Swift, Richard, American composer, teacher, and writer on music; b. Middlepoint, Ohio, Sept. 24, 1927. He studied with Grosvenor Cooper, Leonard Meyer, and Leland Smith at the Univ. of Chicago (M.A., 1956). In 1956 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Calif, at Davis, retiring as prof, of music emeritus in 1991; also was chairman of the music dept. (1963-71); in 1977 he was a visiting prof, at Princeton Univ. He held editorial positions with the journal 19th Century Music (from 1981); also contributed articles to various other journals and to reference works. In his compositions, he applies a variety of functional serial techniques, including electronic and aleatory devices.
dramatic: Opera: The Trial of Tender O’Shea (Davis, Calif., Aug. 12, 1964). Other: Incidental music to various plays. ORCH.: A Coronal (1954; Louisville, Ky., April 14, 1956); 2 concertos for Piano and Chamber Ensemble (1961, 1980); Extravaganza (1961); Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orch. (Oakland, Calif., May 28, 1968); Tristia (1967; Oakland, Calif., April 20, 1968); Sym. (1970); Prime for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Ensemble (1973); Some Trees (1982). CHAMBER: String Trio (1954-55); Study for Cello (1955); 6 string quartets (1955; 1958; 1964; 1973; 1981-82; 1991-92); Serenade concertante I for Piano and Wind Quintet (1956) and 77 for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1985); Stravaganza I-X for various instrumentations (1956-85); Clarinet Sonata (1957); Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1957); Sonata for Solo Violin (1957); Music for a While I for Violin, Viola, and Harpsichord (1965), 77 for 3 Instruments (1969), 777 for Violin and Harpsichord (1975), IV for String Quartet (1991), and V for Viola and Piano (1993-94); Thrones for Alto Flute and Contrabass (1966); Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1976); Some Versions of Paraphrase for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1987); In the Country of the Blue, piano trio No. 2 for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1988); A Stitch in Time for Guitar (1989); In Arcadia for Clarinet and String Trio (1994); piano pieces. VOCAL: Many works.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire