presented in workshop for the 2019 March On Washington Film Festival.
An American composer with songwriting credits on two Grammy-nominated projects and numerous commissions, Nolan's eclectic library of original compositions includes rousing symphonic and choral works, inspirational and popular songs, and music for television. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Williams has a musical language all his own. It brims with vernacular American optimism..."
Since 2010, Nolan has developed festival programming featuring a range of performance, educational, visual arts and social impact initiatives. This programming has been developed in partnership with the Kennedy Center (Joyful Sounds: Gospel Across America) and Philadelphia's Mann Center (Philadelphia Freedom Festival, Liberty: Unplugged!, New Frontiers, Firebird: Spirit Rising, Brilliantly Bernstein: Beyond the Baton), engaging a stellar slate of artists, educational institutions, and cultural organizations.
Nolan is chief music editor of the bestselling African American Heritage Hymnal. Released by GIA Publications in 2001, this landmark compilation has sold nearly 500K copies worldwide. Nolan is also associate editor of Total Praise, the 2012 hymnal developed for the eight-million-member National Baptist Convention, USA, and third-most contributing arranger of Lead Me, Guide Me - Second Edition, an African American Catholic hymnal (2012).
Nolan's honors include: Playwright, 44th Humana Festival of New American Plays (2020); 2019-20 Kennedy Center Social Impact Arts Residency; 2019 Arts Advocacy Award, Kennedy Center National Committee for the Performing Arts; Roe Green Playwright, 2018 Cleveland Play House New Ground Theatre Festival; 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois Arts & Education Award; 2013 honorary Doctor of Music, Richmond Virginia Seminary; 2012 American Cancer Society Award; 2012 Genius4Men Award.