"[His] work is beautiful... [His] message is even more beautiful."

-Audra McDonald, iconic Broadway/television actress

About Nolan Williams, Jr., Founder/CEO

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

Williams serves as Co-Chair of the Kennedy Center’s Community Advisory Board. The Kennedy Center's National Performing Arts Committee recently presented him its 2019 Award for Arts Advocacy, adding Williams to a distinguished list of past honorees that includes Frank Gehry, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Dale Chihuly, and Catherine Oppenheimer.

Williams is also chief music editor of the landmark African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA Publications, 2001), with sales approaching 500,000 books sold worldwide; associate editor of Total Praise, the 2012 hymnal published for the eight-million-member National Baptist Convention, USA; and third-most contributing arranger for Lead Me, Guide Me – Second Edition (2012), the African American Catholic hymnal. He has lectured before the American Academy of Religion; for the Festival Musicá e Filosofia in Naples, Italy; at Yale and Georgetown Universities; and, as a visiting professor at Dartmouth College (2012 spring term) and Howard University (1991-1992).

Check out these feature stories on Williams and his recent works.

Recent projects include: music direction of the NEWorks Voices of America Choir for the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize honoring Emilio and Gloria Estefan (PBS broadcast); music direction of "Let Freedom Ring," the 2019 MLK Holiday commemorative concert jointly presented by the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University, featuring Broadway legends Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell; music direction of the NEWorks Voices of America Youth Choir for The Kennedy Center Honors tribute to the creators of the Broadway musical, "Hamilton" (CBS broadcast); a world-premiere performance of Williams’ “National Anthem” choral arrangement, commissioned by Major League Baseball for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game (Fox broadcast); artistic direction of "The Philadelphia Community Mass." a project Williams conceived, inspired by Bernstein's MASS, that features the works of four Philadelphia-bred composers (Rollo Dilworth, Naomi Ruth Floyd, Jay Fluellen, and Evelyn Simpson Curenton) in a theatrical concert production that explores anew the relevance of faith in our times; and, music direction of the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition-opening concert honoring Gordon Parks.

"NOLAN IS BRILLIANT... a musical genius!!!!!"

-Denyce Graves-Montgomery, internationally acclaimed opera star

 
Nolan Williams, Jr. is an American composer, producer, music director, innovator, curator, and musicologist. His body of creative work includes curatorial festivals curated in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Philadelphia’s Mann Center; cultural programming developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. State Department, and the Embassies of India and South Africa; choral and orchestral works performed by the Philadelphia, National Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Philadelphia Youth, Atlanta Youth and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestras; numerous choral commissions; songwriting credits on two Grammy®-nominated projects; music for television; and, collaborations with an impressive roster of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Smokie Robinson, Gladys Knight, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Natalie Cole, Raul Esparza, Bobby McFerrin, Vanessa Williams, Denyce Graves, India.Arie, and Hil Harper.