BIO

"Williams has a musical language all his own. It brims with vernacular American optimism…" - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Nolan Williams, Jr. is an American composer, producer, innovator, curator, and musicologist. His body of creative work includes theatrical productions, including: THE NOLAN WILLIAMS PROJECT (Cleveland Play House), GO, TELL IT! starring BeBe Winans (The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Lincoln Theatre), and CHRISTMAS GIFT! (The Clarice); festivals produced in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Philadelphia’s Mann Center, including "Firebird: Spirit Rising," "Brilliantly Bernstein: Beyond the Baton," the Philadelphia Freedom Festival, and "Joyful Sounds: Gospel Across America;" cultural programming developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. State Department, and the Embassies of India and South Africa; choral/orchestral works premiered by the Philadelphia, National Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Atlanta Youth Symphony, Philadelphia Youth, and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestras; numerous choral commissions; songwriting credits on two Grammy®-nominated projects; music for television, including the standout TV-One documentary, STAND; and collaborations with an impressive roster of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Smokie Robinson, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Raul Esparza, Vanessa Williams, and Denyce Graves. 


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 Impact Arts Resident at The Kennedy Center REACH. He is also the recipient of the the Center's National Committee for the Performing Arts' 2019 Award for Arts Advocacy.  


Williams is CEO of NEWorks Productions.