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Joseph  Schwantner

Born: March 22nd, 1943
Country of origin: United States of America
Upcoming :
Conductor: Vladimir Kulenovic
Orchestra: Texas Festival Orchestra
2017-07-08 | Round Top, TX (United States of America), Festival Concert Hall
If there's any more gorgeous contemporary music than Joseph Schwantner's I've yet to hear it...for sheer beauty of sound it's unsurpassed. One could also add that Schwantner has a canny theatrical sense—his music is always at some level dramatic, never abstract—and that his characteristic idiom, a blending of modal melody with both enriched triadic and highly chromatic harmonies, minimalist ostinatos, and prismatic, floridly ornamented scorings, is used with so much skill and resourcefulness that the listener never notices how disparate are the elements thus unified. Everything works to create the desired sensuous and emotional effusion.
– Mark Lehman, The American Record Guide


Born in Chicago in 1943, Joseph Schwantner received his musical and academic training at the Chicago Conservatory and Northwestern University. While developing a profile as a leading American composer, he also served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music, simultaneously establishing himself as a sought after composition instructor. His music is noted for its deft implementation of luminous color and fluctuating rhythms in a dramatic and unique style.

Schwantner has enjoyed particular success in the orchestral world. His Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, among the most often performed of contemporary concert works, was commissioned for the 150th anniversary season of the New York Philharmonic. New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom on words from Martin Luther King, Jr. for narrator and orchestra has entered the standard repertory of orchestras nationwide. Following the premiere of Schwantner’s Morning’s Embrace by the National Symphony Orchestra in 2006, The Washington Post praised the work's “delicate timbres” and “unique and original” sound. In 2007, Schwantner was selected as the composer for the second cycle of Ford Made in America, the nation's largest commissioning consortium of orchestras spearheaded by the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. The resulting work, Chasing Light… received its world premiere with the Reno Chamber Orchestra in September of 2008 and completed its tour of over fifty orchestras in all fifty states in the Fall of 2010.

Schwantner’s music has been championed by such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Andrew Litton, Hugh Wolff and artists including Evelyn Glennie, Sharon Isbin and Anne Akiko Meyers, among many others. He has been commissioned by numerous leading orchestras and organizations including the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Chamber Music America, Fromm Music Foundation, Naumburg Foundation, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, among many others.

Schwantner’s compositional career has been marked by numerous distinctions and awards. His early accolades include three BMI Student Composer Awards, the Bearns Prize, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and many other awards, grants and fellowships. His orchestral composition Aftertones of Infinity was awarded the 1979 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In 1985 his life and music were the focus of a television documentary entitled "Soundings", produced by WGBH in Boston for national broadcast. That same year his work, Magabunda (Witchnomad) “Four Poems of Agueda Pizarro", recorded on Nonesuch Records by the St. Louis Symphony, was nominated for a 1985 Grammy Award in the category “Best New Classical Composition,” and his A Sudden Rainbow, also recorded on Nonesuch by the St. Louis Symphony, received a 1987 Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Composition.” Schwantner is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Recent major works include Concerto No. 2 for Percussion Section, Timpani and Orchestra, which premiered with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Hans Graf as the headline event at the Percussive Arts Society's 50th annual convention, Dream Drapery "Thoreau Songs", premiered in 2012 by contralto Karen Clark and the Galax Quartet, and Chapel Music, five diverse songs for chorus and orchestra, commissioned by Northwestern University for the 50th Anniversary of Alice Millar Chapel, and premiered at the university in 2013, under the direction of Stephen Alltop. Schwantner's Luminosity, commissioned by the CBDNA (College Band Director's National Association) with support by members of a consortia organized by Dr. Nikk Pilato, Emory University, premiered in 2015 with Pilato leading the Emory University Wind Ensemble.

The music of Joseph Schwantner is published by Schott Helicon Music Corporation.
1943
Born March 22 in Chicago
1951
Began composing around age eight while pursuing private study on the classical guitar
1964
Bachelor of Music degree from Chicago Conservatory College, where he studied with Bernard Dieter
1965
Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Alan Stout and Anthony Donato

Received first of three BMI Student Composer Awards
1966
Received second BMI Student Composer Award
1967
Awarded Bearns Prize from Columbia University
1968
Doctorate of Music degree from Northwestern University

Received third BMI Student Composer Award
1970
Awarded the first Charles Ives Scholarship presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1970-2000
Taught at Eastman School of Music
1974
Received Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1977
Received second Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1978
Awarded Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Grant

Composer-in-Residence at Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts in Virginia
1979
Awarded Pulitzer Prize for "Aftertones of Infinity"

Composed "Sparrows", revealing a broadening of stylistic approach to composing

Received third Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1981
Awarded Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for "Music of Amber"
1982
Received Consortium Commissioning Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Nominated for Grammy for "Magabunda (Witchnomad) Four Poems of Agueda Pizarro", in the category of Best New Classical Composition
1982-1985
Composer-in-Residence with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
1985
Subject of a television documentary entitled "Soundings: Joseph Schwantner and His Music"

Received Fairchild Award (University of Rochester) and Alfred I. DuPont Award for Outstanding Composers and Conductors

Received Consortium Commissioning Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1986
Professor of Composition at The Juilliard School

Master-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
1987
First Karel Husa Visiting Professor of Composition, Ithaca College School of Music

Second Grammy nomination for Best New Classical Composition, this time for "A Sudden Rainbow"
1988
Received fourth Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1990
Composer-in-Residence at Bowdoin Summer Music Festival
1992
Composer-in-Residence at Cabrillo Music Festival
1995
Premiere of "Percussion Concerto", commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for their 150th anniversary season, and one of the most frequently performed contemporary works in the U.S.

Received Alfred I. DuPont Award for Outstanding Composers and Conductors
1999-2002
Taught at Yale University
2000
Franklin & Marshall College Mueller Fellow Residency
2001
Honorary Doctorate from Baldwin Wallace College
2002
University of Georgia Center for Humanities and Arts Visiting Scholar
2003
The Maurice Abravanel Visiting Distinguished Composer, University of Utah
2004
Premiere of "New Morning for the World 'Daybreak of Freedom'" for narrator and chamber orchestra, with text from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
2005
Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
2006
National Symphony Orchestra premiere of Morning’s Embrace at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, The Washington Post praising its “delicate timbres” and “unique and original” sound

Premiere and tour of "Rhiannon's Blackbirds" by chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird
2007
Flute quartet, "Silver Halo", commissioned for the 25th anniversary season of the ensemble Flute Force
2008
"Silver Halo" premiered in January 2008 at Weill Recital Hall

Selected by the League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer as composer for the second cycle of Ford Made in America, the nation’s largest commissioning consortium of orchestras; world premiere of "Chasing Light..." by the Reno Chamber Orchestra scheduled in September 2008
2010
"The Poet's Hour" premieres with the Seattle Symphony, composed in honor of Gerard Schwarz's final season as music director.
2011
"Concerto No. 2 for Percussion Section, Timpani and Orchestra" premieres with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Hans Graf, commissioned by the Percussive Arts Society in honor of its 50th annual convention.
2012
The Nashville Symphony recording of "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra", conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, wins a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

"Dream Drapery 'Thoreau Songs'' debuts with the Galax Quartet and contralto Karen Clark.

"Taking Charge" for flute, piano and percussion premieres at the Bienen School of Music of Northwestern University.
2014
"Chapel Music", five diverse songs for chorus and orchestra, debuts at Northwestern University, led by Stephen Alltop, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Alice Millar Chapel.
2015
"Luminosity" for wind ensemble, commissioned by the CBDNA with support by members of a consortia, premieres with the Emory University Wind Ensemble led by Nikk Pilato.
Conductor: Vladimir Kulenovic
Orchestra: Texas Festival Orchestra
2017-07-08 | Round Top, TX (United States of America), Festival Concert Hall

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Profile
If there's any more gorgeous contemporary music than Joseph Schwantner's I've yet to hear it...for sheer beauty of sound it's unsurpassed. One could also add that Schwantner has a canny theatrical sense—his music is always at some level dramatic, never abstract—and that his characteristic idiom, a blending of modal melody with both enriched triadic and highly chromatic harmonies, minimalist ostinatos, and prismatic, floridly ornamented scorings, is used with so much skill and resourcefulness that the listener never notices how disparate are the elements thus unified. Everything works to create the desired sensuous and emotional effusion.
– Mark Lehman, The American Record Guide


Born in Chicago in 1943, Joseph Schwantner received his musical and academic training at the Chicago Conservatory and Northwestern University. While developing a profile as a leading American composer, he also served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music, simultaneously establishing himself as a sought after composition instructor. His music is noted for its deft implementation of luminous color and fluctuating rhythms in a dramatic and unique style.

Schwantner has enjoyed particular success in the orchestral world. His Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, among the most often performed of contemporary concert works, was commissioned for the 150th anniversary season of the New York Philharmonic. New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom on words from Martin Luther King, Jr. for narrator and orchestra has entered the standard repertory of orchestras nationwide. Following the premiere of Schwantner’s Morning’s Embrace by the National Symphony Orchestra in 2006, The Washington Post praised the work's “delicate timbres” and “unique and original” sound. In 2007, Schwantner was selected as the composer for the second cycle of Ford Made in America, the nation's largest commissioning consortium of orchestras spearheaded by the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. The resulting work, Chasing Light… received its world premiere with the Reno Chamber Orchestra in September of 2008 and completed its tour of over fifty orchestras in all fifty states in the Fall of 2010.

Schwantner’s music has been championed by such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Andrew Litton, Hugh Wolff and artists including Evelyn Glennie, Sharon Isbin and Anne Akiko Meyers, among many others. He has been commissioned by numerous leading orchestras and organizations including the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Chamber Music America, Fromm Music Foundation, Naumburg Foundation, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, among many others.

Schwantner’s compositional career has been marked by numerous distinctions and awards. His early accolades include three BMI Student Composer Awards, the Bearns Prize, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and many other awards, grants and fellowships. His orchestral composition Aftertones of Infinity was awarded the 1979 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In 1985 his life and music were the focus of a television documentary entitled "Soundings", produced by WGBH in Boston for national broadcast. That same year his work, Magabunda (Witchnomad) “Four Poems of Agueda Pizarro", recorded on Nonesuch Records by the St. Louis Symphony, was nominated for a 1985 Grammy Award in the category “Best New Classical Composition,” and his A Sudden Rainbow, also recorded on Nonesuch by the St. Louis Symphony, received a 1987 Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Composition.” Schwantner is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Recent major works include Concerto No. 2 for Percussion Section, Timpani and Orchestra, which premiered with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Hans Graf as the headline event at the Percussive Arts Society's 50th annual convention, Dream Drapery "Thoreau Songs", premiered in 2012 by contralto Karen Clark and the Galax Quartet, and Chapel Music, five diverse songs for chorus and orchestra, commissioned by Northwestern University for the 50th Anniversary of Alice Millar Chapel, and premiered at the university in 2013, under the direction of Stephen Alltop. Schwantner's Luminosity, commissioned by the CBDNA (College Band Director's National Association) with support by members of a consortia organized by Dr. Nikk Pilato, Emory University, premiered in 2015 with Pilato leading the Emory University Wind Ensemble.

The music of Joseph Schwantner is published by Schott Helicon Music Corporation.
Works
Chronology
1943
Born March 22 in Chicago
1951
Began composing around age eight while pursuing private study on the classical guitar
1964
Bachelor of Music degree from Chicago Conservatory College, where he studied with Bernard Dieter
1965
Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Alan Stout and Anthony Donato

Received first of three BMI Student Composer Awards
1966
Received second BMI Student Composer Award
1967
Awarded Bearns Prize from Columbia University
1968
Doctorate of Music degree from Northwestern University

Received third BMI Student Composer Award
1970
Awarded the first Charles Ives Scholarship presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1970-2000
Taught at Eastman School of Music
1974
Received Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1977
Received second Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1978
Awarded Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Grant

Composer-in-Residence at Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts in Virginia
1979
Awarded Pulitzer Prize for "Aftertones of Infinity"

Composed "Sparrows", revealing a broadening of stylistic approach to composing

Received third Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1981
Awarded Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for "Music of Amber"
1982
Received Consortium Commissioning Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Nominated for Grammy for "Magabunda (Witchnomad) Four Poems of Agueda Pizarro", in the category of Best New Classical Composition
1982-1985
Composer-in-Residence with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
1985
Subject of a television documentary entitled "Soundings: Joseph Schwantner and His Music"

Received Fairchild Award (University of Rochester) and Alfred I. DuPont Award for Outstanding Composers and Conductors

Received Consortium Commissioning Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1986
Professor of Composition at The Juilliard School

Master-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
1987
First Karel Husa Visiting Professor of Composition, Ithaca College School of Music

Second Grammy nomination for Best New Classical Composition, this time for "A Sudden Rainbow"
1988
Received fourth Composers Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1990
Composer-in-Residence at Bowdoin Summer Music Festival
1992
Composer-in-Residence at Cabrillo Music Festival
1995
Premiere of "Percussion Concerto", commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for their 150th anniversary season, and one of the most frequently performed contemporary works in the U.S.

Received Alfred I. DuPont Award for Outstanding Composers and Conductors
1999-2002
Taught at Yale University
2000
Franklin & Marshall College Mueller Fellow Residency
2001
Honorary Doctorate from Baldwin Wallace College
2002
University of Georgia Center for Humanities and Arts Visiting Scholar
2003
The Maurice Abravanel Visiting Distinguished Composer, University of Utah
2004
Premiere of "New Morning for the World 'Daybreak of Freedom'" for narrator and chamber orchestra, with text from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
2005
Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
2006
National Symphony Orchestra premiere of Morning’s Embrace at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, The Washington Post praising its “delicate timbres” and “unique and original” sound

Premiere and tour of "Rhiannon's Blackbirds" by chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird
2007
Flute quartet, "Silver Halo", commissioned for the 25th anniversary season of the ensemble Flute Force
2008
"Silver Halo" premiered in January 2008 at Weill Recital Hall

Selected by the League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer as composer for the second cycle of Ford Made in America, the nation’s largest commissioning consortium of orchestras; world premiere of "Chasing Light..." by the Reno Chamber Orchestra scheduled in September 2008
2010
"The Poet's Hour" premieres with the Seattle Symphony, composed in honor of Gerard Schwarz's final season as music director.
2011
"Concerto No. 2 for Percussion Section, Timpani and Orchestra" premieres with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Hans Graf, commissioned by the Percussive Arts Society in honor of its 50th annual convention.
2012
The Nashville Symphony recording of "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra", conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, wins a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

"Dream Drapery 'Thoreau Songs'' debuts with the Galax Quartet and contralto Karen Clark.

"Taking Charge" for flute, piano and percussion premieres at the Bienen School of Music of Northwestern University.
2014
"Chapel Music", five diverse songs for chorus and orchestra, debuts at Northwestern University, led by Stephen Alltop, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Alice Millar Chapel.
2015
"Luminosity" for wind ensemble, commissioned by the CBDNA with support by members of a consortia, premieres with the Emory University Wind Ensemble led by Nikk Pilato.
Performances
Conductor: Vladimir Kulenovic
Orchestra: Texas Festival Orchestra
2017-07-08 | Round Top, TX (United States of America), Festival Concert Hall
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