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Elliott Schwartz

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Elliott Schwartz was born 1936 in New York City and studied composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson at Columbia University. He has recently retired from the faculty at Bowdoin College, where he served for 43 years, twelve of them as department chair. His many extended residencies and/or visiting professorships include Ohio State University, the University of California (San Diego and Santa Barbara), Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge. 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 and featured at numerous international music centers and festivals including Tanglewood, the Library of Congress, Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), DeIjsbreker (Amsterdam), Music of the Americas (London), and the European Youth Orchestra Festival (Copenhagen).

Leading orchestras and chamber ensembles have recorded his music for New World, CRI, Albany, Innova, Capstone and other labels. Honors and awards for his compositions include the Gaudeamus Foundation (Netherlands), the Rockefeller Foundation (two Bellagio residencies), and the National Endowment for the Arts. Over the course of his career he has served as president of The College Music Society, president of the Society of Composers, Inc, vice-president of the American Music Center, and board member of the American Composers Alliance.

Schwartz has also written or edited a number of books on musical subjects. These include Music: Ways of Listening, Electronic Music: A Listener’s Guide, Music since 1945 (co-author with Daniel Godfrey) and the anthology Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music (co-editor with Barney Childs). During 2006, Schwartz’s 70th birth-year was celebrated with concerts and guest lectures at Oxford, the Royal Academy of Music (London), Butler University, Concordia College, the University of Minnesota, the ACA Festival (NYC) and the Library of Congress. The last-named also celebrated the Library of Congress acquisition of his collected papers and archives.

Compositions by Elliott Schwartz

8 violas
B flat trumpet and percussion (1)
solo gtr, with pre-recorded gtr
Version II is guitar with added piano
woodwind quintet, recording of bird sounds
vla, b flat cl
ob., vc., pf.
aleatoric w/perc,4-10 tapes(made by perfs) & audience chorus
currently withdrawn by composer
Flute, Horn, Violin, Cello, Piano-4-hands, Percussion (i.e. a total of six instruments, seven performers).
4141, 4441, 5 SAXES, CBASS, PERC (5)
large concert band
4141, 4441, 5 SAXES, CBASS, PERC (5)
large concert band
bsn solo, fl, pf, perc(2), strings
Violin solo, chamber orchestra 1-(Picc)-1 (E.H.)-1 (Bass Clar)-1 (CBsn), 1-1-1-0, Percussion (1 or 2 players), piano (doubles on harpsichord & celesta), strings.
soli cl/bcl-sax/SA & concert band: 3/pic-0-3/bcl,dbl reeds,3 sax(atb);2-2-2-euph-1;2perc
cl, tpt, pno, guitar, drumset, boom box for CD playback
any melodic instrument, piano, tape playback
chamber ensemble, video projections with sound


Darwin's Dream II excerpt from ACA Festival performance
Mixed choir SATB, narrator, piano, video/audio projections
pic,2fl,2ob,2cl,bscl,2bsn,cbsn;4hn,3tpt,2tbn,bstbn,tba; hp, pf(dbl elec kb); timp(4drums), perc(4), strings


Excerpt - Diamond Jubilee - Elliott Schwartz (begins with quiet part)
concert band, tbn, bs tbn
pf,11 audience performers with radios,metronomes, music
solo theremin, theremin choir, ob, vcl, pf
various pitched or non-pitched instruments as available
12 groups of students on different floors of an elevator building
sop, guit, tpt, trb, 2 perc, pno


excerpt - Boston Conservatory performance 2009
solo percussionist, plus 2 audio playback tracks
Sax Quartet (1 alto/sop., 1 alto, 1 ten., 1 bar.), pf.
solo instrument with audio playback
flute, piano
2 trumpets, 1 percussion
Eb cl., pf.
chamber orchestra and lights
pf/elec pf/drms & any 3 melodic instr
Contrabassoon, violin, piano
Eb solo alto sax, Fl1,2; Ob1,2-EH;Cl1,2-BsCl; Bsn1,2-CB; 4HN; 2 TPT; 2 TBN; BSTBN; TBA; TIMP; PERC (3); HP; PIANO; STRINGS: 87665
alto saxophone and orchestra
pianist, singer, narrator, other instrumentalist
piano solo, with two pre-recorded piano tracks, created by the performer
cl, self-prepared tp(or 2cl)
1-6pf, audience, optional tape
soloist, audience, 4 conductors
Any instrument small enough to walk around with;
tpt., pf., 2 audio tapes, assistant
pf., 2 tapes, assistant
vcl, perc
5pf (or 1pf & tape)
bsn, pf
concert band
flute/piccolo, piano
vln, percussion
concert band
cl, hn, vcl, pf, plus audio recording
Ebcl, Bbcl, alt cl, bass cl, cb cl
cl., str. qt., pf., electronics
fl, ob, cl, hn, bsn
woodwind quintet
fl., cb., perc.
piano solo; inside the piano techniques
Violin & Cello
flute/pic, viola, percussion
fl. (picc., al. fl.), cl. (b. cl.), vln., pf.
solo flute, doubling picc and alfl
Organ, Trumpet, Chamber Ensemble of 8 players plus 2 percussion
solo flute (1st movement) solo horn (2nd movement), drawn from the instrumentation listed
2 fl/dbl pic, ob, 2 cl/1dbls bscl, bsn, 2 altosx, tensx, barisax, 2tpt, 2hn, 2tbn, tba, 3perc, piano, db
winds or brass, percussion, TVs, radios, and pre-rec tape
tenor bassoon (Tenoroon) in F, and piano
4-hands, grand piano
fl, cb
6 cl., 2 perc.
SATB, perc (2)


Two Watterson Poems - E. Schwartz, excerpt from II
Bflat Cl, Viola, Piano
3222 4231 Timp, 3 perc, strings
string orchestra, recorded water sounds
fl(with tape made by performer)

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