Schwartz, Elliott S. 1936–

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Schwartz, Elliott S. 1936–

(Elliott Shelling Schwartz)

PERSONAL: Born January 19, 1936, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Nathan (a physician) and Rose (Shelling) Schwartz; married Dorothy Feldman (an artist and art instructor), June 26, 1960; children: Nina, Jonathan. Education: Columbia University, A.B., 1957, M.A., 1958, Ed.D., 1962; studied composition at Bennington Composers Conference, summers, 1961–66; studied piano under Alton Jones. Hobbies and other interests: All sports, chess, travel, unusual cuisine, films, and the theater.

ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 451, 10 Highview Rd., South Freeport, ME 04078-0451. Office—Department of Music, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, instructor in music, 1960–64; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, assistant professor, 1964–70, associate professor, 1970–75, professor of music, 1975–, chairman of music department, 1975–87, founder of Bowdoin College of Music and Bowdoin Music Festival. Visiting professor, Trinity College of Music, 1967, University of California—Santa Barbara, 1970, 1973, 1974, and Robinson College, Cambridge, 1993–94, 1999; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, visiting professor, 1985–86, part-time professor of composition, 1989–92. Vice president of the American Music Center, 1982–88; cofounder and president of Maine Composers Forum, 1995. Member of board of directors, American Composers Alliance, 1996. British Broadcasting Corp., London, England, composer, pianist, and commentator, 1972, 1974, 1978, and 1983. Music consultant for publishing companies, including Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Random House, Schirmer Books, and Oxford University Press, 1977.

MEMBER: National Association for American Composers and Conductors, Music Teachers National Association, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, College Music Society (president, 1989–90), American Society of University Composers (chairman, 1983–88).

AWARDS, HONORS: MacDowell Colony fellowships, 1964, 1965; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers award, 1965; Ford Foundation travel grants, 1969, 1972; Gaudeamus Foundation Prize (the Netherlands), 1970; Maine State Award, Maine Commission for the Arts and Humanities, 1970; National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1974, 1976, 1982; Yaddo residence fellowship, 1977; Rockefeller Foundation fellowships, 1980, 1989; McKim Commission Award, 1986.


The Symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1965.

(Editor, with Barney Childs) Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, Holt (New York, NY), 1967, revised edition with Jim Fox, Da Capo Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Electronic Music: A Listener's Guide, Praeger (New York, NY), 1973, revised edition, Da Capo Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Music: Ways of Listening, Holt (New York, NY), 1982.

(With Daniel Godfrey) Music since 1945: Issues, Materials, Literature, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

Contributor to periodicals, including Yale Journal of Music Theory, American Music, Musical Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Notes, Music and Musicians, Natida Musik, and Composer.


Music for Instruments and Tape, Orion (Malibu, CA), 1980.

Dream Music with Variations: For Violin, Viola, Violoncello, and Piano (with On Light Wings: For Violin, Viola, Violoncello, and Piano by Gunther Schuller), Orion (Malibu, CA), c. 1986.

Chamber Works, CRI (New York, NY), 1991.

Music for Strings and Mallet Percussion, GM Recordings (Newton Centre, MA), 1993.

Variations, Metier (Dorset, England), 2000.

Equinox, New World Records (New York, NY), 2000.


Composer of orchestral pieces, including Magic Music, 1967, Island, 1970, Janus, 1978, Zebra, 1980, Celebrations/Reflections: A Time Warp, 1985; Equinox, 1994, revised, 1997; Rainbow, 1996; Mehitabel's Serenade, 2000; and Voyager, 2002. Chamber orchestra works include Pastorale, 1960, Texture, 1966, Eclipse III, 1975, Chamber Concerto I-IV, 1977–78, Four American Portraits, 1986, Timepiece 1794, 1994, Jack-o-Lantern, 2000, and Water Music, 2002. Also composer of band/wind ensemble and chamber ensemble music, and theatrical pieces.

Author of published scores, including Areas: Music for Dancers and Small Chamber Ensemble, C. Fischer (New York, NY), 1977; Cycles and Gongs: For Organ, Bb Trumpet, and Tape, Hinshaw Music (Chapel Hill, NC), 1977; Five Mobiles: For Flute, Organ, Harpsichord, and Tape, Hinshaw Music (Chapel Hill, NC), 1977; Dream Music with Variations: For Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano, T. Presser (Bryn Mawr, PA), c. 1984; Chamber Concerto II: For Clarinet and Nine Players, Margun Music (Newton Centre, MA), 1986; Souvenir: For Bb Clarinet & Piano, Margun Music (Newton Centre, MA), 1990; Memorial in Two Parts: For Violin and Piano, Fallen Leaf Press (Berkeley, CA), 1991; and Travelogue: For Flute and Contrabass, Fallen Leaf Press (Berkeley, CA), 1991. Musical works also published by General Music, Carl Fischer, Alexander Broude, Media Press, and Bowdoin College Music Press.

SIDELIGHTS: Elliott S. Schwartz is a highly respected composer, educator, and author whose music is comprised primarily of instrumental works. A longtime professor at Bowdoin College, he founded the college of music there and also started a music festival and press. The result of this work, according to Russell Kane in Contemporary Composers, is that he "has had a significant impact on new music performance in northern New England."

As an author, Schwartz has written a number of books on music that seek to demystify the subject for readers. Music: Ways of Listening, for example, is a college textbook for students with no musical background. While being a survey of Western concert music, it also instructs readers on how to develop their listening skills. Similarly, Electronic Music: A Listener's Guide guides readers toward ways of better appreciating recent technical developments in music. In both books, according to Kane, Schwartz "wishes to break down some of the more oppressive hierarchies in an effort to open music out to an audience which may not ordinarily consider itself musically literate."

Schwartz has also written and edited surveys of American music, including Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music and Music since 1945: Issues, Materials, Literature. The first work, edited with Barney Childs, includes essays by important composers such as Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, and John Cage, as well as writings by less prominent composers, in an effort to provide an overview of the evolution of music in the twentieth century. Music since 1945, as the title indicates, is a survey of post-war music, but it also is an attempt by Schwartz to defray cultural and aesthetic assumptions about musical works of the second half of the twentieth century.



Contemporary Composers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1992.


ASCAP Newsletter, fall, 1965.

Carl Fischer Newsletter, no. 1, 1972.


Schwartz Music, (December 16, 2002).