North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Natalie Williams

Dean of the School Music, Art & Theatre/Professor of Music

Natalie Williams is an Australian-born composer, professor and higher education administrator. A United States permanent resident, she is honored to join the North Park University family as the Dean of the School of Music, Art, and Theatre in 2019.

In 2018 Prof. Williams completed a Graduate Certificate in Management with the MBA cohort at the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics, supported by a graduate scholarship. Evidence-based management and leadership in the performing arts form the focus of her leadership portfolio. In 2019 she completed a certificate in International Cultural Diplomacy in the Arts, at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. Williams is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and trained in Academic Teaching and Learning at the Centre for Higher Education in Learning and Teaching at the Australian National University (2018).

Academic teaching positions include, the School of Music at the Australian National University, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, and the Faculty of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Prof. Williams completed a Doctorate in Music Composition at the Jacobs School of Music as a four-year doctoral fellow. Further academic training in music pedagogy was completed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2016, the Eastman School of Music in 2014, with the UK Society for Music Analysis at Durham University in 2010, and studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique (Paris) summer school in July 2007, with the European American Musical Alliance. Prof. Williams is a fully represented composer at the Australian Music Centre, a member of the American Composers Forum and the Australasian Performing Rights Association.

In 2015 Prof. Williams held a visiting research scholarship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, supported by an International Collaborative Research Award. Her teaching portfolio includes contemporary counterpoint, form and analysis, post-tonal theory and applied composition. Conference papers include research on digital musicology (Sydney), twentieth-century counterpoint (London) and composition in a digital context (Canberra). Published research includes a book chapter in the Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy (2019) and an essay in collaborative compositional practice published in Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy (2017). In 2016 and 2017, she was a keynote speaker at the Melbourne Music Analysis Summer School (Victoria, Australia), presenting on post-tonal music theory. In 2017 she directed an international research conference, Women in the Creative Arts at the Australian National University.

Williams’ music is hailed by critics as “richly expressive and deeply poignant… devastatingly impassioned… with profundity and depth,” “a beautifully direct aesthetic.” Her works have been commissioned and performed by international ensembles, including the Atlanta Opera, Omaha Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Baroque, the Pavel Haas Quartet (Czech Republic) and the Doric String Quartet (UK). Her compositions have been commercially released by Albany Records (NY) and Wirripang Records (Melbourne) and her scores published by Cengage Learning (2013). Her output includes music for film, theatre, chamber, dance and orchestra. Composition prizes include the Albert H. Maggs Award in 2018 (University of Melbourne), the Judith lang Zaimont prize (2016), a two-time winner of the Atlanta Opera 24-hour composition competition (2013, 2015) and winner of the Iron Composer competition at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory (2011).

Prof. Williams serves on the selection committee for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and has also served on the boards of the Society of Composers Inc. (2014-2018), and the International Alliance of Women in Music (2015-2017). She has served as a peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts, and the arts department of the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra. She is a viola player and performed with early music specialist string quartet, Adelaide Baroque in South Australia at the Elder Conservatorium (1996-2000).

To the School of Music, Art, and Theatre at North Park, Prof. Williams brings a dedication to enduring excellence in the practice of teaching and learning. A holistic approach to student development empowers learners and shapes their professional commitment to serving others through the creative and performing arts. Her vision for the future of the school includes a focus on innovative teaching and learning methods, a commitment to training citizen artists with a skill set for the twenty-first century, strong advocacy for faculty and a supportive network of peers and stakeholders. Together with the school’s vibrant faculty and staff, Prof. Williams looks forward to continuing the rich legacy of the school by supporting and presenting the work of our hearts and hands to the community.