By Jenny Collins '05
The pace at which Nathan Bird ’06 collected performance opportunities during the past year rivals that of a seasoned sprinter.
After finishing his master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music in June, he secured a recording contract, performed in a world premiere in Italy, accepted a lead role in a musical, sang with the premier men’s ensemble Cantus and lined up a gig at the Guthrie Theater. All in the midst of relocating to a new time zone and welcoming a second child into his family.
His recording contract came when Bird and two guitarist friends formed The Massif Trio and recorded new arrangements of German art songs. Azica Records took note of their talent and offered them a contract for a CD, planned for release in July.
He then exchanged German art songs for Italian opera and spent last August in Città della Pieve, Italy, where he performed the tenor role in a world premiere of La Bisbetica, based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Bird noted that of the challenges of a performing arts career, the hardest is the time spent away from family.
“My wife [Naomi] and I had been praying that something career-wise would take us back to our home state,” shared Bird. “Our families and our hearts are in Minnesota.”
The call back to the land of lakes came from Northwestern’s Donald “Doc” Rainbow, Ph.D., professor of theatre, who asked Bird to play the role of Father for the college’s fall production of Children of Eden.
“Accepting Doc’s offer meant that I had no clue what I’d be doing for a job after the show,” said Bird, who sang in the College Choir and performed in musicals as a student. “We took the leap of faith and have been very glad that we did.
“Performing Father was a wonderful experience,” he said. “I loved the opportunity to work with Northwestern students and faculty again.”
When he’s not performing, Bird teaches voice lessons and enjoys his role as dad to two-year-old AubreyElla and two-month-old Patience Rae. This summer he will be performing in Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore at the Guthrie Theater.