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Laura Schwendinger, composer of Artemisia, winner of the 2023 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Opera award ($50,000), was the first composer to win the Berlin Prize.  A Professor of music composition at UW-Madison, her works have been championed by Dawn Upshaw, Arditti & JACK Quartets, Jenny Koh, Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, ICE, Eighth-Blackbird, Juilliard, ACO, Franz Liszt Orchestra; Her music performed at the Kennedy & Lincoln Centers, Berlin Philharmonic, Wigmore, Carnegie Halls, Miller & Théâtre Châtelet, Tanglewood, Aspen & Ojai, Talis, & Bennington Festivals. Fellowships include a: Guggenheim, Fromm (2), Koussevitzky, (2) Radcliffe Institute, Copland Prize-Copland House (2), ALEA III First Prize, American Academy Arts Letters (2), MacDowell (12), Yaddo (9), Bogliasco (2) and Bellagio fellowships. Her music called “captivating, artful..moving” and  “music of infinite beauty” in the New York Times, “ the genuine article..onto the ’season's best list “ in the Boston Globe. Colin Clarke wrote about her JACK CD, QUARTETS, “the sheer intensity of the music is spellbinding…the passion shines through like..light.” A SFCV review of her opera, “Artemisia is sumptuous on every level.” Recent premieres include her second Opera, Cabaret of Shadows a (Fromm Commission) produced by Musiqa at MATCH, Houston, Nightingales for Eleanor Bartsch and Ariana Kim and the Dubuque & UW Symphony Orchestras, and a harp concerto, Second Sight for Atlanta Symphony Principal Harpist Elisabeth Remy Johnson, commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the Emory University Orchestra program.


The first composer to win the Berlin Prize, and the 2023 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives award recipient ($50,000), the largest award of its kind for opera in the US. UW-Madison Professor Laura Schwendinger’s music, has been championed by artists Dawn Upshaw (Tour 1997-2013; TDK/Naxos DVD), Matt Haimovitz, Miranda Cuckson, Julian Wachner with Trinity Wall Street NOVUS, Arditti & JACK Quartets, ICE, New Juilliard Ensemble, Jenny Koh, Janine Jansen, Eighth Blackbird, Mathieu Dufour, American Composers Orchestra (an UnSafe commission), Franz Liszt Orchestra; Internationally at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Times Center, Symphony Space, BargeMusic, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonic, Théâtre Châtelet, and National Arts Center CA; And at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Ojai, Talis (Switzerland), KOFOMI (Austria) & Bennington Music Festivals. Honors include a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, a rare two time Koussevitzky foundation at the Library of Congress commission, a Fromm Foundation Commission, a Radcliffe Institute at Harvard fellowship, a Copland House prize, Harvard Musical Association commission for the Arditti Quartet, Chamber Music America commission, League of American Orchestras/NewMusic Alive orchestral residency; And fellowships from the McDowell (10), Yaddo (8) colonies,  as well as Rockefeller’s Bellagio, Bogliasco Foundations, American Acad. Arts & Letters (Leiberson“mid-career composers of exceptional gifts” and Ives Scholarship), First Prize ALEA III Competition (1995), and an Opera America Discovery Grant for Artemisia in with  Center for Contemporary Opera in NY (10/18), at the Times Arrow festival (1/7/17); Fully produced World premieres lead by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (June 2019),  and with Trinity Wall Street NOVUS (March 2019),  and with Chris Alden, Lidiya Yankovskaya, and Mathilda Hoffman, conducting & directing. In 

"Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Proves That Great Opera Needn’t Be Grand" World premiere of Chamber Version by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, June 3, 2019, by Rebecca Wishnia
-"Laura Schwendinger's Artemisia, on the other hand, is sumptuous on every level...Schwendinger’s score is striking. Often, it’s the little things, like the intoning of ‘Susanna’: the stressed syllable rising before the terminal fall, a nagging presence grudgingly accepted. Or the resolutions of the diminished fourths in Tommaso’s aria, a breathtaking piece of worry and longing...Most memorably, the music underscores Artemisia’s deteriorating vision. Tender, high-pitched glimmers shift so as to be out of reach. The shadows are flat-sounding chords: impressionistic, but with a distinctly contemporary sensibility.” 

In OperaWire, By Lois Silverstein wrote"Schwendinger’s score and Ginger Strand’s story not only casts its spell but awakens us again to the continuing conflict of men, women and art that has pervaded western history...The music challenges. The texture is rich. The variety of instrumentation stimulates and complements the complex issues alive in the script. Flute/piccolo, accurate and incisive, piano and percussion extending and developing motifs, harp and strings, provides a musical brocade that is excellent sister to the story, excellent transmitter of the story. Both reveal the complexity and do not hold back from riveting us to it.”

Her music has been called “captivating, artful and moving” and “music of infinite beauty” in the New York Times, “ the genuine article..onto the ’season's best list “ in the Boston Globe. In SFCV review of her opera, “Artemisia is sumptuous on every level.” Her work on Cedille’s “Notable Women with the Lincoln Trio ” was called a "hidden gem” in the UK Guardian, a Fanfare review read her work “evokes a sense of serene mystery and infinite beauty.” A New York Times playlist review read “The chamber works grouped together on this captivating disc show off her acute ear for unusual textures..she sketches musical short stories of somnambulant fragility and purpose.” Review in Chic Tribune (of Eighth Blackbird) read “an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft.”, in the  New York Times “The piece is darkly attractive, artful..moving…”


Recent premieres include her second Opera Cabaret of Shadows (a Fromm Commission), which was just premiered by Musiqa at MATCH in Houston, Nightingales for Eleanor Bartsch and Ariana Kim with UWSO and Dubuque Symphony, her harp concerto Second Sight, for Atlanta Symphony Principal Harpist commissioned by the Emory Orchestra for their orchestra program’s 100th anniversary, a new solo work Fluorescenza (premiered in Marfa TX and Bargemusic and recorded on Primavera: the wind) for Matt Haimovitz’s Primavera Project and a new piano concerto for Marta Aznavorian-performed by Christopher Taylor with the Chicago Composers Orchestra. 

As an educator, she has been in demand at festivals and summer programs such as the Bennington Conference, New Music on Point, Guest Director -  Irish Comp Summer School in Dublin, St. Mary’s Composition Intensive, Tallis Festival Switzerland (7/17) and as a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts ( 7/2018). Her work is published by Keiser Classical/ Southern and is on Naxos DVD, Voices of Our Time and many commercial CDs with Albany and Centaur. Three CDs featuring her work will be released in 2024. Colin Clarke wrote of her JACK Albany CD QUARTETS, “the sheer intensity of the music is spellbinding…the passion shines through like..light.” Her full catalog is published by Keiser/ Southern.



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Laura at Yaddo with Jennifer Karady, Jackie Lydon

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