Nathan Leaf is the Director of Choral Activities, Teaching Professor, and Assistant Department Head at North Carolina State University, where he directs three choirs and heads the choral program. He is also the Artistic Director of the Concert Singers of Cary, a 100-voice community choir. A versatile musician, he has garnered critical praise for his work as a conductor and teacher. He has performed as singer with some of the top vocal ensembles in the country, and has collaborated with many of North Carolina’s leading musical organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Master Chorale and Chamber Choir, the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Mallarmé Chamber Players, the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, and the NC HIP Music Festival.
During his tenure at NC State, the choral and vocal areas have experienced significant growth. His work with young singers emphasizes thoughtful musicality and healthy vocal production. He has served as a guest conductor and clinician in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and choirs under his direction have toured throughout the U.S. and abroad, including performances in England, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic. From 2008-2012, Dr. Leaf was the Chorus Master for North Carolina Opera, and from 2010-2017 was the choir director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Durham. He was selected through national audition as one of six conductors featured at the 2012 Providence Renaissance Institute workshop at the ACDA Eastern Division Conference. In 2017, Dr. Leaf conducted the North Carolina Men’s All State Choir.
Leaf sang for eight seasons as a member of the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus in Eugene, Oregon, performing under the batons of Helmuth Rilling and Matthew Halls, as well as other leading conductors including Marin Alsop, Nicholas McGegan, and Jeffrey Kahane. He has performed with several other professional choirs, including the GRAMMY-winning Conspirare-Company of Voices in Texas, True Concord in Arizona, and the Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus in New York City. As part of his doctoral research, he toured Central Europe as member of the Swedish male choir Orphei Drängar. His stage credits as a conductor, singer, and orchestra member include productions of La Cenerentola, Rigoletto, Tosca, Faust, Carmen, Il Trovatore, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Le Nozze di Figaro, A Little Night Music, and A Chorus Line, among others.
Dr. Leaf earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Valparaiso University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. A recipient of UT’s Bruton Graduate Fellowship, his research on Swedish choral music has earned several publications, including in a feature article in Choral Journal, the primary publication of the American Choral Directors Association.
B.M.E. Music Education Valparaiso University
M.M. Choral Conducting University of Texas at Austin
D.M.A. Choral Conducting University of Texas at Austin