A Year of Achievement for Composer Laura Schwartz

Doctoral candidate Laura Schwartz has been making the most of her year as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. She was awarded a 15-day residency in Brooklyn, New York to work on her dissertation piece An Anatomical Study on Escape for flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, and live-processed video. The composition was commissioned by Pittsburgh new music ensemble Kamratōn. Performers record themselves speaking a phrase and that recording becomes material to fill-in-the-blanks for the rest of the piece. The performer’s voice is literally and figuratively the basis of the piece realization. (You can hear an excerpt on Laura’s website.) 

In January, her work Episode 8 was chosen for publication in the 2019 journal Women & Music. (View the score here.). Episode 8, is a musical work written in the style of old forum posts from the 2000s and gives performers a set of processes and games to complete which result in a playful sonic atmosphere. The piece was previously recorded by Pittsburgh based experimental music ensemble How Things are Made.

On March 14, 2019, four of her improvisatory works will be premiered at the University of California, Davis during the Shinkoskey Noon Concert Series by the Contemporary Improvisation Ensemble directed by Kurt Rohde: Episode 8 for two or more performers (live-performance premiere), Open Close for trumpet (world premiere), Idioms for six voices (world premiere), and An Apparatus with Rotating Blades for fan and performer (west coast premiere). Find out more about these premiere performances.

Her work Boundaries for Jazz ensemble was chosen for presentation and performance by the University of New Mexico Jazz Band at the Society of Composers INC National Conference on March 29, 2019. The work involves improvising as a decorative listening dialogue between performers without the use of chord symbols. The piece was commissioned by the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Jazz Studies in 2018. A performance of the piece can be heard here.

As if all that were not impressive enough, Laura’s music was professionally recorded and released for the first time in December 2018. Her work, For My Mother, was commissioned and recorded by Durward Chamber Ensemble from Iowa. Laura’s mother is a breast cancer survivor and the work was written for a concert series to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. Listen to sounds of a mouthpiece sneakily buzzed and an ensemble that almost dances. You can preview and purchase the album Daughters of Earth: New Works by Women Composers as download or CD format at the CDbaby store.

It’s clearly been a fruitful and exciting year for Laura so far and we look forward to continuing to follow her many creative accomplishments!