Born in Platteville, Wisconsin in 1974, Nathan Tanouye began studying music in elementary school, first with piano lessons and later on trombone. At age 11 he moved to Hawaii, where he attended high school and began his college education. While at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, Mr. Tanouye studied trombone with members of the Honolulu Symphony, including Jim Decker and Mike Becker. After receiving a performance scholarship to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1995, Mr. Tanouye moved to Las Vegas and completed his degree in both classical and jazz performance. As a freelance trombonist, he has performed with artists such as Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Donny & Marie Osmond, Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, and many others. In addition, Mr. Tanouye has been the principal trombonist in the Las Vegas Philharmonic since 1998 and has performed on the Las Vegas Strip in shows such as At the Copa, Storm, Hairspray, The Producers, Vegas! The Show, and Steve Wynn's Showstoppers. Since 2005, Mr. Tanouye has performed and recorded with Las Vegas’ premier horn band, Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, a 14-piece band for which he also writes and arranges.
As a composer, he has written works for many different sizes of ensembles, ranging from jazz trio to symphony orchestra. In February of 2004, the UNLV Wind Orchestra Premiered Three Steps Forward, a piece written by Mr. Tanouye to feature Eric Marienthal, Will Kennedy, Jimmy Haslip, and Russell Ferrante, later recorded and released on the Klavier label. Since that time, Mr. Tanouye has written three more pieces for wind ensemble, two of which were commissioned by UNLV; "Kokopelli’s Dance" (2005) and "Four Flew Over the Hornet’s Nest" (2006). Most recently, he completed "Loki's Revenge" (2010), commissioned by the Southeastern Conference Band Directors Association.
Mr. Tanouye also works extensively as an arranger and orchestrator, including arrangements for a diverse range of ensembles, including 18-piece jazz ensembles and flute and harp duo. One of his biggest arranging credits, Crossings – The Russ Freeman Project (Peacock 2006)--a collaborative work with Carolyn Freeman featuring the music of pianist Russ Freeman--received rave reviews from the jazz community and helped launch The Las Vegas Jazz Connection, the roaring 26-piece jazz orchestra lead by Mr. Tanouye. Since 2005, Mr. Tanouye has lead the orchestra in numerous concerts featuring his arrangements and compositions. In 2013, the LVJC released their third CD: Eleven, which features more original compositions by Mr. Tanouye as well as his 2010 arrangement of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" for jazz orchestra.
Currently, Mr. Tanouye holds the position of Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and Studio Trombone at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and serves as Trombonist/Arranger/Orchestrator for Celine Dion. Mr. Tanouye completed his studies at Texas Tech University in 2015, earning his Master of Music degree in Applied Trombone, and studying primarily under James T. Decker.
As the Musical Director of the Las Vegas Jazz Connection,Mr. Tanouye successfully released multiple albums, wrote an array of charts, and conducts for this Las Vegas original. The Las Vegas Jazz Connection records on the Peacock Entertainment record label and features many of the top local artists.
Finding their home in the Las Vegas music community for more than 30 years, Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns energizes audiences and demonstrates how Jazz in Las Vegas continues to thrive. Mr. Tanouye serves as the trombonist in the Fat City Horns section, and provides original charts and arrangements for the group. You can hear Nathan perform with Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns Monday nights at 10:30 pm in the South Point Hotel and Casino.
Through the last decade, Mr. Tanouye has continually performed in the horn section for Las Vegas headliner, Celine Dion. In addition to performing and travelling with the Canadian artist, Mr. Tanouye arranges and orchestrates her works for the Caesar's Palace stage.
Representative of all the dazzle and talent Las Vegas can bring to the stage, Steve Wynn's Showstoppers consists of a cast of 66 singers, dancers and a full orchestra. This is just one of the headliner shows in which Mr. Tanouye appears on the Las Vegas strip. Running weekly, you can purchase tickets here.
Showcasing the classical talent and variety of musical culture of Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Philharmonic has climbed the ranks in the American Orchestra tradition since it was founded in 1998. In addition to serving as the organization's principal trombonist, Mr. Tanouye recently had an original work commissioned and premiered by the LVP. The philharmonic performs seasonal concerts at the newly built, Smith Center.
With a nationally ranked jazz program, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is proud to have Mr. Tanouye as a member of their faculty in Jazz Studies. In the past several years, the UNLV Jazz Ensemble I--under the direction of Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye--earned several prestigious rankings at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, adding to the growing list of recognition the ensemble has earned in its history. Students of the UNLV Jazz program have won numerous awards and accolades both nationally and internationally for their work in compositions, arrangements, recordings, and outstanding performances. In addition to his pedagogical role in Jazz and Trombone, Mr. Tanouye performs on occasion in faculty recitals for the institution.
Past Professional Engagements
- Vegas! The Show (2010)
- Donny and Marie, Live at the Hilton Las Vegas (2008-2010)
- David Foster and Friends, PBS Special Broadcast (2008)
- Bette Midler The Showgirl Must Go On (2007 - 2010)
- Tuscon Symphony Orchestra, trombone substitute (2002)
- Desert Inn House Band (1997-1999)
- The Temptations
- Fankie Valli
- The Four Tops
- Don Rickles
- Caesar's Palace House Band (1995 - 2001)
- Natalie Cole
- Tony Bennett
- Johnny Mathis
- Norwegian Cruise Lines (1998)
- Disney Cruise Lines (1998)
Contributing to Mr. Tanouye's extensive and impressive professional profile are his pedagogical pursuits. He has appeared as a clinician for the Oahu Band Director's Association (2009), at the University of Hawaii Manoa (2007), and the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay (2006). Additionally, Mr. Tanouye worked as an Adjunct Private Arranging Instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, adjudicator for the Clark County School District Honor Band on multiple occasions, and as a Paraprofessional for the Las Vegas Academy High School and KO Knudsen Middle School. Recently, Mr. Tanouye has appeared as adjudicator for the MTNA Brass Finals and CCSD Regional Solo and Ensemble Competition.
Please contact us to inquire about hiring Nathan Tanouye as a guest clinician.
Mr. Tanouye's rapport with his professional colleagues laid the foundation for many of his most well-known works. Through commissions, Mr. Tanouye brought us works such as Loki's Revenge (2010; Southeastern Conference Band Director's Association), Crossings (2003; Las Vegas Academy Jazz Ensemble), Flutissimo! (2012; Las Vegas Flute Club), Mile Marker 78 (2011; Stephen Kunzer), Kokopelli's Dance (2005; UNLV Wind Orchestra), and Desert Flight (2015; Las Vegas Philharmonic).
For more information about commissioning a work and pricing, please feel free to contact us.