Composer Spotlight: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

…if there is such a thing as an “American” musical spirit, Zwilich seems to embody it.
–American Record Guide
Few living composers can rest their head on such a bounty of laurels as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Yet her achievements, which are so often referenced, seem to wither in comparison to the true life and spirit that the composer’s music exudes.
Zwilich’s music avoids agenda – a quality made self-evident in the titles of her works – and seeks to invite a diverse array of performers and audiences into her creative world. But no matter who Zwilich invites into her music, it’s the clarity and craft behind her compositional language that continually drives people back to her work.
Celebrating her 77th birthday this month, Zwilich continues to write for some of the world’s most elite ensembles and soloists. We invite you to explore some of her catalog highlights below and consider celebrating her 80th birthday in 2019 by performing her great works.
Browse highlights from her catalog below. Browse her entire catalog on Ellen’s composer page.
  • DOUBLE QUARTET
    for Strings

    …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.

    –The New York Times

    FANTASY
    for Solo Violin or Viola

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

    –Music and Letters

    LAMENT
    for Cello and Piano

    …a simple, expressive and very beautiful piece…

    –TheBigCityblog.com

    SEPTET
    for Piano Trio and String Quartet

    …a modern masterpiece … some of the best new music I’ve heard in a long time … a brilliant kaleidoscope…

    –St. Petersburg Times

    TRIO
    for Violin, Cello and Piano

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

    –Los Angeles Times

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  • AVANTI!
    3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; 3(or 4)Perc. Str.

    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.

    –Minneapolis Star Tribune

    CELEBRATION
    4 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Str.

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

    –Philadelphia Inquirer

    PROLOGUE AND VARIATIONS
    for String Orchestra

    …a taut and succinct work tackling many deep emotions that all come across with confident expressive authority.

    –Daily News

    SYMBOLON
    3 3 4 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.

    …a forceful, listenable piece, with rich, transparently orchestrated sonorities.

    –The New York Times

    SYMPHONY NO. 3
    3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2-3Perc. Str.

    …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.

    –Albany Times Union

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  • CONCERTO FOR FLUTE AND ORCHESTRA
    Solo Fl.; 0 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 0 2(Cornet) 3 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.

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

    –Berkshire Eagle

    CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
    Solo Pno.; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.

    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.

    –The Pittsburgh Press

    CONCERTO FOR TRUMPET AND FIVE PLAYERS
    Solo Tpt.; Fl./Picc. Cl./B.Cl. Perc. Cb. Pno.

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

    –Fanfare

    CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA
    Solo Vln.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Hp. Str.

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

    –The Strad

    MILLENNIUM FANTASY
    Solo Pno.; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 0 0; 1Perc. Str.

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

    –Cincinnati Enquirer

    TRIPLE CONCERTO
    Pno. Vln. Vcl. soli; 1 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Str.

    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.

    –American Record Guide

    All content is for promotional purposes only.


  • Concert Elegia

    CONCERTO ELEGIA
    For Fute and String Orchestra

    Solo Part with Piano Reduction – $14.99

    Fantasy for Solo Viola

    FANTASY
    For Solo Viola

    Solo Part – $9.99

    Voyage

    VOYAGE
    For String Quartet

    Score and Part(s) – $35.00
    Study Score – $15.00

    Memorial

    MEMORIAL
    For The Victims Of The Sandy Hook Massacre

    For Childrens’ Chorus and S.A.T.B. Chorus, a cappella

    Octavo – $1.95

  • American Concerto
    for Trumpet and Orchestra
    Clarinet Concerto
    for Solo Clarinet and Large Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra
    Commedia dell’Arte
    for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
    Concerto Elegia
    for Solo Flute and String Orchestra
    Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
    Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra
    Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
    Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra
    Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
    Concerto for Violin,
    Violoncello and Orchestra
    Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration
    for Symphonic Band
    Fantasy for Orchestra
    LUVN BLM
    for Chamber Ensemble
    Millennium Fantasy
    for Piano and Orchestra
    One Nation: Reflections on the Pledge of Allegiance
    for Chorus, Antiphonal Brass, and Orchestra
    Openings
    for Orchestra
    Partita
    for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
    Peanuts Gallery
    for Piano and Orchestra
    Prologue and Variations
    for String Orchestra
    Rituals
    for Five Percussionists and Orchestra
    Romance
    for Violin and Chamber Orchestra
    Shadows
    for Piano and Orchestra
    Symphony No. 5
    (Concerto for Orchestra)
    Upbeat!
    for Orchestra

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