Elliott Schwartz (born 1936, New York City) studied composition with Otto Luening, Jack Beeson and Paul Creston at Columbia University; informal contacts at the Bennington Composers Conference with Henry Brant and Barney Childs were equally important to his development. He is the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music Emeritus at Bowdoin College, where he taught from 1964 to 2007, including twelve years as department chair; He has also held extended residencies and/or visiting professorships at the Ohio State University, University of Minnesota, Harvard (Wind Ensemble residency), the University of California (San Diego and Santa Barbara), Oxford, Cambridge (Senior Member at Robinson Colege), and Tufts.
Performances of Schwartz’s music include orchestras, chamber ensembles and festivals in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Weimar, Tokyo, Hong Kong and San Francisco. The ensembles which have performed his music include the Cincinnati, Houston and Milwaukee Symphonies, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Utrecht Symphony (Netherlands), Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic), Hong Kong Chamber Orchstra, New Cantata Orchestra (UK), the New York Chamber Soloists, Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Lontano (UK), Borromeo String Quartet, Portland String Quartet, Kreutzer Quartet (UK), Trio PianOVo (Germany) and Ensemble Alternance (France). His compositions are published by Lauren Keiser Music, Theodore Presser, G. Schirmer/Margun, Carl Fischer, and ACA. Compact disk recordings of his music can be heard on the Albany, Innova, BMOP-Sound, Parma, Metier, O.O. Discs, Folkways-Smithsonian, North-South Consonance, and GM labels.
Honors and awards include a Gaudeamus Prize (Netherlands), two Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residencies, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Southern Maine. He is author or co-author of four books, including the widely used text Music since 1945, and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music. During 2006, Schwartz’s 70th birthday was celebrated with concerts and guest lectures at Oxford, the Royal Academy of Music (London), Butler University, the University of Minnesota, the ACA Festival (New York) and the Library of Congress, the latter to celebrate the acquisition of his collected papers and archival materials. His 75th birthday was highlighted by the Portland Symphony 2011 premiere of his orchestra work Diamond Jubilee.
Recent performances of his work (since 2010) include New York (Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, the Juilliard School), Tufts University, the Portland Conservatory (ME), Society of Composers conference (Ohio State University), New England Conservatory, Cambridge University (UK), Kings College London (UK), the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), Royal Scottish Academy (Glasgow), Hong Kong Institute of Education, and the Oslo Conservatory (Norway). In 2012 he was featured guest composer at the University of Maryland/Baltimore; during 2013-14 he will hold similar visiting positions at Vanderbilt University (as BMI Visiting Composer), the University of Maryland/College Park, Butler University, and San Diego New Music (La Jolla).
In addition to his composing, Schwartz has written or edited four books on musical subjects, including Music Since 1945; Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music; and Electronic Music: A Listener’s Guide. He has served on the Board of the American Composers Alliance, and has been Vice-President of the American Music Center, President of the College Music Society, and President of the American Society of University Composers/Society of Composers, Inc.