Born in Boston into a musical family, Nathaniel began his studies of piano and trumpet, attending the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he met Benjamin Zander, who would become his teacher and musical mentor. During high school, Nathaniel studied trumpet with Albert DiPietro and James Pandolfi, taking additional masterclasses with Håkan Hardenberger and Christopher Martin. He won 1st Prize at the National Trumpet Competition and the International Trumpet Guild Youth Competition, and was acclaimed by the Boston Globe for his "spirit, accuracy, feeling, and beautiful tone." As a student at Yale, his teachers included reknowned American musicologist James Hepokoski, conductor and Charles Ives scholar James Sinclair, conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, and Allan Dean, Professor of Trumpet at the Yale School of Music. Nathaniel also studied German language, literature, and philosophy while at Yale and in Heidelberg, Germany.
During the summers, Nathaniel studied with Maestro Zander in Europe and attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and the Järvi Academy for Conductors, where he learned from Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, and Leonid Grin. Nathaniel was the winner of the inaugural Vincent C. LaGuardia Conducting Competition and a finalist and prizewinner of the American Prize in Conducting. Nathaniel received the Wrexham Prize in Music from Yale and the Artistic Excellence Award from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with David Effron and Arthur Fagen, earning a M.M. in Orchestral Conducting and serving as assistant conductor of the Opera and Ballet Theater.
He is now based in the Boston area where he teaches at St. Mark's School, and conducts the Belmont Festival Orchestra and the Du Bois Orchestra.