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.”