Nancy Williams: clarinetist, composer/arranger (ASCAP), educator

Nancy Williams and her company Carpe Clarinet Publishing are in Rapid City, SD, while she teaches privately and works on her dissertation “History and Development of Secular British Song for Solo Voice and Clarinet.”  A music educator for over twenty years and a band director for six, Williams is a sought-after instructor, clinician, and adjudicator.  She has held faculty positions at Dordt, Northwestern, and Sioux Falls Colleges, and her students have received top chairs in all-state bands, orchestras, and jazz bands; private and collegiate music scholarships; and have been selected as finalists and winners in orchestral solo competitions.  

An active solo artist and chamber musician, Williams has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and New South Wales, Australia.  Most recently, she has been a guest soloist at Black Hills State University, Dickinson State University, Sheridan College, Watertown Municipal Band, and Rapid City Municipal Band.  She has played with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Powder River Symphony, and Sheridan College Symphony Orchestra and currently is the Eb clarinetist for the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.  Groups in which Williams is performing and is a founding member include the Black Hills Symphony Wind Quintet, Clarinet Madness Clarinet Choir, Clarinet Quartattitude, and Calumet Clarinet Duo.  Furthermore, her jazz career includes performing with the Temptations and Four Tops as well as regional big bands.  

Previous degrees include a Bachelor of Music Education from South Dakota State University as a Briggs Scholar and a Master of Music from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  Williams expects to receive a Doctor of Arts in clarinet performance, with a secondary emphasis in musicology, in the fall of 2019 from the University of Northern Colorado.  Chosen to present her research “A Clarinetist’s Guide to Solo Eighteenth-Century Ornamentation” at the International Clarinet Association Conference (2017) and invited to perform her lecture recital “Woodwind Improvisatory Techniques of the Classical Era” at The American Single Reed Summit (2018), she is currently working on a pedagogical method book on Classical improvisation. 

An advocate of new music, Williams has a history of premiering and commissioning works, including William F. Funk’s “Grenadille du Trisque,” Kristin Parrish’s “Clarity for Madness,” and Joseph Scardetta’s “Clarinophony.”  She was a featured soloist in the Contemporary American Music Festival and regularly performed winning compositions in the University of Northern Colorado’s Open Space competition.  Chamber music premieres highlighting Williams’s versatile style include Myles Wright’s “Two Folk Songs,” Clark Kersey’s “Adagio,and ”William F. Funk’s “Triangle.” 

Founder and manager of the Black Hills Youth Clarinet Choir, Williams began arranging for clarinet choirs in 2013.  She studied composition with Paul Elwood after being commissioned for an original work in 2016 by the Sioux Falls Municipal Band.  Since then, Williams has been commissioned by the WeldWorks Reed Quintet, Magic Flute Trio, Melynie Campbell, and Black Hills Balinese Gamelan Raga Garnita.  Several of her arrangements and compositions can be heard and purchased at carpeclarinet.com or sheetmusicplus.com.