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Elliott Schwartz   

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Elliott Schwartz was born in New York City and studied composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson at Columbia University. Since 1964 he has taught at Bowdoin College, where he holds the Robert K. Beckwith Professorship of Music. He has also held extended visiting residencies at the University of California (Santa Barbara and San Diego campuses), Harvard University, Ohio State University, the London College of Music, Trinity College of Music (UK), and Cambridge University (UK). Schwartz has served as president of the College Music Society, Vice-President of the American Music Center, and national chair of the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI).

Schwartz's compositions have been performed by such groups as the Minnesota Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands; they have also been featured at numerous international music centers and festivals including Tanglewood, the Library of Congress, Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Spoleto Festival (Charleston), the Bath, York and Kings Lynn Festivals (England), DeIjsbreker (Amsterdam), Music of the Americas (London), "Leningrad Spring", International Double Reed Festival (Rotterdam), and the European Youth Orchestra Festival (Copenhagen). Recent appearances as guest composer-lecturer include New York (Merkin Hall, NYU, SUNY/Stony Brook, and the Museum of Modern Art), Berkeley (Sounds New), Boston (Extension Works, Tufts), London (Royal Academy of Music, and the Institute for United States Studies/University of London), the Tokyo College of Music, the Reykjavik Conservatory (Iceland), and the Weimar Hochschule (Germany).

In addition to composing, Schwartz has written extensively on musical topics. His books include "The Symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams","Music: Ways of Listening","Electronic Music: A Listener's Guide","Music since 1945" (of which he is co-author with Daniel Godfrey) and the anthology"Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music" (which he co-edited with the late Barney Childs). His compositions are published by G. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, MMB, and Theodore Presser; CD recordings of his music can be heard on the New World, CRI, Capstone, Innova, Vienna Modern Masters and GM labels.


Annual Updates



Elliott Schwartz held a week-long visiting professorship at the Hong Kong Institute of Education in October 2009, and spent the fall 2010 term as visiting Fellow at Robinson College, University of Cambridge (UK).


Collage Concertante (clarinet, trumpet, guitar, percussion, piano, electronic sounds) by the Bowdoin New Music Ensemble at the American Composers Alliance Festival (Symphony Space) in New York NY on 6/19/10.  Darwin’s Dream (melody instrument, piano, narrator, electronic sounds, projected visual images) by the Basso Moderno Duo, & composer as narrator at the Bar Harbor Music Festival in Bar Harbor, ME on 7/15/10.  Diamond Jubilee (orchestra and projected visual images) by the Portland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Moody  in Portland,  ME on 1/25/11.


Chamber Concerto V: Water Music (bassoon solo & chamber orchestra) by Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong conducted by Jean Thorel at the Musicarama Festival in Hong Kong on 10/24/09.  Chamber Concerto III: Another View (piano solo & chamber orchestra) by New Juilliard Ensemble conducted by Joel Sachs at the Juilliard School in the Lincoln Center, New York NY on 9/25/10.  The Facebook Chronicles (soprano, trumpet, trombone, guitar, two percussionists, piano) by Robinson College Music Society at the University of Cambridge (UK) on 10/30/10.  Four Maine Haiku (piano solo) by Elliott Schwartz, piano at the University of Cardiff inWales, UK on 11/16/10 and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, UK on 12/3/10.  The Seven Seasons (piano); Spectrum (horn, cello, tuba); Souvenir (clarinet & piano); Prelude, Memorial and Aria (cello & piano) on an All-Schwartz recital at the University of Cambridge (UK) on 11/27/10.




Schwartz was guest composer/lecturer at the Central Conservatory of Beijing, China, and the Hong Kong Institute of Education in October-November 2009. He also was an invited panelist/speaker at the Society for Music Theory conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Inside and Out for saxophone and piano was introduced at the Utrecht Conservatory, Netherlands. A chamber septet, The Facebook Chronicles, was first heard at the Portland (ME) Conservatory New Music Festival. Birthday Offerings, for clarinet and viola, was presented at Le Fete d’Alto, Poet-Laval, France. Chamber Concerto V for bassoon and chamber orchestra, received its premiere at the Hong Kong Musicarama Festival.


A Garden for RKB, for clarinet, violin, and piano, was performed for the American Modern Ensemble series, New York, NY. The piano solo The Seven Seasons was presented at the American Composers Alliance Festival, New York, NY. Kaleidoscope, for violin, contrabassoon, and piano, was heard at the International Double Reed Society Conference, Birmingham, England, UK, while Memorial in Two Parts, for violin and piano, was performed in Fenway Center, Boston MA.


Hall of Mirrors; Crystal for piano and percussion; Kaleidoscope, for violin, contrabassoon, and piano; Hall of Mirrors for saxophone quartet and piano; Rain Forest with Birds, for concert band and bird sounds; Innova Recordings label, St, Paul MN. Chamber Concertos I-VI; Chamber Concerto I for double bass solo, Chamber Concerto II for clarinet solo, Chamber Concerto III for piano solo, Chamber Concerto IV for saxophone solo, Chamber Concerto V for bassoon solo, and Chamber Concerto VI for violin solo; Boston Modern Orchestra Project, under the direction of Gil Rose; BMOP-SOUND label, Boston MA.



As a former national president of The College Music Society, Schwartz (together with the other past presidents) was honored at the CMS 50th Anniversary Conference in Salt Lake City, November 2007.


Cambridge Mosaic, for flute, horn, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, antiphonally separated, was introduced March 7, 2008, at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge (UK). Cellist Andrew King and the composer presented the premiere of Prelude, Memorial and Aria, May 8, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME; pianist Catherine Cushing introduced The Seven Seasons at the same concert. String Quartet No. 2: for Louise and Aaron received its premiere from the Borromeo Quartet May 8, Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME; the performance was repeated May 11, Maine Center for the Arts, Bangor, ME. Chamber Concerto VI: Mr. Jefferson was introduced November 14 by violinist Charles Dimmick with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project under the direction of Gil Rose, Jordan Hall, Boston, MA. Trombonist Eugene Sun and bass trombonist Anita Jerosch presented S/emi Zodi: six studies for two trombones, December 3, Bowdoin College.


On January 25, 2009, Elliott Schwartz’s chamber work A Garden for RKB was performed by the American Modern Ensemble, as part of its series in the auditorium of the newly-opened New York Times building, New York, NY.  Violist Scott Woolweaver and cellist Jason Coleman performed Shaker Variations April 28, 2008, Tufts University, Medford, MA. Two Watterson Poems, for chorus and percussion, were heard in a June 4 performance by the New York Virtuoso Singers, ACA Festival, Symphony Space, New York, NY. Suite for Viola and Piano was presented by Tawnya Popoff and the composer June 5, ACA Festival, Symphony Space, New York. The New Piano Quartet performed Dream Music With Variations for piano, violin, viola, and cello, July 16, Bar Harbor (ME) Music Festival. Summer’s Journey, for solo flute, solo horn, wind ensemble, was heard in an October 23 performance by the Ithaca  (NY) College Band, under the direction of  Stephen Peterson.


A CD of the composer’s music containing four works, including Rain Forest with Birds, performed by the Harvard Band, will be issued on the Innova label in 2009. Another disk containing all six Chamber Concertos, as performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project under Gil Rose, will be issued on the BMOP SOUND label, also in 2009.

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