Nathan Avakian is a multi-talented artist with specialized interests and experience in organ performance, musical arrangement and composition, and lighting design.
His fascination with the theatre organ began at age four with a visit to the Portland Organ Grinder Restaurant. He began formal organ studies with Donna Parker at age eleven and has also been frequently coached by Jonas Nordwall. Since winning the American Theatre Organ Society Young Organist Competition in 2009, Nathan has provided theatre organ entertainment across the United States and internationally. In 2011 he completed a six-week concert tour of Australia and New Zealand. That same year he released his first album, Outside The Box, featuring both theatre and classical pipe organs as well as virtual orchestrations.
Renowned for his tasteful blending of twenty-first century virtual instrument technology with theatre organ music, Nathan creates performances that satisfy contemporary musical tastes and pay tribute to the historical legacy of the theatre organ. He was commissioned to compose seven original theatre organ soundtracks for the International Youth Silent Film Festival, a program that challenges young filmmakers to create contemporary silent films to theatre organ music. He helped pioneer the festival’s expansion which now includes regional festivals in Oregon, Missouri, Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia.
Nathan served as the Youth Representative on the American Theatre Organ Society Board of Directors from 2011-2013 managing programs that recognize and support the work of young organ students.
Currently based in New York City, Nathan works as a freelance lighting designer and design associate with organizations including Historic Hudson Valley, Princeton University, New York Stage and Film, CAP21 Theatre Company, Purchase Opera, and the Lighting Design Group. Prior to his university studies, Nathan completed twelve years of dance training with Westside Dance Academy in various styles including tap, jazz, and ballet, frequently performing with Oregon Children’s Theatre and Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company. In 2014 Nathan received a B.F.A. degree in lighting design from Purchase College, State University of New York.
Nathan has entertained us with his organ performances on a number of occasions, usually with his talented sister, vocalist and musical theatre performer Claire Avakian.