Elliott Schwartz was born in 1936 in New York City and studied composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson at Columbia University. He is the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music at Bowdoin College, where he has taught since 1964, including twelve years as department chair.
Elliott Schwartz's music has been performed by such leading ensembles as the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, ALEA III (Boston), Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, New York Chamber Soloists, Atlanta Virtuosi, Tremont Quartet, Esbjerg Ensemble (Denmark), Lontano (UK), and Spectrum (UK). Major festivals and new music series include the Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), "Music of the Americas" series (London), Berkshire Festival (Tanglewood), "Music in Our Time" (New York), De Ijsbreker (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the York and Bath Festivals (Britain), and European Music Week (UNESCO Centre, Paris). Honors and awards include a Dutch Gaudeamus Prize, two Rockefeller Foundation residencies at Bellagio, Italy, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, an NEA Consortium commission, and a McKim Fund commission from the Library of Congress. Works such as Rainbow and Equinox: Concerto for Orchestra are masterful illustrations of Schwartz's nimble orchestration skills and his often richly colored canvases.
Elliott Schwartz has presented four radio programs of American music for the British Broadcasting Corporation, and also been the subject of a 60-minute National Public Radio "Options" program. In recent years his appearances as visiting composer/lecturer have included London, Boston, Amsterdam, Kyoto and Los Angeles, residencies at Bennington College, the University of Arizona and the University of Montana, Greenwich House, New York (all-Schwartz program), Museum of Modern Art Summergarden series (New York), the Musikinstitut of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), the Netherlands National Youth Orchestra, and the "Leningrad Spring" Festival (Russia).
Mr. Schwartz's recent appearances include the Composers Concordance series (New York), the Bar Harbor Music Festival, and an extended residency at the University of Miami (FL), as guest composer for the 1999 Miami Festival. He is currently composing a saxophone concerto for Kenneth Radnofsky and the New England Conservatory Orchestra, and a clarinet quintet for the Kreutzer String Quartet (London).
The composer has served as President of the College Music Society, National Chair of the American Society of University Composers (now renamed the Society of Composers, Inc.), Vice-President of the American Music Center, President of the Maine Composers Forum, and music panelist for the Maine Arts Council. He is presently a board member of the American Composers' Alliance.
Elliott Schwartz is co-editor of the recent anthology, Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, co-author of Music Since 1945, and the author of Electronic Music: A Listener's Guide; The Symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams; and Music: Ways of Listening. He has also written essays and reviews for Perspectives of New Music, The Musical Quarterly, Musical America, Music and Musicians (England), Nordic Sounds (Denmark) and other publications.
Mr. Schwartz's works have been recorded on the CRI, Innova, Vienna Modern Masters, Capstone, North-South Consonance (Albany) and GM labels. A new recording is scheduled for release by New World Records in May, 2000. His music is published by Margun Music, an imprint of G. Schirmer, Inc. & Associated Music Publishers.