Laura Schwartz

  • Graduate Student, Composition/Theory

Laura Schwartz is a PhD candidate in the Music Composition and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh. The music Laura writes and performs explores gesture-time, electric fans, and egg shakers. She attended the University of California, Davis (BA in Music 2013) and Illinois State University (MM in Composition 2015).

Laura’s music was performed during the Oregon Bach Festival Composer’s Symposium (2014), the Oregon Symposium of Graduate Musicians (2015), Nief Norf festival (2015), Yarn/Wire Institute (2016), the UC Davis Revision/(s) Festival (2018), Los Angeles Percussion Quartet Composers Imitative (2018) and New Music on the Point (2018). She was awarded one of four inaugural artist in residences with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physics and Astronomy (2016), culminating in System Cooling, an illustrated set of six miniatures for clarinet, baritone saxophone, violin, and double bass. In 2017, she won the Margert Blackburn and Dead Elf awards for her string quartet Wreathes (2017).  Her commissioned collaboration with animator Shayna Schwartz­, An Anatomical Study on Escape (2018) for ensemble and live-processed video projection was premiered by Kamratōn ensemble in March 2018.

Laura has worked with ensembles and performers including: Robert Black—double bass, Arditti quartet, ensemble linea, New Morris code, Ekmeles, wild Up, Durward Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Living Earth Show, Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and How things are made. Her collaborations with performers include: Matt Driscoll—trombone, Devon Tipp—bassoon, Evangeline Werger—piano, Sarah Pyle—flute(s), and Aaron Hydns—tuba.

Beyond composition, Laura is an active scholar in Music Theory and Musicology. She is a recipient of an Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Research Fellowship for 2018-2019 for her dissertation research on self-formation in the verbally notated music of Jenifer Walshe and Pauline Oliveros. Her primary research areas include: verbally notated scores, technologies of self, listening, voice/self in video game music, and Pauline Oliveros. For more information visit: