Nathan Lively, Director of Music
A native of southern West Virginia, Nathan began piano studies at age six and was playing in church by age seven. His first piano instructors were Rose Hannah and Margaret Woodrum. During junior high and high school, Nathan studied piano at Appalachian Bible College with Leah Rose Anderson- Gibson and Sarah Rinker. His first organ instructor was Susan Wygal, then organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Hinton, West Virginia, and later study with the late Randall Farley. By age ten he was playing organ each week in different churches in his hometown of Hinton, West Virginia. Nathan’s early career as an accompanist began in middle school, and he became the chapel and choir pianist in high school at Ballard Christian High School. While at Ballard, Nathan competed in and won the state West Virginia Christian Education Association three years in a row, earning him the opportunity to compete nationally. National competitions for the American Association of Christian Schools were held at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Nathan received Second Place three years in a row.
Always feeling a call for teaching, Nathan began teaching high school in 2010 at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Huntington, West Virginia. From 2012 through 2015 he taught piano at the Fanny Falk Laboratory School of the University of Pittsburgh.
Today, Nathan is a nationally recognized musician. He is an active performer, educator, collaborative artist, and church musician. He was hailed by the Chicago Tribune in 2015 as one of the nation’s leading young organists. Nathan is known for his imaginative programming, revitalization of obscure pieces, and fiery playing.
As a performing artist, Nathan has appeared widely on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Notable venues are Central Synagogue, New York City; Heinz Chapel, Pittsburgh; and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Chicago. He plays frequently at the historic Bruton Parish Church, in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Nathan has performed two recitals at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC. Nathan has premiered many new organ solos. The genres in which he is most noted for performing are those of French Romantic and Contemporary organ works, such as Franck and Langlais. While Nathan enjoys performing solo recitals, he often collaborates with other artists.
Upon graduation from high school, Nathan continued his education at Concord University in English Education and also studied organ with Daniel Spurgeon in Beckley, West Virginia. Nathan left Concord University before his degree was completed to accept the position of organist at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Huntington, West Virginia. He subsequently served a brief term as organist at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Virginia, before accepting a position as Director of Music Ministries at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Uniontown, Pennsylvania. While at Trinity he oversaw a graded choir program with handbells, children, adult, and staff singers, in addition to playing the four manual 110-rank pipe organ, one of the largest in western Pennsylvania. During his tenure in Pennsylvania, Nathan studied organ with the late concert organist William Evans..
Nathan has served at St. John’s Lutheran Church as Director of Music at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stamford, CT since September 2018. Prior positions include Organist and Choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Washington, CT, and Director of Music Ministries and Director of Christian Education at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Kingsport, Tennessee. Nathan is a member of the American Guild of Organists, American Choral Directors Association, and was Vice-President of the Kingsport Music Club.
Aside from music, Nathan’s passions are cooking, especially exploring wines and new foods, reading, traveling, sailing, and skiing.