Ellen Taafe Zwilich, premiere everywhere

Juilliard School, composition, Carnegie Hall, global career and comics … yes, one wonders what the American composer Ellen Taafe Zwilich did not do!

Promotion major

First woman to earn a doctorate in composition from the Juilliard School in New York. First woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in composition; first woman to be named composer of the year; and then again (woman and man combined) first composer in residence at Carnegie Hall; first composer whose work was premiered abroad by a US orchestra; and I will add one last title: the first classical music composer to appear in a Charles Schulz comic strip … Ellen Zwilich is definitely first everywhere and her CV makes you pale!

Combining art is entertainment

If Zwilich has a very serious catalog, she does not want to separate art and entertainment which for her go hand in hand in an egalitarian relationship. Also after being the first classical music composer to appear in the cult white beagle comic, Snoopy, she and her creator Charles Schulz befriended. A few years later, the composer was in residence at Carnegie Hall in New York, and was asked to produce a piece for children. She thinks of the Peanuts, and Schulz is thrilled! It will be the Peanuts Gallery, for piano and orchestra. But this is not the only work of Zwilich, and from his first musical experiments to his Funeral Chamber Symphony, his doctorate and his Pulitzer Prize, it is necessary to return to the course of this first class not taking not too seriously though!

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Musical programming

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Peanuts Gallery (1996) I. Schroeder’s Beethoven Fantasy Jeffrey Biegel, piano, University of Florida Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Jimenez
Naxos 8.559656

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
String Quartet 1974 (1974) II. untitled
New York String Quartet
Composers Recordings CD 621

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Sonata in 3 movements (1973-74) III. Allegro vivo e con brio
Joseph Zwilich, violin, James Gemmell, piano
Composers Recordings CD 621

“Celebrating Women Composers | Ellen Zwilich”
Interview with Ellen Zwilich (2017)

Dimitri Kabalevsky
Easy variations op 51
Kirsten Johnson, piano
Nimbus NI6282

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Symphony n ° 1 (1981) I. (untitled)
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nelson
New World Records NW 336

“Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Goose Bumps in the Candy Shop”
Interview with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (2011)

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Chamber Symphony (1979)
Louisville Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Leighton-Smith
First Edition Music FECD-0004

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Symphony No.1 (1981) III. (untitled)
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nelson
New World Records NW 336

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Concerto for tenor trombone (1988) I. Allegro
Christian Lindberg, tenor trombone, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, conductor James de Priest
BIS CD-628

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Bassoon Concerto (1992) I. Untitled
Nancy Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lorin Maazel New World Records 80503-2

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939)
Concerto for violin, cello and piano (1996) III. Untitled
Jaime Laredo, violin, Sharon Robinson, cello, Joseph Kalichstein, piano, University of Florida Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Stern Koch
Classics 0099923753728

For further

A New York Times article

A long interview

His website

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Ellen Taafe Zwilich, premiere everywhere

Hank Gilbert