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ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH

ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH

   

Awards

Works

Recordings

Reviews


At a time when the musical offerings of the world are more varied than ever before, few composers have emerged with the unique personality of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Her music is widely known because it is performed, recorded, broadcast, and – above all – listened to and liked by all sorts of audiences the world over. Like the great masters of bygone times, Zwilich produces music "with fingerprints," music that is immediately recognized as her own. In her compositions, Ms. Zwilich combines craft and inspiration, reflecting an optimistic and humanistic spirit that gives her a unique musical voice.

Ellen Zwilich is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including the 1983 Pulitzer Prize in Music (the first woman ever to receive this coveted award), the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Prize, the Arturo Toscanini Music Critics Award, the Ernst von Dohnányi Citation, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, 4 Grammy nominations, the Alfred I. Dupont Award, Miami Performing Arts Center Award, the Medaglia d'Oro in the G.B. Viotti Competition, and the NPR and WNYC Gotham Award for her contributions to the musical life of New York City. Among other distinctions, Ms. Zwilich has been elected to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1995, she was named to the first Composer's Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall, and she was designated Musical America’s Composer of the Year for 1999. Ms. Zwilich, who holds a doctorate from The Juilliard School, has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Manhattanville College, Marymount Manhattan College, Mannes College/The New School, Converse College, and Michigan State University. She currently holds the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professorship at Florida State University.

A prolific composer in virtually all media, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s works have been performed by most of the leading American orchestras and by major ensembles abroad. Her music first came to public attention when Pierre Boulez conducted her Symposium for Orchestra at Juilliard (1975), but it was the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for the Symphony No. 1 that brought her instantly into international focus. Commissions, major performances and recordings soon followed: the Symphony No. 2 (Cello Symphony), premiered by Edo de Waart and the San Francisco Symphony; Symphony No. 3, written for the New York Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary; Symphony No. 4 "The Gardens" (with chorus), commissioned by Michigan State University and the subject of a PBS documentary seen nationally; the Juilliard-commissioned Symphony No. 5 (Concerto for Orchestra) premiered at Carnegie Hall under James Conlon's direction; the string of concertos commissioned and performed over the past two decades by the nation’s top orchestras — for Piano (Detroit Symphony under Günther Herbig), Trombone (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti), Flute (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa), Oboe (Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnányi), Violin and Cello (Louisville Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton Smith), Bass Trombone (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim), French Horn (Rochester Philharmonic, Lawrence Leighton Smith), Bassoon (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lorin Maazel), Trumpet (San Diego Symphony, JoAnn Falletta), Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello (Minnesota Orchestra, Zdenek Macal), Violin (Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Hugh Wolff), and Millennium Fantasy for Piano (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesús López-Cobos). Ms. Zwilich’s most recent concertos include the Clarinet Concerto (2002-2003), written for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by JoAnn Falletta (chamber and orchestral versions, respectively) with soloist David Shifrin; and Rituals (2004) for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra, premiered by IRIS Orchestra under Michael Stern, featuring the renowned Nexus percussion ensemble.

Ms. Zwilich’s orchestral essay Symbolon was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic expressly to receive its world premiere in what was then Leningrad. Conductor Zubin Mehta subsequently performed it in Europe, Asia and America and recorded it on the New World label. Carnegie Hall’s 1997 family concert series featured Peanuts® Gallery for piano and orchestra, a work based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts® characters. Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, a commission by a consortium of 27 orchestras, was premiered in September, 2000, by Jeffrey Biegel and the Cincinnati Symphony under Jesús López-Cobos. At the premiere, the mayor of Cincinnati issued a proclamation naming September 23, 2000 "Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Day," and presented Ms. Zwilich with the Keys to the City.

Ms. Zwilich’s chamber works have been commissioned by the Boston Musica Viva (Chamber Symphony, Passages), the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 92nd Street Y and San Francisco Performances (Piano Trio), the New York State Music Teachers Association (Divertimento), the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress (Romance for Violin), the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Northwest (Clarinet Quintet), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Double Quartet and Clarinet Concerto), Carnegie Hall (String Quartet No. 2), Ruth Eckerd Hall for Itzhak Perlman (Episodes for Violin and Piano), the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival (Oboe Quartet), and California EAR Unit (LUVN BLM). The 2007-2008 concert season saw the premiere of Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet, commissioned by a consortium comprising Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Fontana Chamber Arts, and Michigan State University.

Zwilich has been the subject of two cartoons in the late Charles Schulz’s celebrated Peanuts® series. The first cartoon, in which the Peanuts® characters attend the premiere of Ms. Zwilich’s Concerto for Flute, set off a chain of events which led eventually to the completion of Zwilich’s Peanuts® Gallery for piano and orchestra, which was also featured in Schulz’s comic strip. Peanuts® Gallery, which Ms. Zwilich wrote for a 1997 Carnegie Hall children’s concert, went on to become the basis of the second PBS documentary to feature her music (the first, "The Gardens: Birth of a Symphony", featured Symphony No. 4 "The Gardens"). The acclaimed "Peanuts® Gallery" special has aired hundreds of times nationwide since its 2006 PBS debut, and will be rebroadcast during the 2007-2008 season.

Many of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s works have been issued on recordings, and Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians [8th edition] states: "There are not many composers in the modern world who possess the lucky combination of writing music of substance and at the same time exercising an immediate appeal to mixed audiences. Zwilich offers this happy combination of purely technical excellence and a distinct power of communication."

Click here to read a press release about Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's activities during the 2012-2013 season, including information on her new string quartet, Voyage. (PDF)

View scores here (roll over to view score title):


Awards


2008: PBS show on "Peanuts Gallery" named "Best Performance Program from a large-market broadcaster" by NETA

2006: Honorary doctorate, Michigan State University

2004: Composer-in-Residence, Saratoga Chamber Music Festival

2004: Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

2000: Mayoral proclamation "Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Day," Key to the City: Cincinnati

1999: "Composer of the Year," Musical America

1999: Miami Performing Arts Center Award

1998: "Best new chamber piece (“String Quartet No.2”)," USA Today

1998: NPR and WNYC Gotham Award for contribution to musical life of NYC (for "Making Music" Series at Carnegie Hall)

1996: Grammy nomination (for “Symphony No.3”)

1995: Honorary Doctorate: Mannes/New School

1994: Elected to Florida Artists Hall of Fame

1994: Honorary Doctorate: Marymount Manhattan College

1992: Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters

1992: Grammy nomination (“Flute Concerto”),

1992: Honorary Doctorate: Converse College

1991: Alfred I. Dupont Award

1991: Honorary Doctorate: Manhattanville College

1990: Grammy nomination (“Symphony No.2”)

1990: Resident, American Academy in Rome

1987: Honorary Doctorate: Oberlin

1987: Lancaster Symphony Composer’s Award

1986: Grammy nomination (“Symphony No.1”)

1985: Arturo Toscanini Music Critics Award

1984: Academy Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters

1983: Lifetime Honorary Membership: American Federation of Musicians, Local 802

1983: Pulitzer Prize (for “Symphony No. 1”)

1981: Ernst von Dohnányi Citation

1980: Guggenheim Fellowship

1980: Norlin Foundation Fellowship from MacDowell Colony

1979: Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Awards

1977: Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Awards

1976: Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Awards

1975: International Composition Competition, G.B. Viotti, in Vercelli, Italy awarded the "Medaglia d'Oro" (for Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano)

3 Marion Freschl prizes from Juilliard

3 student-composer’s prizes from Florida Composers League

Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Prize (for “String Quartet 1974”) from Juilliard

Richard Rogers Award Scholarship from Juilliard


Works

Band | Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos | Choral and Vocal | Orchestra



Band


Ceremonies for Concert Band (1988) -- 18'
Published: #145-40024
Commission Information: Florida State University School of Music
Premiere Information: Florida State University Symphonic Band, James Croft conducting, March 3, 1989

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#145-40024F)
Set of parts (#145-40024P)



Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration (2010) -- 12'30"
18 off-stage brass players; Symphonic Band
Additional Information: original version for orchestra available on rental

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#145-40034F)
Set of parts (#145-40034M)



Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos


Chamber Symphony (1979) -- 17'
Fl.(Picc.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Vln., Vla., Vcl., Pno.
Published: #144-40089
Commission Information: Boston Musica Viva
Premiere Information: Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman conducting, November 30, 1979
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40089S)


Clarino Quartet for Four Trumpets or Four Clarinets (1977)
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (Shawnee Press)


Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (1988) -- 20'
Published: #144-40168
Additional Information: Performance Version for Trombone and Two Pianos Also available for Trombone and Orchestra.

Available Separately:

Errata Sheet (#144-40168E)


Concerto for Trumpet and Five Players (1984) -- 14'
Solo Tpt.; Fl.(Picc.), B.Cl.(Cl.), Perc., Cb., Pno.
Published: #144-40139
Commission Information: National Endowment for the Arts
Premiere Information: Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, David Stock conducting, May 6, 1985
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40139P)


Divertimento for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, and Violoncello (1983)
Available From Mobart Music Publications


Double Quartet for Strings (1984) -- 21'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Premiere Information: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with the Emerson Quartet, Alice Tully Hall, New York, October 21, 1984
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40129)


Episodes for Violin and Piano (2003) -- 10'
Vln. Pno.
Published: #144-40473
Commission Information: Commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ruth Eckerd Hall; funded by the Florida Arts Council and Ray and Nancy Murray
Premiere Information: Itzhak Perlman, violin, Rohan DeSilva, piano; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL; February 21, 2004

Movements:
Arioso
Vivace

Reviews


Episodes for Soprano Saxophone and Piano (2007) -- 10'
Published: #144-40507


Fantasy for Harpsichord (1983)
Available From Mobart Music PublicationsReviews


Intrada (1983)
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (Shawnee Press)


Lament for Cello and Piano (2000) -- 7'
Published: #144-40419
Premiere Information: November 17, 2000, Edward Arron, cello, Avner Arad, piano , Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Lament for Piano (1999)
Published: 140-40107


LUVN BLM (2005) -- 13½'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Pno. Vln. Vcl.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Published: #446-41202
Commission Information: Commissioned for the California Ear Unit by Helene Mirich Spear in loving memory of her husband, Julian Spear
Premiere Information: February 14th, 2006. California EAR Unit, REDCAT in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

Movements:
Dance
Prelude
Song


Passages Chamber version (1981)
Available From Margun Music (G. Schirmer)


Praeludium for Organ (1987)
Available From Mobart Music Publications


Quartet for Oboe and Strings (2004) -- 14'
Ob., Vln., Vla., Vcl.
Published: #144-40489
Commission Information: Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Chantal Juillet, Music Director
Premiere Information: August 22, 2004. Richard Woodhams, oboe; Chantal Juillet, vln; others.
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40489S)


Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet (2007) -- 17'20"
Published: #144-40513
Commission Information: Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (sponsors - the Brussels Sprouts: Ghislaine Polak, Richard De Roeck, Jean-Paul Bierny), the Chamber Music Society of Detroit; Fontana Chamber Arts; and Michigan State University
Premiere Information: January 16th, 2008. Ashu, Saxophone, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Leo Rich Theater, Tucson, Arizona.


Quintet/b> for Clarinet and String Quartet (1990)
Available From Mobart Music PublicationsReviews


Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass, and Piano (2010) -- 22'
Published: #144-40550
Premiere Information: 7th August, 2011. the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Michael Tree, Viola and Harold Robinson, Double-Bass, La Jolla Music Society, California.
Reviews

Romance for Violin and Piano (1993) -- 7'
Published: #144-40234
Commission Information: McKim Fund in the Library of Congress
Premiere Information: Ida Kavaflan and Menahem Pressler, March 6, 1998
Additional Information: Version for Violin and Chamber Orchestra also available.


Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano (1973-74) -- 11'
Published: #144-40087
Premiere Information: Joseph Zwilich and James Gemmel, May 15, 1974
Recordings
Reviews


Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet (2008) -- 25'
Published: #444-41028 (study score)
Commission Information: Commissioned for The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet by the 92nd St. Y; the Abe Fortas Chamber Music Concerts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Kent/Blossom Music; the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, made possible by a gift from Geraldine Schwartz; Regional Arts at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Philharmonic Society of Orange County; Ruth Eckerd Hall; Friends of Chamber Music, Portland, OR; Chamber Arts Society of Duham; Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle; Denver Friends of Chamber Music and through the International Arts Foundation, Inc.
Premiere Information: The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet; Tisch Center for the Arts, 92nd Street Y, NYC, April 28-29,2009
Reviews


String Quartet (1974)
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (Shawnee Press)


String Quartet No. 2 (1998) -- 25'
Published: #144-40329
Commission Information: Carnegie Hall Corporation
Premiere Information: Emerson Quartet, Carnegie Hall, New York, December 2, 1998
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40329S)


String Trio for Violin, Viola and Violoncello (1982) -- 16'
Published: #144-40111
Commission Information: Lydian Trio
Premiere Information: Lydian Trio, January 15, 1983
Recordings
Reviews


Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello (1987) -- 17'
Published: #144-40159
Commission Information: Abe Fortas Memorial Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the 92nd Street Y and San Francisco Performances, Inc.
Premiere Information: April 15, 1988, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
Recordings
Reviews



Voyage for String Quartet (2012) --
Commission Information: Commissioned to celebrate the centennials of the founding members of the Galimir String Quartet — Marguerite Galimir Rollin, Renee Galimir Hurtig, Felix Galimir and Adrienne Galimir Krasner — by Richard and Judith Hurtig, Viola and Richard Morse, Naomi Krasner, Elsa and Marvin Miller, South Mountain Concerts of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Premiere Information: 7th October, 2012. St. Lawrence String Quartet (Geoff Nuttall, Scott St. John, violins; Lesley Robertson, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello), South Mountain Concerts, Pittsfield, MA.
Reviews



Choral and Vocal


A Simple Magnificat for SATB and Organ (1994) -- 7'
Published: #342-40172
Commission Information: Yale Institute of Sacred Music
Premiere Information: Divinity School Choir, Yale Glee Club and Yale Camerata, Marguerite Brooks conducting, Victoria Sirota, organ, December 6, 1994
Recordings
Reviews


Einsame Nacht Song Cycle for Baritone and Piano (1971) -- 14'
Published: #441-41017
Premiere Information: Edmund LeRoy and Dai Uk Lee, May 15, 1974
Additional Information: Texts are by Herman Hesse, in German.
Recordings


Emlékezet for Soprano and Piano (1978) -- 7'
Published: #141-40061
Premiere Information: Magyar Radio, 1979, Terézia Csajbók, soprano
Additional Information: Text in Hungarian by Sandor Petöfi


Im Nebel for Contralto and Piano (1972) -- 4'
Published: #141-40060
Premiere Information: May 15, 1974, Lorna Myers and Myron MacPherson
Additional Information: Text by Herman Hesse, in German.


Immigrant Voices for Chorus, Brass, Timpani and Strings
Available From Composer


One Nation - Reflections on the "Pledge of Allegiance" for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra (1991) -- 5'
SATB Chorus; 0-0-0-0; 2-4-3-1; Timp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Additional Information: From "Immigrant Voices," with additional text by Erik LaMont. Version for Mixed Chorus and Piano or Organ with Optional Brass also available.


One Nation - Reflections on the "Pledge of Allegiance" for Mixed Chorus and Piano or Organ with Optional Brass (1991) -- 5'
Published: #342-40191
Additional Information: From "Immigrant Voices," with additional text by Erik LaMont. Version for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra also available.

Available Separately:

Solo Part (#342-40191P)


Thanksgiving Song for SATB and Piano (1986) -- 4'
Published: #342-40156
Commission Information: Ithaca College Choral Series
Recordings
Reviews


Trompeten for Soprano and Piano (1974) -- 3'
Published: #141-40066
Premiere Information: May 5, 1977, Clamma Dale and Neil Stannard
Additional Information: Two text versions available: original text by Georg Trakl in German, or English translation by the composer.



Orchestra


American Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (1994) -- 16'
Solo Tpt.; 2(Picc.)-2(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-2(Cbsn.); 4-2-3(B.Tbn.)-1; 2Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: California Center for the Arts, Escondido, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Doc Severinson
Premiere Information: San Diego Symphony, Doc Severinsen, trumpet, JoAnn Falletta conducting, Inaugural Concert of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA, September 24, 1994
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#144-40259)
Errata Sheet (#144-40259E)
Full Score - Large (#446-41117)


Avanti! Fanfare for Jerry (2010) -- 2'30"
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Vibr. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by the Seattle Symphony as one of several works written by various composers to mark Gerard Schwarz’s final season as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony, which were performed throughout the season.
Premiere Information: February 3rd, 5th, 6th, 2011. Seattle Symphony, conducted by Gerard Schwarz.

Celebration for Orchestra (1984) -- 10'
4-3-3-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, John Nelson conducting, October 12, 1984
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41063)


Clarinet Concerto for Solo Clarinet and Large Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra (2002) -- 28'
Chamber Ensemble version: Solo Cl.; 1-1-0-1; 2-1(B-fl.Crnt.)-0-0; Perc., Str. soli: 2Vln., Vla., Vcl., Cb. Orchestra version: Solo Cl.; 1-1-0-1; 2-1(B-fl.Crnt.)-0-0; Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Arlene and Milton D. Berkman Philanthropic Fund, in recognition of David Shifrin, Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Premiere Information: Chamber Ensemble version: October 20, 2002, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, David Shifrin, clarinet. Orchestra version: November 2, 2002, David Shifrin, clarinet, Buffalo Philharmonic, JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41183)
Solo Part (#446-41183P)


Commedia dell’Arte for Violin and String Orchestra (2012) -- 17'
Solo Violin; Str. Orch. (dbl.Perc.)
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned for Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra
Premiere Information: 10, 11, 12, 13 May, 2012. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Violin, New Century Chamber Orchestra; First Congregational Church, Berkeley (10th), Menlo-Atherton Center for the Performing Arts, Atherton (11th), Herbst Theatre, San Francisco (12th), Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael (13th)
Reviews


Concerto for Bass Trombone, Strings, Timpani and Cymbals (1989) -- 18'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Charles Vernon, bass trombone, Daniel Barenboim conducting, April 30, 1991
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#144-40214)


Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (1992) -- 17'
Published: #144-40237 (Solo Part and Piano Reduction)
Commission Information: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: May 13, 1993, Nancy Goeres, bassoon, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lorin Maazel, conductor
Additional Information: Percussion part


Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1989) -- 18'
0-2(E.H.)-2-2; 0-2(Cornets)-3-0; Timp., Perc., Hp,. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Boston Symphony Orchestra, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute, Seiji Ozawa conducting, April 26, 1990
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#144-40187)


Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra (1993) -- 15'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Bravo! Colorado Music Festival at Vail, Beaver Creek, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, David Jolley
Premiere Information: Rochester Philharmonic, David Jolley, horn, Lawrence Leighton Smith conducting, Vail, CO, August 1, 1993
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#144-40246)
Full Score - Large (#446-41119)


Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra (1990) -- 20'
Solo Ob.; 2(Picc.)-3(Ob.d'amore/E.H.)-2 -2(Cbsn.); 4-2(Cornet)-0-0; Timp., Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Cleveland Orchestra, the Musical Arts Association and friends of John Mack
Premiere Information: Cleveland Orchestra, John Mack, oboe, Christoph von Dohnányi conducting, January 17, 1991
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Solo Part with Piano Reduction (#144-40198)


Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1986) -- 24'
Solo Pno.; 3-3-3-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Carnegie Hall, the Detroit Symphony, and the American Symphony Orchestra League
Premiere Information: Detroit Symphony, Marc-André Hamelin, piano, Günther Herbig conducting, June 26, 1986
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#440-40015)
Full Score - Large (#446-41068)


Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (1988) -- 20'
Solo Tbn.; 3-3-3-3; 6-3-3-1; Perc., Pno., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jay Friedman, trombone, Sir Georg Solti conducting, February 2, 1989
Additional Information: Alternate version for Trombone and Two Pianos also available.
Recordings
Reviews


Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1997) -- 26'
Vln. Solo; 2(Picc.)-2(E.H.)-2(B.Cl.)-2(Cbsn.); 2-2-0-0; Timp., Hp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Carnegie Hall
Premiere Information: Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Pamela Frank, violin, Hugh Wolff conducting, Carnegie Hall, NY, March 26, 1998
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#144-40314)
Full Score - Large (#446-41133)


Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra (1991) -- 18'
2-2(E.H.)-2-2; 2-2-0-0; Timp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: The Louisville Orchestra
Premiere Information: The Louisville Orchestra, Jaime Laredo, violin, Sharon Robinson, violoncello, Lawrence Leighton Smith conducting, December 5, 1991
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41076)
Solo Part (#446-41076P)


Concerto Grosso (1985)
Available From Mobart Music Publications


Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration (2010) -- 12'30"
18 off-stage brass players; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) Sop.Sax. A.Sax. T.Sax. B.Sax. – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by the Florida State University College of Music for the opening of the renovated Ruby Diamond Hall
Premiere Information: 8th October, 2010, Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Alexander Jiménez. Ruby-Diamond Hall, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Reviews


Fantasy for Orchestra (1993) -- 17'
3(Picc.)-3-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3-1; Timp., Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Josephine Gumbiner
Premiere Information: Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta conducting, January 14, 1994
Reviews


Movements:
Fantasia
Temporale
Lento
Allegro vivo

Images for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1986) -- 18'
2Pno. Soli; 2 2 2 2 - 2 1 1 1; Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: National Museum of Women in the Arts
Premiere Information: Leanne Rees and Stephanie Stoyanoff, pianos, and the National Symphony Orchestra, Fabio Mechetti conducting, March 28, 1987
Additional Information: To view images, click here

Movements:
Opening (to Alice Bailly Self-Portrait, 1917)
La poupée abandonné (Suzanne Valadon)
Iris, Tulips, Jonquils and Crocuses (Alma Thomas)
Bacchus No. 3 (Elaine DeKooning)
Spiritualist (Helen Frankenthaler)

Recordings
Reviews


Jubilation (1996) -- 6' 30"
3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3-1; Timp., 4Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: University of Georgia
Premiere Information: University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Yoel Levi conducting, Athens, GA, April 14, 1996
Reviews


Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41098)


Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (2000) -- 20'
Solo Piano; 2(Picc.)-2(E.H.)-2(B.Cl.)-2(Cbsn.); 2-2-0-0; Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Jeffrey Biegel (with the Adele Marcus and Abraham J. and Phyllis Katz Foundations, South Florida Council of the Chopin Foundation of the United States), and Marvin and Isa Leibowitz (with the American Music Center and a Consortium of 27 Orchestras)
Premiere Information: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jeffrey Biegel, piano, Jesús López-Cobos conducting, September 22, 2000
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Solo Part (#140-40094)
Full Score - Large (#446-41153)


Openings for Orchestra (2001, rev. 2003) -- 4'
2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(BCl.) 2(CBsn.) - 4 2 3(BTbn.) 1; Timp., 2Perc., Strings
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by the Women's Philharmonic
Premiere Information: 14th, 15th September, 2002. Virginia Symphony, conducted by JoAnn Falletta
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41193)


Partita for Solo Violin and String Orchestra (2000) -- 18'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Louise Behrend, for the 35th Anniversary of the School for Strings
Premiere Information: June 16, 2001, School for Strings Alumni Orchestra, etc., Colin Jacobsen, violin, Anthony Aibel, conductor, Carnegie Hall, New York

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#144-40420)


Passages Orchestral version (1982)
Available From Margun Music (G. Schirmer)


Peanuts® Gallery for Piano and Orchestra (1996) -- 13'
Pno. Solo; 1-2-2-2; 2-0-0-0; Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Carnegie Hall Corporation, for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Premiere Information: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Albert Kim, piano, Carnegie Hall, New York, March 22, 1997

Movements:
Charlie Brown's Lament
Lucy Freaks Out
Lullaby for Linus
Peppermint Patty and Marcie Lead the Parade
Schroeder's Beethoven Fantasy
Snoopy Does the Samba

Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#440-40021)
Full Score - Large (#446-41122)
Piano Reduction of Lullaby for Linus (#140-40075)
Piano Reduction of Snoopy Does the Samba (#140-40076)


Prologue and Variations for String Orchestra (1983) -- 13'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Richard Cormier conducting, April 10, 1984
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41048)


Rituals for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra (2003) -- 27'
5 Perc. soli; 2 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) - 4 2 2 1; Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: IRIS Orchestra, Michael Stern, Music Director; NEXUS (Bill Cahn, Bob Becker, Robin Engleman, Russell Hartenberger and Garry Kvistead); Kathleen Holt and Stephen Lurie; the Pearl Corp. and Adams Musical Instruments
Premiere Information: NEXUS, IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor; Germantown, TN; March 6, 2004

Movements:
1. Invocation
2. Ambulation
3. Remembrances
4. Contests

Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41192)


Romance for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (1993) -- 7'
Solo Vln.; Fl., Ob., Bsn., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: McKim Fund in the Library of Congress
Premiere Information: National Symphony Orchestra members, Leonard Slatkin, conducting
Additional Information: Version for Violin and Piano also available.
Reviews


Shadows for Piano and Orchestra (2011) -- 20'
Piano solo; 1 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 1 - 2 0 0 0; 1Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by an international consortium
Premiere Information: October 28th, 29th, 2011. Jeffrey Biegel, piano, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto; Talbot Hall at Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA (28); Mahalia Jackson Theater, New Orleans, LA (29).
Reviews


Symbolon for Orchestra (1988) -- 16'
3-3-4-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York
Premiere Information: New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta conducting, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), USSR (Russia), June 1, 1988
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41055)


Symphony No. 1 Three Movements for Orchestra (1982)
Additional Information: Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Available From Margun Music (G. Schirmer)


Symphony No. 2 (Cello Symphony) (1985) -- 24'
3-3-3-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., Perc., Pno., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: San Francisco Symphony
Premiere Information: San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart conducting, November 13, 1985
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41051)


Symphony No. 3 (1992) -- 22'
3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3-1; Timp., Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, for its 150th anniversary
Premiere Information: New York Philharmonic, Jahja Ling conducting, February 25, 1993
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41081)


Symphony No. 4 "The Gardens" for Mixed Chorus, Children’s Chorus and Orchestra (1999) -- 28'
3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-2-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Str.; SATB Chorus, Children’s Chorus (w/ Handbells)
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Published: #446-41146 (study score)
Commission Information: Commissioned for Michigan State University in honor of Jack and Dottie Withrow to pay tribute to the University’s campus and gardens.
Premiere Information: Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, Choral Ensembles and Children's Choir, Leon Gregorian conducting, February 5, 2000
Recordings
Reviews

Symphony No. 5 (Concerto for Orchestra) (2008) -- 24'
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser a href='../Rental/index.cfm'>Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by The Juilliard School in honor of Bruce Kovner with the generous support of the Trust of Francis Goelet.
Premiere Information: October 27th, 2008. The Juilliard School Orchestra, conducted by James Conlon, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
Reviews


Symposium for Orchestra (1973) -- 12'
3-3-4-3 - 4-3-3-1; Timp. Perc. 2Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Juilliard Orchestra, Pierre Boulez conducting, January 31, 1975
Reviews


Tanzspiel Ballet in Four Scenes (1987) -- 28'
3-3-3-4; 4-2-2-1; Timp., 2Perc., Pno., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: New York City Ballet
Premiere Information: New York City Ballet and Peter Martins, choreographer, Robert Irving conducting, April 27, 1988
Reviews


Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra (1995) -- 24'
Pno., Vln., Vcl. Soli; 1-2-2-2; 2-2-0-0; Timp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Minnesota Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Duluth-Superior Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
Premiere Information: Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Minnesota Orchestra, Zdenek Macal conducting, February 7, 1996
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41102)


Upbeat! (1998) -- 4'
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by the Susan W. Rose Fund for Music and the Richard Herman Foundation.
Premiere Information: 5th September, 1999. National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Aibel, at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#446-41130)


Recordings


Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra


Naxos 8.559656:
Jeffrey Biegel, Piano, Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Alex Jimenez



Images for 2 Pianos and Orchestra


Naxos 8.559656:
Read Gainsford, Heidi Louise Williams, pianos, Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Alex Jimenez



Peanuts® Gallery for Piano and Orchestra


Naxos 8.559656:
Jeffrey Biegel, Piano, Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Alex Jimenez



Symphony No. 4 "The Gardens" for Mixed Chorus, Children's Chorus and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7487:
Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, Choral Ensembles and Children's Choir, Leon Gregorian, conductor



Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano


Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CRI 621:
Joseph Zwilich, violin; James Gemmel, piano.



Chamber Symphony


first edition music fecd-0004:
Albert-George Schram, conductor



Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CRI 621:
Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman conducting.



String Trio for Violin, Viola and Violoncello


Northeastern Records NR 218:
Cirillo, Murdock, Thomas.



Concerto for Trumpet and Five Players


New World Records CD 80372:
New York Philharmonic Ensemble, Philip Smith, trumpet, Zubin Mehta conducting.



Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello


Arabesque Records Z-6676:
Kalichstein – Laredo – Robinson Trio.



Thanksgiving Song for SATB and Piano


New World Records CD 80504: Divine Grandeur
The New York Concert Singers, Judith Clurman, conductor.



A Simple Magnificat for SATB and Organ


New World Records CD 80504: Divine Grandeur
The New York Concert Singers, Judith Clurman, conductor.



Einsame Nacht Song Cycle for Baritone and Piano


Leonarda Records LPI 120 (LP): Songs of American Composers
John Ostendorf, bass-baritone, Shirley Seguin, piano.



RITUALS


Naxos American Classics NAXOS AMERICN CLASSICS/8.559268: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
NEXUS Percussion Ensemble; IRIS Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Michael Stern



Celebration for Orchestra


New World Records CD 80336:
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, John Nelson conducting.



Concerto for Bass Trombone, Strings, Timpani and Cymbals


Koch International Classics CD 7487:
Michigan State University Orchestra, Charles Vernon, bass trombone, Leon Gregorian conducting.



Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra


New World Records CD 80503:
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Nancy Goeres, bassoon, Lorin Maazel conducting.



Concerto for Flute and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7142:
London Symphony Orchestra, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute, James Sedares, conductor.



Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7487:
Michigan State University Orchestra, David Jolley, horn, Leon Gregorian conducting.



Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7278:
The Louisville Orchestra, John Mack, oboe, James Sedares, conductor.



Concerto for Piano and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7537:
Joseph Kalichstein, piano, Michael Stern, conductor



Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra


Bis Records BIS-CD-628: American Trombone Concertos.
Christian Lindberg, trombone; Malmö Symphony Orchestra, James DePreist, conductor



Concerto for Violin and Orchestra


Naxos American Classics NAXOS AMERICN CLASSICS/8.559268: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
Pamela Frank, Violin; Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Stern



Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7537:
Jamie Laredo, violin, Sharon Robinson, cello; Florida State University Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor



first edition music fecd-0004:
Louisville Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor



Double Quartet for Strings


New World Records CD 80372:
New York Philharmonic Ensemble, composer conducting.



Prologue and Variations for String Orchestra


New World Records CD 80336:
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, John Nelson conducting.



Albany Records TROY 194: Metamorphosen: American Works for Chamber Orchestra
Metamorphosen, Scott Yoo, artistic director



Symbolon for Orchestra


New World Records CD 80372:
Zubin Mehta, conductor, New York Philharmonic



Symphony No. 2 (Cello Symphony)


first edition music LCD 002:
Louisville Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor.



Symphony No. 3


Koch International Classics CD 7278:
The Louisville Orchestra, James Sedares, conductor.



New York Philharmonic Special Editions NYP9914 (Vol. 2, Disc 5): An American Celebration, Vol. 2, Disc 5
New York Philharmonic, Jahja Ling, conductor.



Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra


Koch International Classics CD 7537:
Kalichstein - Laredo - Robinson Trio; Florida State University Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor.



Reviews

"There is a fluency and ease of expression to her music that encourages acceptance of the modern idiom in which she works.

…this music should find an even larger audience.

…she is such a gifted composer. The music wins out, no matter where you stand on modernism….And this recording is a delight to hear. Repeatedly without a doubt."

-Grego Applegate, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com (Review of Naxos CD featuring Millennium Fantasy, Images, and Peanuts® Gallery)

"Zwilich’s music is distinctive not only for its superb craftsmanship, but also for its wit, lyricism and sheer beauty, making it immediately appealing to listeners."

-Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com

"…her works have an immediate appeal and are intriguing, challenging and original."

-Rhian Samuel, Music & Letters

"…[her] work is broad-ranging and highly personal, from small chamber pieces to symphonies. It's contemporary, but not in the highly theoretical sense of so much academic music: It's rhythmic and often lyrical, with a generous emotional immediacy. And it speaks to the continuing plausibility - the necessity, really - of beauty, and of the human impulse to reach out."

-Bob Hicks, The Oregonian

"…a style that is contemporary without being off-puttingly modern…Zwilich strikes me as the finest American distaff composer since Ruth Crawford Seeger, and superior to a large number of her male colleagues in the last several decades."

-www.classicalcdreview.com

"Zwilich is too often cited as 'the first woman composer' to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in music. That is irrelevant – except, perhaps, in light of historical prejudices against female composers. She is one of the more significant living composers."

-Richard Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This is one highly enjoyable disc, enthusiastically recommended!"

-Victor Carr Jr., Classics Today

"[Ellen Zwilich has] for some time been regarded by fellow professionals as an important contemporary composer. Now audiences are catching on too."

-Michael Walsh, Time magazine

"She has created a handful of exquisitely honed works in a variety of mediums from string trio to symphony. She writes in an idiosyncratic style that, without ostentation or gimmickry, is always recognizably hers."

-Tim Page, New York Times

"It is refreshing to find a composer… whose music is both accessible to audiences and yet challenging to the technique and intellect of the professional musician. Such a composer is Ellen Taaffe Zwilich…"

-Suzanne Kimberly Barber, MLA Notes

"Despite the flood of compositions being written, a truly fresh voice is still rare. Ellen Zwilich is one such original."

-Elaine Guregian, Akron Beacon Journal

"[A] musical mind of originality, skill and versatility. The special rhythmic energy of her music combines with a concern for large-scale structure, pungent orchestral colors and a uniquely idiomatic flair for instrumental writing."

-Michael Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune


Voyage for String Quartet

"...explores more ways in which the various instruments of a string quartet can be combined.

…Zwilich’s music takes the listener on a sonic journey, with many ports of harmonic and textural call along the way."

-Geoffrey Simon, CVNC.org


"The piece highlighted an intense sweetness that was…a most appealing trait."

-Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer


"…hit the bull’s-eye…"

-Andrew L. Pincus, The Berkshire Eagle


Fantasy

"…crafted with skill and care…a very effective addition to an orchestral program.

It’s a piece I would like to hear again.

…more serious and more erudite [than many contemporary works] but never remote or insular."

-Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Arts Paper


Commedia dell’Arte

"…tense violence and humor…

…funny-yet intense mood.

…virtuosic solo part…"

-Be’eri Moalem, San Francisco Classical Voice


Jubilation

"Many American composers have written fanfare-dominated occasional pieces but few with the mastery of Zwilich. This score revels in the instrumental colors of every section of the orchestra. The strings offer a spacious, thrusting theme that contrasts with the bright glints of woodwinds and trumpet fanfares in concert with gleaming mallet percussion. Zwilich creates a varied and exciting sound world."

-Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review


Shadows for Piano and Orchestra

"…blues-drenched…packed with ear-catching effects.

…a composition that lofted Tin Pan Alley into deep space with tart harmonies, glassy tone clusters and keyboard-spanning runs."

-Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times-Picayune


Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet

"Zwilich’s Septet…made a strong impression. The language is post-romantic, thematic materials are memorable and dramatic (even cinematic), and her handling of the instruments is extremely colorful.

The musicians obviously love this music and they made their listeners love it, too."

-Mary Ellyn Hutton, MusicInCincinnati.com


"…bold and powerful…

…the resulting combination [of piano trio and string quartet] was endlessly fascinating.

The work treated the ensembles separately yet also as fully integrated and as individual virtuosos."

-Ken Keaton, Palm Beach Daily News


"…a modern masterpiece…

…some of the best new music I've heard in a long time… a brilliant kaleidoscope…"

-John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times


"Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's new Septet is a bear hug of a piece, wrapping a muscular piano trio around a strutting string quartet. As the bold phrases flow back and forth, the two ensembles dance in a powerful, exhilarating match of wills.

Piano septets are rare. Camille Saint-Saëns and Johann Hummel each wrote one, but for a different combination of instruments with piano, and they are rarely played. This one, for piano, three violins, two cellos and viola, strikes sparks from the opening bars.

…gorgeous and poignant harmonic writing."

-David Stabler, OregonLive.com


"…lyrical chromaticism laced with bracing dissonance…

Zwilich’s instrumental mastery and inventive melodic transformations have yielded a singular work that revels in its profusion of instrumental colors and is a rollercoaster of moody conversations, both joyous and intense.

Zwilich’s work made…a powerful impression…"

-Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review


"…Zwilich’s [Septet]..confirmed that a galaxy of expressive interactions can happen when these instrumental complements [piano trio and string quartet] become one big, impassioned debating team. As played with robust and nuanced charisma by the Kalichstein-Lared-Robinson Trio and Miami String Quartet, the score emerged as a finely wrought, organic and rich tapestry of ideas."

-Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer


"…a compelling and eclectic work that should easily pass into the standard repertoire of chamber music."

-Jeffrey Rossman, Classical Voice North Carolina


Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration

"'Fanfare' featured three horn sextets tucked away in the balconies that punctuated the symphony’s playing onstage with dramatic blasts of music."

-Mark Hinson, Tallahassee Democrat


Symphony No. 4 "The Gardens" for Mixed Chorus, Children's Chorus and Orchestra

"Symphony No. 4…is a stunning find. From the first note, one was struck by the bold, colorful and communicative writing…"

-Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com


"…a tonal work with striking percussion parts, delicate orchestration, and above all a remarkable melding of orchestra, chorus, children’s choir and handbells into a cohesive entity… One would think that the symphony would be flamboyant and flashy with an excess of 400 musicians on stage, but instead, the music is meditative, thoughtful, beautiful and moving."

-Ken Glickman, Lansing State Journal


Symphony No. 5 (Concerto for Orchestra)

"…a mix of neo-Classical craftsmanship, roiling energy and tonal accessibility

…the qualities that have long made her music personal and compelling were certainly present…

A brooding fanfare and crackling martial tattoos in "Prologue" echoed and subtly evolved throughout the work. "Celebration," which could stand alone as a rousing curtain-raiser, bubbled and bristled with youthful ebullience. "Memorial," inspired by Mr. Conlon's championing of composers silenced by politics and war, paid tribute with surprisingly languorous, bluesy figures, redolent of music by Copland and Bernstein. In "Epilogue" elements from the preceding movements resurfaced in a stormy finale."

-Steve Smith, The New York Times


"…thoroughly agreeable from first note to last, definitely music with a serious intent…

she handles [the structural technique] with uncommon skill, and not a seam shows.

…long-breathed unison string phrases that float over jabbing slightly ominous commentary from winds and brasses.

It’s impossible not to admire the piece’s concise workmanship and honest sentiment…"

-Peter G. Davis, Musical America


Openings for Orchestra

"Bold and assertive."

-John Rockwell, The New York Times


Rituals for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra

"…successful…The imagination and mental acuity expended in fashioning a coherent composition that employed all those instrument groups was astonishing.

The memorable aspects of Zwilich’s four movements were the unique sound worlds she created, melding the exotic voices of world percussion with the familiar tones of a European-style symphony orchestra, and the vision of five drummers doing what they do best, counting and playing."

-Clifton Noble, Jr., The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

"…successful…The work cleverly manages to effectively blend a diverse battery of percussion instruments with orchestra…both [The Violin Concerto and Rituals] demonstrate Zwilich's unmitigated mastery of the concerto medium…her music is supremely listenable, accessible, and perhaps not coincidentally, beautiful."

-Carol Minor, Sequenza21

"Zwillich emphasized the pitch capabilities of a family of instruments not usually treated as melodic and created a piece where every resulting pitch is carefully worked out. The result is one of the most melodious and harmonious of percussion concertos and one of Zwillich's most exciting compositions to date… Wherever you are, demand that your local orchestra programs this blockbuster piece!"

-Frank J. Oteri, New Music Box

"… the piece makes full use of the percussion quintet's exotic timbres and ritualistic associations… [Zwillich is] one of today's most versatile composers at the peak of her game."

-Brian Wise, The Juilliard Journal

"…a total delight, from the opening Invocations, with its stunning pageantry of bells, gongs, and cymbals, to the dancing Ambulation, to the electrifying Contests, where groups of percussionists engage in a thrilling musical combat…"

-Victor Carr Jr., Classics Today

"…absolutely worth a second listen… The percussive palette is extraordinary; Rituals creates a parade of exotic imagery inspired by the Japanese finger bells and temple bowls, gongs from Thailand, drums from Africa and much more."

-Christopher Blank, Commercial Appeal


Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano

"…[it] has a furious, driving energy."

-Catherine Nelson, The Strad

"…reflects a generous and natural melodic gift, sure craft and positive inspiration. There is a personality here with something distinctive to say. The music says it concisely and with real urgency or necessity."

-Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle


Chamber Symphony

"The instrumentation… insures rich and varied sonorities, but the solidity of her musical idea and her grasp of its expressive possibilities makes this piece impressive."

-Daniel Webster, Baltimore Sun

"…this thoroughly contemporary work shows that there are still rich possibilities in the traditional musical ideals of expressivity, direct communication and thorough craftsmanship."

-Ellen Pfeifer, Boston Herald American

"Simple musical elements expressionistically touched on grief, outrage, bewilderment."

-Edward Rothstein, The New York Times

"Zwilich’s widely admired Chamber Symphony was the stuff of profound, reflective feeling as well as a solid, musical intellect."

-Edwin Safford, Providence Journal

"…this very beautiful piece is marked by long arching melodies, by slightly old-fashioned roulades for piano, delicate combinations of instrumental colors, and a fascinating deployment of instruments (violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, and piano) now in the combined textures of an orchestra, now in the solo textures of a chamber ensemble."

-Musical America


String Trio for Violin, Viola and Violoncello

"Zwilich writes in full knowledge of what has happened in music's history, and has assimilated it as a means of expressing her own individual personality."

-Boston Globe

"…a splendid composition of its kind: somber, concentrated and eloquent. The Lydian Trio may have been the first group to play Ms. Zwilich’s lovely combination of angular melodies with simple harmonic magic. One may be confident they won’t be the last."

-The New York Times


Concerto for Trumpet and Five Players

"It is a work that is at once both colorful and substantial, and likewise should hold a secure place in the standard trumpet repertoire."

-James A. Altena, Fanfare/i>

"This is a big piece, in scope if not its modest instrumentation, enormously virtuosic and demanding on its participants. Zwilich… is a composer of substance and imagination who seems to grow with every new work."

-Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"It was refreshing to hear a modern trumpet concerto and, especially, one containing such distinctive and interesting ideas."

-Suzanne Levinson, Pittsburgh Market Square

"…clarity of form; jaunty, ostinato rhythms; atmospheric instrumental writing and a trumpet part that ought to challenge the greatest virtuoso… The result is a three-movement work whose writing is passionate, romantic and witty, and whose gestures derive from the whole history of music, including jazz… lots of fun"

-Ellen Pfeifer, The Boston Herald

"The clever scoring for bass clarinet, vibraphone, and contrabass provides a refreshing aural experience within a conservative twentieth-century context."

-Norbert Carnovale, MLA Notes

"The very sound of [it] quivered with imagination; and the piece’s formal outlines… were alive with feeling."

-Richard Buel, Boston Globe


Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello

"The players created an absolute thrill ride with the Zwilich trio…

A bit edgy, Zwilich’s piece holds tremendous expressive possibilities.

…sinewy, weeping lines…urgent pizzicato passages…"

-Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Zwilich's most striking gift – the ability to express lyrical enchantment without sounding at all glib or derivative or retrograde in the doing. It is music with a soundly argued quality, steeped in a craftsmanship one instinctively trusts."

-Richard Buell, Boston Globe

"[Zwilich's Trio] never flags in interest, never divorces itself from the contemporary-music language, yet never wallows in pure academic fussiness, and never shies away from statements of tonality or from snippets of recognizable melody. In short, it is an immensely satisfying, unabashedly modern look at the centuries-old piano trio… It's the sort of new music that one yearns to hear again."

-Marc Shulgold, Houston News

"The Trio makes a remarkably clear, succinct statement and displays a craftsmanship few living composers have been able to acquire."

-Terry McQuilkin, Los Angeles Times

"One of the finest composers of her generation."

-Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

"…the Piano Trio impressed as a work deserving wide exposure… one listened to the Piano Trio’s unfolding with a sense of eager expectation owing to music that is brilliant in conception, crystalline in organization, dramatic yet accessible in expression."

-John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"The piano trio of American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich breathed with expressive variety, rhythmic grace with ascending and descending sequences. It was a great pleasure to hear."

-Frankfurter Neue Presse

"…a work of mighty effects -- energetic and athletic, with lightning fast changes in registers and dynamic levels, portentous ostinatos and masses of dissonant, chromatic chords…It's a "listener-friendly" modernism."

-Richard Rand, Tuscaloosa News

"There is more than a passing trace of Beethoven's intensity and thematic cohesiveness in the 1987 Trio by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich… The end result is a gripping aural experience and a major addition to the treasury of chamber music."

-Tim Smith, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"Appeals to the mind as well as the heart… I found it a thoroughly pleasing and intriguing work."

-Robert C. Marsh, Chicago Sun-Times


String Quartet No. 2

"The Zwilich quartet held listeners spellbound (coughless and quiet) for 25 minutes. The first movement is curiously passionate and emotional; the second fascinates with suddenly shifting harmonies; the plaintive third goes straight to the heart and pierces it; the fourth has an ecstatic apotheosis before a coda that stays with you after music's end… [Zwilich] certainly knows how to weave a spell, tell and interesting story. You hang on her every note. The audience rose in ovation as she raced to the stage amid shouts of 'Brava! Brava!' What a stunning and triumphant evening for everybody."

-Faubion Bowers, American Record Guide

"…her String Quartet No. 2… has visceral impact. The style is post-Bartok, with scintillating surprises at every turn."

-USA Today

"Best new chamber piece"

-USA Today (1998)

"Zwilich has rarely met an audience she didn’t please or a musician who didn’t dig into her music with gumption and glee. Hardly any other composer in America gets such consistently first-rate premieres, and this was no exception."

-Justin Davidson, Newsday

"Zwilich's new quartet is a winner, quite likely to make it well into the 21st century and beyond. It is full of passion, eloquence, individuality, strong rhythmic drive, gentleness, and yes, melody in the traditional tonal sense."

-Ron Emery, Albany Times Union


Partita for Violin and String Orchestra

"… a wonderful five-movement suite… In dedicating this piece to pedagogue and violinist Louise Behrend, Zwilich seems to have been intent to compose something that is playable and open, like an updated Bach partita… What could better honor Behrend's career than such a work?"

-A.M.H., American String Teacher


Episodes for Violin and Piano

"…The work is impressive in its idiomatic writing for the violin."

-Jeremy Eichler, New York Times

"'Episodes' unfolds without pitfalls or pretension. The Arioso is a soulful, eight-note melody that tests both deep and shallow tonal waters, but stays surprisingly simple… the Vivace, a frenetic dance full of searing high notes, glissandos, double-stops and pizzicato embellishments."

-Kurt Loft, Tampa Tribune

"Perlman's giving the first performance was a coup because, for all his eminence, the violinist hasn't played a lot of premieres… It was a tremendously exciting performance of a satisfying piece… then [Perlman] did an excellent thing. He and [pianist] de Silva played Episodes…one more time. They gave it stronger dynamic force and brought out the drama of the first movement."

-John Fleming, The Times (St. Petersburg, Florida)

"Zwilich's Episodes is working its way into the standard chamber repertory - and deservedly so…Episodes creates a personal and compelling musical world"

-Keith Powers, Boston Herald

"Episodes, an accessible work played with heart, consists of an intense arioso and a fiery vivace."

-Wilma Salisbury, Cleveland Plain Dealer


Quartet for Oboe and Strings

"The handsome two-movement piece did something rare among contemporary works. It left one wanting more. It’s obvious why musicians are drawn to Zwilich’s scores- they are modern and abstract yet cogent and expressive. And from a performance perspective, the music is both challenging and flattering. The new quartet is full of ideas that exploit the interplay of instruments in their varied ranges."

-Joseph Dalton, Albany Times Union (NY)


Clarinet Concerto for Solo Clarinet and Large Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra

"[9/11] arrived just as [Zwilich] was about to start work on the second movement.

Astonishingly…the entire piece shows no sign of sudden gear-shifting. The instrumentally brilliant opening is brash, hectic, and streetwise, the perfect picture of a city going about its business until stopped in its tracks. After the scream-punctuated lament, the rest of the work struggles to pick up the pieces and restore a semblance of normality, ending on a note of cautious optimism. It’s all done with the most skillful application and development of its musical materials – a score truly inspired by a tragic event and one that is likely to transcend it."

Delos


"It's a superb piece of music, a model of bold spirit and careful craftsmanship; Zwilich has struck a fine balance between touching lyricism and muscular, jumpy energy…Zwilich writes masterfully for clarinet, with an unerring grasp of its idiom: The liquid flow of the solo part in and out of the orchestra was as natural as water, and every phrase seemed placed exactly where it ought to be in the instrument's wide and varied range."

-James McQuillen, Orgeon Live.com


Thanksgiving Song for SATB and Piano

"It shows her lyric melodic style combined with a sparse texture – much of the vocal writing is in octaves…"

-Richard J. Bloesch, Choral Journal


A Simple Magnificat for SATB and Organ

"The choral parts in her five-minute Magnificat, set primarily in octaves convey the effect of great strength and asurance, as this text demands. The independent organ accompaniment is supportive, adding texture and color."

-Richard J. Bloesch, Choral Journal


Fantasy for Harpsichord

"…a remarkable musical postcard…"

-John Pitcher, Blog: Pith in the Wind


Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass, and Piano

"Jazzy, bluesy, and full of American optimism...it is, of all things, an homage to Schubert’s Trout Quintet. ...what a feat of loving reimagination this was, finding the Gershwin in Schubert. This time [Zwilich] struck gold."

-Leslie Kandell, American Record Guide


"It’s not often that a new work of music gets such an immediate, warm buy-in, but a quintet that had its Florida premiere Tuesday night didn’t do a lot of things you might expect.

The Quintet for Contrabass, Cello, Violin, Viola and Piano by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, written in 2010 on commission from the Kravis Center and 10 other groups and individuals, is a muscular, bluesy work that takes the performing forces of Schubert’s Trout Quintet and gives them smoky-club music to play.

The quintet is a three-movement work of vigor and wit that has taken some of the technical elements of jazz and blues — the minor third, the blues scale — and treated them in a Beethovenian way."

-Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Daily News


"The musicians performed with knife-edged ensemble precision in this work that was written for them, giving it the extra jolt of energy that comes from a well-rehearsed, confident performance."

-David Fleshler, South Florida Classical Review


"But the showpiece of the evening was Zwilich’s “Quintet…”

She wrote it for the same instruments as Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet…but the piece turned out to be a different kettle of fish entirely. Where Schubert’s trout plays happily in calm and limpid waters…Zwilich’s is named “Die Launische Forelle” – “The Moody Trout” – and churns and thrashes its way darkly upstream."

-Stephen Brookes, Washington Post


"The new Quintet proved to be a crowd-pleaser that had the audience on its feet at the conclusion. But it also seems destined to find a home among the established chamber music repertoire…

Zwilich’s new Quintet is inventive, witty and well-constructed, and it gave ample opportunity for each musician to shine.

It was a fun piece, partly because the performers communicated how much fun they were having."

-Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com


"New companion pieces to long-established masterworks are arriving with increasing frequency, often with an inhibiting effect on the most strong-minded composer. But not Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

[The composer] was commissioned…to write for the instrumentation of Shubert’s Trout Quintet, and if anything, found an even more defined voice.

Zwilich’s fine Quintet came off as if the melodious Schubert piece didn’t exist.

The first (and most Zwilich-like) movement hailed from mid-20th century neo-classicism…her usual sense of lean economy fueled by a strong formal sensibility and little external prettiness."

-David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer


"Only Zwilich, who wrote her piece for the same instrumentation as Schubert’s Quintet, could somehow find the Gershwin in Schubert. In the second movement of her Quintet, which received its world premiere Sunday at SummerFest, Zwilich took a snippet of Schubert’s melody, augmented it until it was nearly unrecognizable, and transformed it into a all-out jazz-inflected romp.

No wonder the Quintet was a crowd pleaser, earning a standing ovation from the audience in Sherwood Auditorium…

…this appealing work has a real chance of having a life beyond its commissioned performances."

-James Chute, San Diego Union Tribute


Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet

"…melancholy…beautiful and touching."

-James Hennerty, Albany Times Union (NY)


CLARINET CONCERTO

"[The] movements played off each other very well… jerky, punchy opening… the Elegy opened with the stirngs softly intoning A-G-sharp-A in a manner somewhere between a prayer and an admonition… the third movement came roaring out as a carousing spree… a fourth movement that was contemplative and plaintive… The three-note motto returned in variants, and its use as the work's final statement was a structural master stroke that left a deep emotional impression."

-Herman Trotter, American Record Guide

"…a fascinating example of sophisticated and audience-friendly contemporary composition which owes to no particular school…one of the nation's finer living composers…This is a forceful work."

-Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News Press

"Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Clarinet Concerto would surely have turned out to be quite a different piece had not [September 11] arrived just as she was about to start work on the second movement… Astonishingly, … the entire piece shows no sign of sudden gear-shifting…. It's all done with the most skillful application and development of its musical materials - a score truly instpired by a tragic event and one that is likely to transcend it."

-Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine


RITUALS

""…shellshocking… unusual, brash… The collaboration between composer and soloists features sounds favored by the individual members of Nexus… Bill Cahn brought his Chinese cloud gongs and spring drum. Bob Becker played glockenspiel and castanets. Robin Engleman struck Balinese cymbals and tubular bells. Russell Hartenberger shook Japanese finger bells and Garry Kvistad played temple blocks. The instruments invited the world into [the concert hall], and in the five movements of Zwilich's "Rituals," they engaged in all manner of discourse… the rhythms leap out in interjections of tangos, African dances and marching band flourishes…""

-Christopher Blank, The Commercial Appeal

"…vigorously entertaining… Zwilich's language here is complex yet approachable, attractive for its transparent textuers and fundamentally tonal."

-Paul Horsley, Kansas City Star


American Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra

"This is not one of those commissioned works that have a haunting ‘take the money and run’ feeling about them. No, Zwilich knows the trumpet firsthand and has tremendous respect for both Severinsen’s virtuosity and his artistry. She has produced a work that challenges both soloist and orchestra, and rewards the listener."

-Herman Trotter, The Buffalo News


Celebration for Orchestra

"…an effective curtain raiser that transformed the [Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra] into a joyous chorus of bells.

…enthusiastically applauded."

-Stuart Low, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

"It’s a short, high energy work that constantly moves, changes and excites…"

-Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer

"…a euphonious 10-minute piece, a surefire audience-pleaser."

-Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News

"The Ellen Zwilich piece was like a sip of water from a mountain stream, clear and refreshing… It has a kind of minimalist feel about it, without that school's sometimes daunting austerity. The thematic material is passed around the orchestra in an orderly, easy-to-follow way, and the transformations are logical without being predictable. I would truly like to hear it again, and again…"

-Gerald Carpenter, The Independent

"The brightness and clarity of [the hall's] new acoustics were established early in Ms. Zwilich's Celebration, which begins with bells and tympani in a variety of timbres and then utilizes other instrumental voices and choirs in a festival mood. It does this with lively humor and musical feeling, without seeming like deliberate sound effects."

-Corbin Patrick, The Indianapolis Star

"Zwilich has created a stunning work that is destined to be heard far beyond its premiere performances in Indianapolis."

-Betty Dietz Krebs, Dayton Daily News

"The usually conservative audience greeted Zwilich's short, splendidly orchestrated work… with prolonged applause."

-Charles Staff, Musical America

"…a rhythmically energetic and melodically rewarding work that repeatedly returned to pulsing intervals…"

-Sunil Freeman, The Washington Post


Concerto for Bass Trombone, Strings, Timpani and Cymbals

"Trombonists everywhere must offer great fanfares to Ellen Taaffe Zwilich…"

-John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"Zwilich explored the instrument’s possible depths and heights with a sharp focus."

-Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times


Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra

"The new 17-minute concerto has an opening movement that might be called Brahmsian in its majesty and emphasis on the low, dark sonorities. Once the solo instrument enters, Zwilich exploits the broadness of its range and lyrical potential. Echoes of Shostakovich come to mind, but the musical personality that emerges is very much Zwilich’s own. It is in its livelier second movement that this concerto really comes to life, with a marvelous cadenza that shows just about every aspect of the instrument."

-Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Zwilich has proven she is unafraid to write in idioms a listener can absorb immediately. She doesn't just dust off old formulas. Nor does she find easy answers to her musical questions. In her new concerto, Zwilich avoids the temptation to give us the stereotypical view of the bassoon as jocular figure. There are few playful passages in the concerto, which stresses the solo instrument’s ability to unfold lyrical lines and encompass an expressive spectrum with great agility."

-Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer


Concerto for Flute and Orchestra

"Zwilich has written a dazzler… Zwilich’s orchestration cushions and shows off the solo part as the silk in a jewel box shows off its precious gem."

-Andrew L. Pincus, Berkshire Eagle

"The concerto will also certainly enjoy a life beyond this occasion; people who love to play the flute and to listen to it are going to want to return again and again to the slow movement of this piece, a long, sustained, achingly beautiful song. The other two movements are are also remarkable both in idea and in development; Zwilich courteously helps the listener enjoy the unfolding process of the music."

-Richard Dyer, Boston Globe


Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra

"Every turn reveals a new element in the landscape: a change or character in the strings, a new color effect in the horn."

-Sharon McDaniel, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra

"Zwilich has written a fluent, virtuosic and immediately compelling concerto that deserves to enter the repertory."

-Tim Page, New York Newsday

"…the one-movement concerto was suffused with the romantic feeling of a Mahler song symphony in modern-dress orchestration and harmony… Zwilich’s music communicated the freshness of contemporary musical poetry."

-Wilma Salisbury, Cleveland Plain Dealer


Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

"Her ideas were fresh and modern-sounding without throwing out the accumulated musical wisdom of the past… This music is worthy of the attention of anyone seeking a fresh experience in contemporary music. Mrs. Zwilich is an original composer whose career is well worth watching."

-Carl Apone, The Pittsburgh Press

"It is one of a music lover's most rewarding experiences to hear a new work that has a chance of surviving into the repertory of future generations… the new concerto is continuing proof that it is possible to compose aurally pleasing music without sacrificing a 20th century identity."

-Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"…the piece is pure Zwilich, and for those who really know her work, this is recommendation enough. This concerto is most likely the finest work of its kind since Samuel Barber’s, and it emphatically deserves a firm place in the current repertory."

-Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News

"Zwilich's Piano Concerto… is a substantial piece that should easily find a permanent place in worthy pianists' repertoires. It has all the earmarks of Zwilich's previous scores: logical organization, intensity of purpose, simple motives turned into complex but readily accessible overlays of sound and ultimate economy of musical statement. It is eloquently orchestrated and consistently thoughtful, with no apparent vapidity soiling its fetching musical ideas."

-John Guinn, Detroit Free Press

"The Zwilich piano concerto could well be a major addition to the repertory. To her credit, Miss Zwilich is carrying on the business of Bartók, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Bernstein & Co. Her wonderful, accessible new concerto poses no problems whatsoever to anyone familiar with the work of her illustrious predecessors."

-Robert Kimball, New York Post


Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra

"…a work that should find rapid assimilation into the repertory… it is exceptionally rewarding and enjoyable music."

-Robert C. Marsh, Chicago Sun-Times

"The work goes from driving brilliance, complete with cadenza, to dark brooding in a lento. It concludes with an unsettled — and unsettling — allegro moderato."

-Andrew Pincus, Berkshire Eagle


Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

"…a marvelous work that communicates immediately to the heart, yet at the same time stimulates the intellect."

-Victor Carr Jr., Classics Today

"Highly Romantic… a demonstration of the violin's lyrical qualities… brilliantly orchestrated."

-Brian Wise, The Juilliard Journal

"The Zwilich Concerto furnished both the soloist and orchestra with the daunting task of making the audience receptive to a completely unfamiliar work. But once the music started, the creative sounds proved mesmerizing. From the opening sustained tones of the clarinet and flute and the ethereal violins, this work cast a spell over the audience. [Stephanie] Chase's expressive opening solo tones, which rose over shimmering repeated violin tones, led the way to a first movement of strange but compelling beauty. … Despite the audience's unfamiliarity with this often hauntingly beautiful music, the orchestra and soloist were accorded a very enthusiastic ovation at the conclusion of the concerto."

-Laurence E. MacDonald

"Warmly expressive and communicative music."

-Hubert Culot, musicweb.uk

"A magnificent piece of warmly lyrical music that compares most favourably with the concertos by Walton or Prokofiev."

-Hubert Culot, musicweb.uk

"Zwilich has contributed a masterwork to the repertoire that explores the instrument's multiple personalities. The violin's inherent versatility shines in the soaring cantabile lines of the second movement and throughout the finale's virtuosic moto perpetuo"

-Carol Minor, Sequenza21

"…a gift to the violin, so richly does the composer exploit the solo instrument’s essential character."

-Dennis Rooney, The Strad

"…a wonderfully engaging work. Zwilich was herself a violinist and knows the instrument heart and soul; she also knows how to write music of great aural appeal that is solidly and astutely crafted… Woodwinds glisten, strings simmer, the sonic atmosphere generally shines… Zwilich's tour de force is the second movement, taking Bach's great solo violin Chaconne as its point of departure and transforming Bach's opening notes into a motif that grows almost menacing – a theme of fate – towards the end. The movement's emotional tension, building slowly, takes one by surprise and lingers in the mind long afterward."

-Shirley Fleming, New York Post

"It was always rare for a new composition to receive a first performance of the mesmerizing intensity that Pamela Frank lavished on Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Violin Concerto– and for the audience to express its delight at having been present at a major world premiere… Zwilich’s concerto is an intimate portrait of the violin shaped and shaded in sharp, neat lines… The violin line is long-limbed and graceful, the orchestral textures as luxuriant as silk…"

-Justin Davidson, Newsday

"With warmth and lyricism, a love song to the violin."

-Allan Kozinn, New York Times


Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra

"…the concerto in two movements covers a gamut of expressive moods, from dark-toned drama to "joyfulness" in the finale."

-www.classicalcdreview.com


Double Quartet for Strings

"If the Double Quartet is any indication of her talents, she deserves all the laurels that she has received… The triumph was that she succeeded in being conservative in stance without being derivative, intensely personal in expression without being flaccid in structure, intellectually uncompromising without alienating her audience. To discover all of these features in a single work is rare indeed."

-K. Robert Schwarz, Musical America

"This was a composer intent on communing with her audience and in full command of the technical means to do so… throughout her piece Ms. Zwilich displayed clear-eyed maturity and a rare sense of balance. She writes music that pleases the ear and yet has spine."

-Donal Henahan, The New York Times


Images for Two Pianos and Orchestra

"…flavorful dashes of dreamy lyricism and explosive violence."

-Mark Stubis, Global Newsbytes (review of Naxos 8.559656)

"…a fresh experience… a charged, tautly dramatic and beautifully crafted set of musical representations based on a series of paintings… Few composers so successfully combine consonance and dissonance."

-Tim Page, Washington Post

"…a sort of late 20th century Pictures at an Exhibition, there are moments, especially in her idiomatic writing for the keyboard, where she sounds almost like a latter-day, and more biting, Rachmaninoff."

-Lon Tuck, Washington Post


Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra

"Zwilich interleaves the folk theme in the dialog between piano and orchestra like a recurring memory intrudes at various points when, say, one is drifting off to sleep. It testifies to her fertile inventiveness and total mastery of the compositional mode that the folk melody fits right in with other modern sounding motifs."

-Grego Applegate, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com (review of Naxos 8.559656)

"…a magical performance that stays with the listener long after the recording is over."

-Mark Stubis, Global Newsbytes (review of Naxos 8.559656)

"The work… is typical of Zwilich: rich in harmonic imagination, detailed in orchestral coloration, alive with the sense that the composer has something to say and wants you to hear it."

-Kenneth LaFave, Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

"…the certified jewel of this concert… Zwilich's two-movement score is an odyssey of sound that explores urban, mystical, modern and romantic themes in an expansive sweep through expressive idioms… fresh and sharp, spooky and tender, bold and immense."

-Alicia Anstead, Bangor Daily News

"…a vibrant dialogue between piano and orchestra… a substantial addition to the repertoire that coukd endure to the next century."

-Cincinnati Enquirer

"Millennium Fantasy is a fine addition to the piano concertante canon. The accessible, tightly crafted work is characteristic of Zwilich in its graceful melding of solo virtuosity and colorful orchestral effects."

-Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Peanuts® Gallery for Piano and Orchestra

"…lighthearted but musically enriched…"

-Grego Applegate, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com (review of Naxos 8.559656)

"…a charming group of musical sketches inspired by the well-known Charles Schulz characters."

-Mark Stubis, Global Newsbytes (review of Naxos 8.559656)

"With the blessing of Charles Schultz, who is such a fan he has mentioned her twice in his comic strips, she has written Peanuts® Gallery, a lively, six-part character study for piano and orchestra. (Linus's signature music, for instance, is a gorgeous lullaby; Lucy gets a tantrum in the strings.) After last month's world premiere at Carnegie Hall, the 5-year olds cheered, and so did the adults. Peanuts® Gallery may be intended for children, but it’s rhythmically diverse and emotionally engaging."

-Katrine Ames, Newsweek

"Peanuts® Gallery is eminent entertainment… pulling kids of all ages along for a riotously rhythmic and compellingly original ride… In creating a sophisticated yet accessible work both kids and adults, Zwilich certainly deserves Peppermint Patty's famous kudo – "Good Going, Ellen.""

- Diane Peterson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat


Prologue and Variations for String Orchestra

"Like all of Miss Zwilich's compositions the Prologue and Variations is splendidly crafted and shot through with a distinctly original utterance… Anyone can string good ideas in a row; the mark of a gifted composer is the ability to fashion them into a kinetic energy. And Ms. Zwilich, who won the Pulitzer Prize for composition in 1983, has produced an eloquent creation…"

-Tim Page, The New York Times

"Miss Zwilich's exquisitely shaped piece was rich in contrast and wonderfully lyrical in the way it balanced and blended the string choirs."

-Robert Kimball, New York Post

"It is very accessible at first hearing, which is rather rare for contemporary music. It contains an eloquent simplicity that is attractive and pleasing, and a lyrical section that is simply gorgeous and comes as a surprise in the middle of the piece. The Prologue has a haunting quality to it, which returns with a vengeance at the end of the piece and won't go away… The work got a big hand, and rightly so."

-Marion M. White, Greenwich News

"Prologue and Variations is a taut and succinct work tackling many deep emotions that all come across with confident expressive authority."

-Bill Zakariasen, Daily News


Romance for Violin and Chamber Orchestra

"…[Zwilich] filled her Serenade with flowing, Romantic melody, displays of technique and, above all, expressive warmth. It is a splendid gift for her violin colleagues…"

-Joseph McLellan, Washington Post


Symbolon for Orchestra

"…a true creature of its century… This is a forceful, listenable piece, with rich, transparently orchestrated sonorities."

-Donal Henahan, The New York Times

"…the sound of the piece, which is gleaming and clear and delightfully full of open spaces. It's rare to hear a modern work and be able to detect a beginning, middle, and an end, as well as fast sections and slow sections, and other basic ingredients, and still find the piece engaging."

-Roxane Orgill, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

"Though Zwilich uses an elaborate orchestral lineup, the instrumentation is at all times transparent and never oppressive. On one hearing, Symbolon made a positive impression."

-Bill Zekariasen, New York Daily News

"The evening’s most interesting segment was Symbolon… It’s mostly vigorous (with lyrical episodes emphasizing soloistic coloration) and quite varied within its 16-minute duration. It left me wanting to hear it again…"

-Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The tension is immediate and visceral – a driving march that soon opens out to wide vistas created by a broad theme in the violins. The work as a whole – 15 minutes long – is full of bold and vivid strokes, rising repeatedly to big timpani climaxes and embracing a feeling of spaciousness in between."

-Shirley Fleming, New York Post


Symposium for Orchestra

"…a piece of interesting orchestral contrasts…"

-Speight Jenkins, New York Post

"Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Symposium for Orchestra is a strong, well-organized study in sonority, and it was good to hear it again…"

-Bill Zakariasen, Daily News


Symphony No. 2 (Cello Symphony)

"…a three-movement, fast-slow-fast essay that daringly transforms the cello section into a collective soloist, a throaty protagonist locked in combat with the rest of the orchestra… Hard-driving and explosive, the piece erupts from a single rhythmic idea that propels the music forward relentlessly. Even the melody slow movement cannot dilute the restless surge, which continues undaunted right to the final bar."

-Michael Walsh, Time

"Listeners who tense up when confronted with a world premiere discovered… that they could simply relax and enjoy it, for the symphony remains solidly tonal and more than sufficiently melodic for even the edgiest auditor to have a sort of handrail to hang on to."

-Paul Moor, Musical America


Symphony No. 3

"Zwilich displays an intuitive understanding of instruments and can convey intense emotional content. Symphony No. 3 resembles a building of glass and steel. The structure has clarity and sheen. It's clear, even transparent in the details but also strong and imposing."

-Joseph Dalton, Albany Times Union (NY)

"…another work that will surely travel well… the tine, textures, and instrumental gestures always sound fresh and personal."

-Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine

"Clearly, we're dealing with a success story… The new symphony rides well. It's the work of a pro. Like other recent Zwilich, too, it speaks – or clamors – of success in energy of its form and the boldness of its close."

-Paul Griffiths, New York Times

"[Zwilich] has written a striking, sumptuous and somber work that reaffirms her high standing among American composers… This is an immediately affecting work that may find wide popularity – succinct, mostly tonal, and 'romantic' in its directness of expression. One is aware, time and again, of Zwilich's great predecessors – Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich and, especially, the Alan Berg of the Lyric Suite and Lulu. Yet, if the syntax sometimes sounds familiar, the symphony itself does not. Zwilich uses existing musical language to say something that is distinctly hers."

-Tim Page, New York Newsday

"What Ms. Zwilich does she does with great skill and sincerity. The contrapuntal interplay is sure and effective…"

-Bernard Holland, New York Times

"The music makes the audience sit up and listen…the final moments [of the last movement] built and layered harmonies one on top of the other…each new chord more amazing than the last."

-Judith White, The Saratogian


Tanzspiel Ballet in Four Scenes

"…if Tanzspiel turns out to be the only new work of quality in this festival, the season would have been worth it."

-Bill Zekariasen, New York Daily News

"The new pieces have made a positive impression, especially the dramatic new Zwilich score."

-Robert Kimball, New York Post

"…a musical statement worth pondering and hearing again – a substantial four-movement symphonic work of dramatic power and brooding melodic eloquence that any of our symphony orchestras should be eager to play."

-Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine

"Set to a commissioned score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich that is hard-charging yet full of foreboding, Tanzspiel (literally 'dance play') would seem to be a ballet for our times."

-Janice Berman, New York Newsday


Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra

"…passionate, dramatic and substantial."

-Michael Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Hardly derivative post-modernism, it’s a natural reflection of an age in which old and new, pop and classical collide constantly."

-David Patrick Stearns, USA Today

"Indeed, Zwilich’s Triple Concerto is considerably more intriguing than Beethoven’s, particularly for the way it distributes material among the three instruments. In every significant respect, the music is a rich, often complex collaboration."

-Andrew Adler, The Courier-Journal

"…well-built, bright and elegant – a quality piece of work."

-Justin Davidson, Newsday

"…handsome and effective… There is considerable melodic appeal in the work as a whole, which maintains an assertive, up-front quality; if there is such a thing as an "American" musical spirit, Zwilich seems to embody it."

-Shirley Fleming, American Record Guide




Page last updated August 23, 2013