Nathan Gunn was born in South Bend, IN, in 1970. He studied music at the University of Illinois under William Miller and John Wustman. In the 1990s he won scores of awards, including the Collegiate MacAllister Award (1993) and the Marian Anderson Award (1996). He also won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition in 1994. By the late '90s, Gunn was a major presence on the vocal scene, having appeared twice at Carnegie Hall with conductor Robert Shaw, first in Brahms' German Reqiuem and then in Haydn's The Creation. Gunn also sang on the Grammy Award-winning 1998 Shaw recordings of Bartók's Cantata profana and Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem on Telarc.
In 2000 Gunn appeared at the Paris Opera as Andrei in Prokofiev's War and Peace, an Arthaus Musik DVD that has received broad critical acclaim. Gunn debuted at Covent Garden in 2002 as Harlekin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Since 2007 Gunn has served as professor of voice at the University of Illinois. At the 2008 Glyndebourne Festival Gunn appeared as Father Delura in Peter Eötvös' Love and Other Demons. Gunn's recordings include the 2009 EMI CD American Anthem, a collection of songs by Barber, Bolcom, Copland, and others. He also starred in the premier of Jennifer Higdon's opera Cold Mountain in 2015.