NEXT Musician 2018-19

Being composer, arranger, contemporary violist and teacher; Nathanael Gubler approaches music from many, contrasting angles: 

He has performed in the National Youth Orchestra of Switzerland and countless chamber music ensembles. Nathanael entered the Royal College of Music in London in 2015 where he studied with Dai Fujikura and Jonathan Cole and was awarded with a Clifton Parker Award and in 2018, the Elgar Memorial Price. His works have been performed in Switzerland, Canada, Thailand, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil and at prestigious venues in the UK, including the National Portrait Gallery London.

In 2017, he successfully auditioned as a viola player for 2017’s Britten-Pears Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. Other viola projects include performances and recordings of contemporary works for solo viola, including Brett Dean’s “Intimate Decisions” and Salvatore Sciarrino's “Tre Notturni”. In 2018, he won the "Featured Young Performer" audition of the London Ear Festival which involved performances for influential guests including Luciano Berio's widow and was selected for the “NEXT” program of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. As composer, 2018 saw the collaboration with the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgard, a commission for the 2018 ALBA Festival in Italy and an invitation to be Guest Artistic Director for the Borough New Music 2019 Festival in London.

In addition, he was selected for the composer's seminar of 2018 Lucerne Festival Academy, which is led by Wolfgang Rihm and Peter Etövös. More information and recordings can be found on

Why are you looking forward to taking part in NEXT?

Contemporary music is for me the only way how I can experience a sense of freedom. Freedom, because it gives me the feeling of shaping the “now”, instead of reproducing/conserving an imagined past. BCMG is one of the very few ensembles in the UK whose commitment to contemporary music is impactful not only in the UK but also internationally.

In most classical conservatoires, learning how to play music by living composers is just a small module amongst others. Mostly without teachers who have expertise on contemporary performance techniques (especially for strings) and in general, little encouragement by head of instrumental studies. NEXT not only fills these huge gaps in classical education, it also offers contact with world leading composers and musicians, enables networking amongst peers and gives us exposure to an wide audience. Especially, being in contact with living composers, observing how they talk, move and breath is so inspiring for me and gives me new impulses.  

So when I noticed that BCMG is setting up this program, I immediately had to apply.