Nolan Williams, Jr. is an American composer, music director, artistic producer, and cultural curator who uses his art to advocate, educate and inspire. His body of creative work includes:
Notable recent works include: GRACE, a new musical (with book, music and lyrics by Williams) selected for the 2020 Humana Festival of New American Plays; STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA, a theatrical concert production that illuminates key events from the Civil Rights Movement and will commence touring in 2020; DEVINE HAMER GRAY, a new American musical (in development) that tells the story of of how three heroic American women, Annie Devine, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Victoria Jackson Gray, black women who ran for congress in 1964 and nearly defeated the all white male Mississippi congressional delegation; a choral setting of "The National Anthem" commissioned by Major League Baseball for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, performed by a choir of 400+ voices; and "Hold Fast To Dreams," a classical song cycle for orchestra, choir, soloists, and narrator, premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra and heralded by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "soaring... lovely... [and] dreamily upbeat...".
Williams has been named a Social Practice Arts Resident at The Kennedy Center REACH. He is also the recipient of The Center's National Committee for the Performing Arts' 2019 Award for Arts Advocacy.
Williams is CEO of NEWorks Productions.
(PHOTO CREDITS: (1) Nolan conducting the National Symphony Orchestra and NEWorks Voices of Inspiration (2012); courtesy of NEWorks Productions. (2) Nolan music directing A Monumental Celebration, Lincoln Memorial (2018); courtesy of The White House Historical Association.)
In 2019, Nolan was named a Social Practice Resident at The Kennedy Center REACH. His focal project has been the development of STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA, a theatrical concert production that highlights seminal moments of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
The images below capture scenes from the STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA (STWAA) auditions at The Kennedy Center in July 2019; The Kennedy Center REACH Opening in September 2019; STWAA rehearsals at The REACH; and the Studio-J STWAA workshop performance and talkback at The REACH in October 2019.
For a quirkier look at Nolan, check out this SoundCloud podcast created by Jalen Francis, a student at Georgetown University.