Nathan Shields Named Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award Recipient

Rockland, ME – The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce that Nathan Shields has received its 4th annual Composer Award.  With the Award of $25,000, Shields has been commissioned to create a new work to be performed by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in 2024. Shields was chosen from 376 applicants by a jury including composers Chen Yi and John Harbison, and conductor André Raphel. 

Responding to the news, Shields said: “It’s a great pleasure to be coming back to Maine, the site of my first performance as a composer over twenty years ago, and of many cherished memories in the decades since. I’m grateful to the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation for its support, and I look forward to collaborating with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and to working with local communities in a place that has meant so much to me, both personally and artistically.”

Reflecting on the jury’s decision, Harbison said, “Nathan Shields will surely produce a bold, clearly expressed piece of music for the Bangor Symphony,” with Chen Yi adding, “Nathan’s music is highly imaginative and expressive, with colorful and idiomatic textures.” AndrĂ© Raphel described Shields as “An original and brilliant compositional voice, who is ready to fulfill the promise of one of America’s most important commissioning prizes.”

The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award has received over 1200 submissions in its first four application cycles. The first two commissions resulting from the Award by Reinaldo Moya and Jessica Meyer were premiered last season; the third by composer Kenneth Fuchs, titled Star Gazing, is slated for its world premiere on March 12, 2023 with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra performing. “The Foundation is enormously pleased to be able to give the gift of time to composers through these awards and further to share their gifts with the people who live in Maine through our partnership with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Nathan Shields is a stupendous choice who promises to deliver a thrilling composition” adds Donna McNeil, Executive Director of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation.



About Nathan Shields

Nathan Shields’s music has been praised for its “elusive luminance” (Washington Post). The New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini called Commedia, at Tanglewood’s 2019 Festival of Contemporary Music, “the affecting work on the program…alternately kinetic and reflective.”  A 2022 Guggenheim Fellow, Shields’s works have been commissioned by Tanglewood, the Mendelssohn-Orchesterakademie of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Fromm Foundation, JACK Quartet, New York New Music Ensemble, BMI, Concert Artists’ Guild, and Greenwood Music Camp, and by soloists Bridget Kibbey, Jay Campbell, and Michael Brown. Other performances include the Jupiter String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Mendelssohn Academy Orchestra, New Fromm Players, Charlottesville Symphony, Chamber Music Northwest, Metropolis Ensemble, Music from Copland House, Decoda, and the Horszowski Trio. He’s currently working on Medusa, a new work for the Jupiter Quartet.

Shields has received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Aaron Copland Award, Presser Music Award, BMI and ASCAP awards, Juillard’s Richard F. French Doctoral Prize, and fellowships from Tanglewood, Yaddo, Copland House, Ucross, Brush Creek, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and the Japan Society of Boston. His writing has been published in the Baffler, Mosaic, Commentary, Perspectives of New Music, and elsewhere.

Shields is associate faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, and previously taught at Juilliard and St. Olaf College. He received his doctorate and masters from Juilliard and his bachelors from New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Milton Babbitt, Samuel Adler, Lee Hyla, and David Rakowski.

About the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation

The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation provides resources for artists, engages with community and promotes the legacy of its founding artists, Joan Beauregard and John David Ellis. The vision of the Foundation is to encourage, expand and sustain the courageous and imaginative dialogue that is fundamental to the arts. The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation celebrates the value of art to transcend cultures and engage with diverse communities. Through its programs, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation supports the exploration of the common ground that art occupies, the way it engages people, and its ability to reveal our shared human experience.

About the Bangor Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1896, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to provide powerful, enriching and diverse musical experiences through live concert performances and education programs of the highest quality. Led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Lucas Richman, the BSO today performs a robust mainstage season and offers a variety of educational and community-focused programs, including the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras and a Music & Wellness Program. The BSO is a founding member of the Bangor Arts Exchange in downtown Bangor. Current concert and streaming details can be found at