Composition

Nathan comes from a family of prolific composers who include father, Rosendo E. Santos, Jr., older brother, Erik Santos, and younger brother, Jason Santos.  Nathan has contributed arrangements and original compositions to many organizations that include orchestrations for Full Orchestra, String Ensembles, Brass Ensembles, Wind Quintets, Choirs, Big Bands/ Jazz Combos, and Transcriptions.

This is a list of various projects/commissions (this is not the whole representation of his work, but those which were significant and/or were recorded):

  • “Minor Waves” (1988) for piano and synthesizer.

This was a composition assignment for his high school Advanced Theory class.  All instruments are performed by Nathan and engineered/mixed by Jeremy Czarniak.

  • “an ocean fantasy” (1991) for flute and piano.

Composed in 1991 and performed by Diane Amari, flute and Nathan on piano on a concert of the Wilkes University contemporary music ensemble, Twinge.

  • “Sea Journey” (1993) for saxophone quintet and rhythm section.

This was written by pianist Chick Corea. This was an assignment for Advanced Arranging, which was later formally programmed on a performance by the University of Miami’s Saxophone Ensemble in 1994.

  • “U.M.M.G.” (1993) for big band.

This was written by Billy Strayhorn for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  This arrangement was the final project for the Advanced Arranging class at the University of Miami, and performed by the UM Concert Jazz Band.

  • “Enlightenment” (1993)

Originally an assignment for his Jazz Composition class at the University of Miami, it was orchestrated and performed for his Masters recital in 1994.  Fashioned in the spirit of the Chick Corea Elektric Band and dedicated to his father, Rosendo Santos, it features Eric Pryzby, sax, Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar, Dave Siegel, keyboards, Nathan on bass, and Greg Joseph, drums.

It was later arranged for big band:

  • “Kristen” (1993)

Written for and dedicated to Kristen (Shaw) Santos, this was composed for Nathan’s Masters Recital in 1994.  It features Eric Pryzby, sax, Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar, Dave Siegel, keyboards, Nathan on bass, and Greg Joseph, drums.

It was later made into a big band arrangement.  Here it is performed by the Indiana University of PA “Tails” Jazz Band.

Here it was performed as a small group trio with Billy Test, piano, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.

  • “Island Getaway” (1993)

Originally an assignment for his Jazz Composition class at the University of Miami, it was used by Nosmo King Jazz Quartet on the recording, Intensity in 2001.  This group featured Stanley Chepaitis, violin, Doug Wilkin, guitar, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.

It was later made into a big band arrangement.  It was used on the premier recording by Jazz In Your Face Big Band, Finally! (2006) Featured soloists are Stanley Chepaitis, violin and Nathan on bass.

  • “Boo’s Revenge!” (1994)

Written for Nathan’s Masters Recital in 1994.  It features Eric Pryzby, sax, Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar, Dave Siegel, piano, Nathan on bass, and Greg Joseph, drums.

It was also performed by Nosmo King on their recording Intensity in 2001.  This group featured Stanley Chepaitis, violin, Doug Wilkin, guitar, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.

  • “Child of Wonder” (2003) for vocal quintet, chorus, orchestra (+guitar), and speaker

In 2003, White Noise was invited to perform with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in the December Holiday Concert. To celebrate the JSO’s 75th anniversary, Mark Weakland and Nathan Santos collaborated on an original piece of music, “Child of Wonder,” focusing on the Winter Solstice as the subject, and incorporating many multi-cultural rhythms and textures. It was orchestrated for solo vocal quintet, full choir (the JSO Chorus), full orchestra including steel-stringed acoustic guitar, and featured a reading of an original poem by Michael Kane called, “Winter Solstice.”

  • “Am I A Mistake?”

Following the passing of Fred Rogers, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra organized a tribute of his music.  Nathan was commissioned to orchestrate “Am I A Mistake?” arranged by Michael Moricz and used by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the March, 2004 “Tribute to Fred Rogers.”

  • “Celebration With Psalms” (2005) for choir, handbell choir, brass quartet, organ, and piano.

As a tribute to Carl Miller on the occasion of his 15th anniversary as Minister of Music at Westmont Presbyterian Church, Johnstown, PA, Nathan was commissioned to compose a piece to be performed by the chancel choir.  It was premiered by the Westmont Presbyterian Chancel Choir, Bell Choir, and Laurel Brass Quartet on May 1, 2005.

  • Bass quartets

As the director of the Indiana University of PA Studio Bass Ensemble from 2002-2012, Nathan arranged several tunes for the ensembles to perform.  On November 18th, 2008, the group presented a formal recital in Cogswell Music Building. The concert featured current and former members of the ensemble as well as a guest appearance by IUP violin professor, Dr. Stanley Chepaitis on electric 5-string violin. Featured performers in these videos are Mike Majurski, Kevin Huhn, Tony Grande, Chepaitis and Nathan.

“Soul Intro/The Chicken” by Pee Wee Ellis

“Revelation” by Russell Ferrante

Nathan recorded these at the studio of engineer Doug Wilkin.  Featured is Nathan on all basses and Mark Weakland, percussion.

“Soul Intro/The Chicken” by Pee Wee Ellis

“Revelation” by Russell Ferrante

“Schmooze” by Frank Gambale

  • A Cappella arrangements

Nathan has arranged many sacred and secular songs for the many ensembles he has directed and performed with.  The following are available to sample:

“America, the Beautiful” written by Bates/Ward, performed by White Noise

“Love That Is Running Through My Life” written by Mark Weakland, performed by White Noise

“River of Dreams” written by Billy Joel, performed by White Noise

“Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” written by Ahlert/Turk, performed by White Noise

“Light in the Dark” written by Jason Santos/Kyle Segarra, performed by the Tiffin University Concert Choir

“Christmas Miracle” written by Jason/Santos/Tanisha Redding, performed by Tiffin University’s Sketchbook

  • Original music for jazz improvisation

Having performed with many musicians and groups, Nathan has composed music for various occasions.  The following is a sampling of his jazz music:

“Lazy Day In July” performed by Billy Test, piano, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.  Another version of “Lazy Day In July” was performed by Brex, featuring Jason Kush, sax, Billy Test, piano, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.

“Legacy of Giants” (2012) composed as a vehicle to feature reharmonized changes based on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”  Performed by Brex, featuring Jason Kush, sax, Eric Susoeff, guitar, Mark Weakland, drums, and Nathan on bass.

  • Arrangements for pop chamber groups:

Since 2012, Nathan has directed the student group DFX.  Nearly all the music that they have performed has been arranged by him.  The following is a sampling of their performances:

Meghan Trainor medley:

Funky Little X-Mas (written by Jason Santos/Lenny Kucinski):