Nathaniel Anderson-Frank (Class of 2003) attended SFWHS for two years while his family was in the San Francisco Bay Area. He now sits in the fourth chair of the Philharmonia Orchestra, under the direction of Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. They recently played three performances at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus in November.
Although Nathaniel only attended SFWHS for two years, he considers them “two of the most enriching years of my life, and I will always remember my time there with the utmost fondness.” Nathaniel was in the 3rd freshman class for the high school, and so he experienced two different campuses and a lot of the “beautiful pioneering spirit” that always accompanies a new school. What he says “really sticks in my mind, however, is the energy and commitment I recall amongst the faculty and students alike. The trips we took, the work we did, the games we played—everything was infused with a tremendous vitality and freshness.” It was with great sadness that he left SFWHS upon his move back to Toronto.
Nathaniel went to Waldorf schools throughout his primary and secondary education. Even though he attended a number of different schools, he says that “Waldorf Education was a sort of constant thread running through my childhood and adolescence… I suppose it would be difficult to overestimate the long-term impact of this education on me now. I am aware that it informs my day-to-day experiences at a very visceral level; that it provides depth and a sense of context to my perception of the world around me. Suffice to say that many of my Waldorf friends remain the people closest to me and are the most interesting and interested bunch I know.”
While Nathaniel first started playing violin at age three, and played and performed through his childhood, including as a memorable “fiddler” in the SFWHS production of Fiddler On The Roof, he didn’t consider music as a possible profession until he was a teenager and his teacher in San Francisco suggested considering it. “One’s late teens might still sound like a young age to decide on a career path but in the classical music world, which is still rife with wunderkind fascination, I actually felt rather late to the party. This probably had a lot to do with Steiner education and the curriculum’s built in safeguards against early specialization. But I am grateful for that breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as the unique performance opportunities afforded to me over the years as a Waldorf student.” Paraphrasing a friend of his he comments about Waldorf Education: “When you can knit a sock, build a table, make a candle, memorize and perform an entire Shakespearean role or two, and draw a dodecahedron from multiple angles... what can’t you do in life?”
The Philharmonia Orchestra is a London-based orchestra that spends a lot of time touring internationally. Nathaniel was particularly excited about the recent US tour with two concerts in Chicago on the eve of the presidential election, followed by the concert series in Berkeley at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, a week of concerts in LA, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, and two concerts in Manhattan. The program included two awe-inspiring masterpieces of the early 20th-century repertoire, Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony and Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck, as well as symphonies by Beethoven, Berlioz, and one of Maestro Salonen’s own compositions.
Nathaniel holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Masters of Music degree, obtained with distinction on full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has held multi-year Fellowships at both the Aspen Music Festival and the Perlman Music Program. Nathaniel plays a violin by G. Cappa, Saluzzo, 1682, generously made available to him on long-term loan by a consortium of investors.