A Professor at UW and the first Berlin Prize in Composition, Laura Schwendinger’s music has been performed by Dawn Upshaw (Tour, TDK/Naxos DVD), Arditti & JACK quartets, Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Lincoln Trio, New Juilliard Ensemble, Trinity Choir Novus, American Composers Orchestra, Liszt Chamber Orchestra and Richmond Symphony as NMUSA/ American League of Orchestras composer in residence; At Kennedy Center, Berlin Philharmonic, Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center, Symphony-Space, Wigmore Hall, Théâtre Châtelet, Carnegie Hall, Miller Theater, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bennington and Ojai Music Festivals. Her honors include a those from the Guggenheim, Fromm , and Koussevitzky Foundations, Chamber Music America, Radcliffe Institute and Harvard Musical Assoc, Copland House, MacDowell (10x), Yaddo (8x), Rockefeller Bellagio center, first prize ALEA III (1995) and two American Academy of Arts and Letters awards (a Lieberson for “mid career composers of exceptional talent” and Ives Fellowship.) Her Centaur and Albany CDs were released to acclaim, called “captivating disc..sketches musical stories of…fragility…purpose”,“darkly attractive, artful..moving…”, “evokes serene mystery and infinite beauty.” (NY Times), “an acute sonic imagination, sure command of craft.” (Chicago Tribune), “shrewd composing, the genuine article. Onto ''season's best'' list it goes” (Boston Globe). Her opera Artemisia, about the famous baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, was a winner of a OA, NOC Discovery Grant and will be produced in NY with acclaimed Director Chris Alden (3/18),  and the award winning Left Coast Ensemble (6/19), and previewed by the Center for Contemporary opera in NY (11/18). About her Creature Quartet just released by Albany Records on QUARTETS and featuring the JACK Quartet, Colin Clarke wrote “The sheer intensity of both music and performance thereof is spellbinding, as if the passion of the composer for her subject shines through like a light.” She has been on faculty at New Music on the Point, Bennington Festival, Talis Fest (Switz) and Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (7/18). Her catalog is published by Keiser Southern, and Hildegard.

 

Laura at Yaddo with Jennifer Karady, Jackie Lydon

Bio

The first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Laura Elise Schwendinger, Professor of Composition at The University of Wisconsin Madison, was born in Mexico City. Her music has been performed by leading artists or our day including Dawn Upshaw (Tour 1997-2013; Voices of Our Time, TDK/Naxos DVD), the Arditti and JACK quartets, Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, Miranda Cuckson, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, New Juilliard Ensemble, Collage, StonyBrook Premiere, Boston Musica Viva, Aspen Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Lincoln Trio, Trinity Wall Street Novus (Carnegie) and the American Composers Orchestra (an UnSafe series Commission; Carnegie Hall 2012) and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Hungary; At venues including, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center, Times Center, Symphony Space, Poisson Rouge, BargeMusic, Corcoran Gallery, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonic, National Arts Centre CA,  Theatre Chatelet, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bennington and Ojai Music Festivals. She was a League of Composers/ New Music USA Resident composer with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in 2016. She has been on faculty at summer Festivals such as New music on the Point, Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Irish Composition Summer School and the Tallis Music Festival in Switzerland.

Her honors include those from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Radcliffe Institute-Harvard University, Copland House, Harvard Musical Association, Chamber Music America, League of American Orchestra/ New Music Alive, MacDowell (9), Yaddo colonies (7), and Rockefeller’s Bellagio and Bogliasco fellowships, American Academy of Arts and Letters awards (Goddard Leiberson Fellowship for “mid-career composer of exceptional gifts” and Ives scholarship) and first-prize of the 1995 ALEA III Competition. Notable premieres include those from Miller Theater  (a Pocket Concerto for Jenny Koh and ICE), an American Composers Orchestra Commission (SHADINGS), New Juilliard Ensemble, Sounding Beckett (Off Broadway at the Classic Stage Co.) and her High Wire Act, which has been performed by dozens of groups across the country including Chameleon Arts. Recent performances and premieres include her Artist’s Muse, Schwendinger’s second Koussevitzky commission by the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston (5/17), Creature Quartet by JACK quartet, and Arc of Fire commissioned by Chamber Music America, performed at Bryant Park, both nominated for Pulitzers (WFMT radio in Chicago, and Union Theater Concerts), and her opera Artemisia, just premiered by Julian Wachner, and Marnie Breckenridge, with Trinity Wall Street, as part of the Times Arrow Festival (1/7/17) and was a recipient of a National Opera Center Discovery Grant. William Zagorski (Fanfare) wrote of her C’e La Luna Questa Sera? “it evokes a sense of serene mystery and infinite beauty.” John Van Rhein wrote of Eighth Blackbird’s performance of High Wire Act (Chicago Tribune) “it evinced an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft.” Of her Song for Andrew Anthony Tommasini wrote (NYT) “The piece is darkly attractive, artful and moving…” and of her Fable, Richard Buell (Boston Globe) wrote in his review “This was shrewd composing, the genuine article. Onto the ''season's best'' list it goes.” The NY Times reviewer Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim wrote in her playlist review “The chamber works grouped together on this captivating disc show off Laura Elise Schwendinger’s acute ear for unusual textures. In these works… she sketches musical short stories of somnambulant fragility and purpose.”

Longer Biography

Laura Schwendinger, the first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, is a Professor of Composition at UW-Madison. Her music is performed by leading artists of our day, including Dawn Upshaw (on tour 1997-2013; TDK/Naxos DVD), Patricia Green, Arditti & JACK Quartets, Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, Miranda Cuckson, Matt Haimovitz, ICE, Eighth Blackbird, New Juilliard Ensemble, Collage, StonyBrook Premiere, Boston Musica Viva, Aspen Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Trinity Choir and NOVUS, American Composers Orchestra and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, and at Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln-Center, Times Center, Symphony Space, BargeMusic, Corcoran Gallery, Institute of Advanced Study-Princeton and Tanglewood, Aspen and Ojai Music Festivals; and at the National Arts Centre Canada, Théâtre Châtelet, Wigmore Hall, and Berlin Philharmonic, and in 2016 held an American League of Orchestras Composer residency with the Richmond Symphony. Her honors include a Guggenheim, Koussevitzky (2), Fromm, Radcliffe Institute, Copland House, Harvard Musical Association, Chamber Music America, League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, two American Academy of Arts and Letters awards (a Goddard Leiberson Fellowship for “mid-career composer of exceptional gifts” and Ives scholarship), First-prize ALEA III, MacDowell (9), Yaddo (7), Tyrone Guthrie Center (5), Bogliasco and Rockefeller Bellagio Center Fellowships. Premieres include a Miller Theater commission, ACO UnSafe Commission, Sounding Beckett (Off-Broadway, Classic Stage Co.).

 

Her music has been described as...“Evok(ing) a sense of serene mystery and infinite beauty”, “evincing an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft.”, “darkly attractive, artful and moving…” "talent to burn…ballsy, confident music-making in both writing and execution…proves that serious contemporary music does not have to dumb down to be immediately accessible and emotional”,“...her music has at its core her own impressive point of view... … displays an acute ear for engaging melodic contours and evocative settings”, “not a single moment in her works sounds contrived, formulaic, or artificial…intensely and strongly "alive", “This was shrewd composing, the genuine article. Onto the ''season's best'' list it goes.” The NY Times Playlist review of her CD High Wire Acts said..“The works grouped together on this captivating disc… sketch(es) musical short stories of somnambulant fragility and purpose.” 

 

Laura Elise Schwendinger, a 2016 OPERA AMERICA Discovery Grant recipient for her opera Artemisia, is based on the life of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 –1656), an important follower of Caravaggio and the first women member of the Accademia del Arte, Florence. When sixteen, Artemisia was raped by Agostino Tassi, while studying with the elder painter. Tassi was sentenced to prison, but never served. The case overshadowed Artemisia’s achievements for years, however today she is regarded as one of the greatest painters of her time. The opera will be is a co-commission by Trinity Wall Street Novus in NY and in San Francisco by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Writer and librettist Ginger Strand, is the author of four books including her new book The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

@ 2016 Laura Elise Schwendinger