Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

  • 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 J.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. In 2004, she served as composer-in-residence for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. 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; and Symphony No. 4 “The Gardens” (with chorus), commissioned by Michigan State University and the subject of a PBS documentary seen nationally; 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, Jesus 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 Jesus 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 will see the premiere of the new 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.”


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Drag Here to Add To List
    Solo / Duo
    144-40259 American Concerto
    For Trumpet and Orchestra
    144-40259 16:00 Trumpet with Piano
    144-40237 Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
    Solo Bassoon and Piano Reduction
    144-40237 17:00 Bassoon with Piano
    144-40187 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra 144-40187 19:00 Flute with Piano
    144-40246 Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra 144-40246 14:00 Horn with Piano
    144-40198 Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra 144-40198 20:00 Oboe with Piano
    440-40015 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 440-40015 24:00 2 Pianos 4 Hands
    144-40168 Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra 144-40168 20:00 Trombone with Piano
    144-40314 Concerto for Violin and Orchestra 144-40314 26:00 Violin with Piano
    144-40626 Concerto Elegia
    For Flute And String Orchestra
    144-40626 16:00 Flute with Piano
    144-40507 Episodes
    For Soprano Saxophone and Piano
    144-40507 11:00 Soprano Saxophone with Piano
    144-40473 Episodes
    For Violin and Piano
    144-40473 11:00 Violin with Piano
    144-40702 Excursion 144-40702 6:00 Contrabass, Piano
    144-40621 Fantasy
    For Solo Viola
    144-40621 6:00 Viola Unaccompanied
    144-40588 Fantasy
    For Solo Violin
    144-40588 6:00 Violin Unaccompanied
    144-40419 Lament
    For Cello and Piano
    144-40419 7:00 Cello with Piano
    140-40107 Lament
    For Piano
    140-40107 7:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    140-40075 Lullaby for Linus
    From “Peanuts® Gallery”
    140-40075 2:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40420 Partita
    For Violin and Piano
    144-40420 18:00 Violin with Piano
    440-40021 Peanuts® Gallery
    For Piano And Orchestra
    440-40021 13:00 2 Pianos 4 Hands
    140-40106 A Poem for Elliott 140-40106 3:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40234 Romance
    For Violin and Chamber Orchestra
    144-40234 7:00 Violin with Piano
    414-41202 Seven Muses
    A Contemporary Anthology for Flute and Piano
    414-41202 Flute with Piano
    140-40076 Snoopy Does The Samba
    From “Peanuts® Gallery”
    140-40076 2:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40087 Sonata In Three Movements
    For Violin and Piano
    144-40087 10:30 Violin with Piano
    Chamber Ensemble
    144-40089 Chamber Symphony
    For Six Players
    144-40089 17:00 Chamber Ensemble
    144-40139 Concerto for Trumpet and Five Players 144-40139 14:00 Mixed Ensemble
    16121 Double Quartet
    for Strings
    16121 21:00 String Ensemble
    16946 LUVN BLM 16946 15:00 Fl. Cl. Pno. Perc. Vln. Vcl.
    144-40489 Quartet
    For Oboe and Strings
    144-40489 14:00 Chamber Ensemble
    444-41031 Quintet
    For Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass, and Piano
    444-41031 22:00 Piano Quintet
    144-40513 Quintet
    For Alto Saxophone And String Quartet
    144-40513 21:00 Alto Saxophone, Strings
    444-41028 Septet
    For Piano Trio and String Quartet
    444-41028 25:00 Mixed Ensemble
    144-40329 String Quartet No.2 144-40329 25:00 String Quartet
    144-40111 String Trio 144-40111 13:00 String Trio
    144-40159 Trio
    For Violin, Cello and Piano
    144-40159 16:00 Piano Trio
    144-40572 Voyage
    For String Quartet
    144-40572 12:00 String Quartet
    Orchestra
    17483 Avanti!
    Fanfare for Jerry
    17483 2:30 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; 3(or 4)Perc. Str.
    16110 Celebration for Orchestra 16110 10:00 4 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Str.
    17498 Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration
    for Orchestra
    17498 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.
    16122 Fantasy for Orchestra 16122 17:00 3(Picc.) 3 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    16126 Jubilation 16126 6:30 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    10124 Openings 10124 4:00 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    16129 Prologue and Variations
    for String Orchestra
    16129 13:00 Str.
    16131 Symbolon 16131 16:00 3 3 4 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    16133 Symphony No. 2
    Cello Symphony
    16133 24:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    16134 Symphony No. 3 16134 22:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2-3Perc. Str.
    10043 Symphony No. 4 (“The Gardens”)
    for Mixed Chorus, Children’s Chorus and Orchestra
    10043 28:00 SATB Chorus, Children’s Chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    17144 Symphony No. 5
    (Concerto for Orchestra)
    17144 24:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Str.
    16132 Symposium
    for Orchestra
    16132 12:00 3 3 4 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. 2Hp. Str.
    10035 Upbeat! 10035 4:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    16136 Tanzspiel 16136 28:00 3 3 3 4 – 4 2 2 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    Orchestra w/ Soloist(s)
    16109 American Concerto
    for Trumpet and Orchestra
    16109 16:00 Solo Tpt.; 2(Picc.) 2 (E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    12421 Clarinet Concerto
    for Solo Clarinet and Large Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra
    12421 26:00 Solo Cl.; 1 1 0 1 – 2 1(Cornet) 0 0; 1Perc. Str.
    21660 Commedia dell’Arte
    for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
    21660 17:00 Solo Vln.; Str.orch.(dbl. Perc.)
    16112 Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra 16112 17:00 Solo Bsn.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 0 – 2 1 1 0; 1Perc. Str.Note: Percussion (1 player) part available for performance with Bsn./Pno. red.
    16111 Concerto for Bass Trombone 16111 18:00 Solo B.Tbn.; Timp. Cymbals, Str.
    16113 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra 16113 18:00 Solo Fl.; 0 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 0 2(Cornet) 3 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    16115 Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra 16115 14:00 Solo Hn., Str.
    16116 Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra 16116 20:00 Solo Ob.; 2(Picc.) 3(Ob.d’amore/E.H.) 2 2(Cbsn.) – 4 2(Cornet) 0 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    16117 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 16117 24:00 Solo Pno.; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    16118 Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra 16118 20:00 Solo Tbn.; 3 3 3 3 – 6 3 3 1; Perc. Pno. Str.
    16119 Concerto for Violin and Orchestra 16119 26:00 Solo Vln.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Hp. Str.
    16120 Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra 16120 18:00 Violin, Cello Soli; 2 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Str.
    23411 Concerto Elegia
    for Flute and String Orchestra
    23411 16:00 Solo Fl.; Str.
    16123 Images
    for Two Pianos and Orchestra
    16123 18:00 2Pno. soli; 2 2 2 2 – 2 1 1 1; Perc. Str.
    16127 Millennium Fantasy
    for Piano and Orchestra
    16127 20:00 Solo Pno.; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 0 0; 1Perc. Str.
    21695 Nigun
    Arrangement for Solo Violin and Strings(arr.)
    21695 5:00 Solo Vln.; Str.
    10089 Partita
    for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
    10089 18:00 Solo Vln.; Str.
    16128 Peanuts® Gallery
    for Piano and Orchestra
    16128 13:00 Pno. Solo; 1 2 2 2 – 2 0 0 0; Perc. Str.
    16790 Rituals
    for Five Percussionists and Orchestra
    16790 30:00 5 solo Percussionists; 2 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 2 2 1; Str.
    16130 Romance
    for Violin and Chamber Orchestra
    16130 7:00 Solo Vln.; Fl. Ob. Bsn. Str.
    17484 Shadows
    for Piano and Orchestra
    17484 20:00 Solo Pno.; 1 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 1 – 2 0 0 0; 1Perc. Str.
    16137 Triple Concerto
    for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra
    16137 24:00 Pno. Vln. Vcl. soli; 1 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Str.
    Vocal
    441-41017 Einsame Nacht
    A Song Cycle for Baritone and Piano
    441-41017 14:00 Voice and Piano
    141-40061 Emlékezet
    For Soprano and Piano
    141-40061 7:00 Voice and Piano
    141-40060 Im Nebel
    For Contralto and Piano
    141-40060 4:00 Voice and Piano
    342-40201 Memorial
    For The Victims Of The Sandy Hook Massacre
    342-40201 5:30 SATB
    342-40191 One Nation
    Reflections On The Pledge Of Allegiance
    342-40191 5:10 SATB
    10142 One Nation (Reflections on the Pledge of Allegiance)
    for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra
    10142 5:00 Version 1: SATB Chorus; 0 0 0 0 – 2 4 3 1; Timp. Str.
    Version 2 (available for purchase): 2Tpt. 2Tbn. Org.
    342-40172 A Simple Magnificat: “My Soul Magnifies The Lord”
    For S.A.T.B. Chorus and Organ
    342-40172 6:30 SATB
    342-40156 Thanksgiving Song
    S.A.T.B. and Piano
    342-40156 4:00 SATB
    141-40066 Trompeten
    For Soprano and Piano
    141-40066 3:00 Voice and Piano
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    145-40024 Ceremonies
    For Band
    145-40024 18:00 Concert Band
    145-40034 Fanfare; Reminiscence and Celebration
    For Symphonic Band
    145-40034 12:30 Symphonic Band
    Video
    448-00001 Peanuts® Gallery
    The making of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s suite for piano and orchestra
    448-00001 :27:00

  • [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

    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

    …her works have an immediate appeal and are intriguing, challenging and original.
    –Rhian Samuel, Music & Letters

    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.

    –Grego Applegate, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com

    A SIMPLE MAGNIFICAT
    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

    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

    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

    CLARINET CONCERTO
    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

    [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

    COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE
    …tense violence and humor … funny-yet intense mood … virtuosic solo part…
    –Be’eri Moalem, San Francisco Classical Voice

    CONCERTO FOR BASS TROMBONE
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    …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 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

    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

    CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN
    …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
    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

    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

    …an accessible work played with heart, consists of an intense arioso and a fiery vivace.
    –Wilma Salisbury, Cleveland Plain Dealer

    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

    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

    …a remarkable musical postcard…
    –John Pitcher, Blog: Pith in the Wind

    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

    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

    MILLENIUM 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

    OPENINGS FOR ORCHESTRA
    Bold and assertive.
    –John Rockwell, The New York Times

    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

    PAS DE TROIS
    for Piano Trio
    The fast opening measures set the tone for an energetic display piece, seasoned with a touch of the blues. Zwilich carries off the tricky combination of jazz and classical elements with great style. … At less than 15 minutes, the compact score is first-rate Zwilich, replete with inspired themes and crisp rhythmic figures. Few composers pull off this type of populist fusion so superbly and the trio gave a tight, crisp performance that matched the score’s brilliance.
    –Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review

    …a happy combination of purely technical excellence with the distinct power of immediate communication.
    –Rex Hearn, Palm Beach Arts Paper

    This highly accessible new music was very well received by Kravis audience.
    –Michael O’Connor, Palm Beach Daily News

    The work rollicked along with blues-inflected riffs in dancing unisons…
    –Charles T. Downey, The Washington Post

    …engaging and sophisticated.
    –Janelle Gelfand, janellesnotes.wordpress.com

    PEANUTS® GALLERY
    …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

    PROLOUGE AND VARIATIONS
    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.
    –Joseph McLellan, Daily News

    …an attractive 12-minute piece for strings…
    –James R. Oestreich, New York Times

    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)

    QUINTET FOR CLARINET AND STRING QUARTET
    …melancholy … beautiful and touching.
    –James Hennerty, Albany Times Union (NY)

    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

    …an extraordinary well integrated work, highlighted by the middle movement “The Moody Trout” which transforms a small quote from Schubert’s work into an evocative bluesy fantasy–and a vivacious finale that’s lots of fun.
    –Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition

    …rippling lines and sparkling colors.
    –Bruce Hodges, The Juilliard Journal

    RITUALS FOR 5 PERCUSSIONISTS AND ORCHESTRA
    …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

    …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.

    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

    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

    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

    …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

    [“Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet”] has an orchestral sound that is both exciting, and dreamily Romantic.
    –Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition

    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

    While the concerto is virtuosic…it’s not flashy; the display is an outgrowth of a positive energy that runs through the whole work. Very skillfully writen and orchestrated. …it’a an attractive work that goes over well.
    –Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Arts Paper

    SONATA IN 3 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

    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

    STRING TRIO
    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

    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

    SYMPHONY NO. 2
    …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

    SYMPHONY NO. 4 (“THE GARDENS”)
    “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
    …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

    SYMPOSIUM
    …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

    TANZSPIEL
    …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

    THANKSGIVING SONG
    It shows her lyric melodic style combined with a sparse texture – much of the vocal writing is in octaves…
    –Richard J. Bloesch, Choral Journal

    TRIO FOR PIANO, VIOLIN AND CELLO
    …emotional, densly packed … Zwilich balances seriousness and playfulness in the music. …a fine piece…
    –Lynn Rene Bayley, Fanfare Magazine

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

    Modern in its structure and musical idiom … a passionate and muscular work with a somber but emotionally intense middle movement and a rapidly potent finale.
    –Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition

    TRIPLE CONCERTO
    …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

    UPBEAT!
    …a cleverly crafted curtain raiser for large orchestra that fulfilled its purpose handily.
    –Ken Herman, San Diego Story

    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

  • From A to Z: 21st Century Concertos FROM A TO Z: 21ST CENTURY CONCERTOS
    CD Baby (); May 21, 2014
    Performer(s): Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin; New Century Chamber Orchestra
    Work(s): Commedia dell’Arte
    Passionate Diversions - A Celebration of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich PASSIONATE DIVERSIONS – A CELEBRATION OF ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH
    Azica Records (ACD71292); April 1, 2014
    Performer(s): Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio; Michael Tree, viola; Harold Robinson, bass; Miami String Quartet
    Work(s): Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass and Piano
    Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet
    Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello
    25 X 25: Twenty-Five Premieres for Twenty-Five Years 25 X 25: TWENTY-FIVE PREMIERES FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
    Soundbrush Records (SR 1027); October 8, 2013
    Performer(s): New York Virtuoso Singers, conducted by Harold Rosenbaum
    Work(s): Memorial
    Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Millennium Fantasy ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH: MILLENNIUM FANTASY
    Naxos (8.559656); September 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Read Gainsford, Heidi Louise Williams, Jeffrey Biegel pianos, Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Alex Jimenez
    Work(s): Images
    Millennium Fantasy
    Peanuts® Gallery
    Zwilich / Cory ZWILICH / CORY
    CRI/New World Records (CRI 621); February 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Joseph Zwilich, violin; James Gemmel, piano
    Work(s): Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano
    Ellen Taaffe Zwilich ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH
    Naxos (8.559268); September 1, 2005
    Performer(s): NEXUS Percussion Ensemble, IRIS Chamber Orchestra; Pamela Frank, violin, Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
    Rituals for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra
    Zwilich: Chamber Symphony / Double Concerto / Symphony No. 2 ZWILICH: CHAMBER SYMPHONY / DOUBLE CONCERTO / SYMPHONY NO. 2
    First Edition Music (FECD-0004); April 13, 2004
    Performer(s): Louisville Orchestra, Albert-George Schram, conductor
    Work(s): Chamber Symphony
    Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra, “Double Concerto”
    Symphony No. 2, “Cello”
    Zwilich: Piano Concerto; Double Concerto; Triple Concerto ZWILICH: PIANO CONCERTO; DOUBLE CONCERTO; TRIPLE CONCERTO
    Koch International Classics (CD 7537); August 13, 2002
    Performer(s): Kalichstein – Laredo – Robinson Trio; Florida State University Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
    Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra
    Triple Concerto
    Ellen Taaffe Zwilic: Symphony No. 4 ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILIC: SYMPHONY NO. 4 “THE GARDENS”
    Koch International Classics (CD 7487); November 28, 2000
    Performer(s): Michigan State University Orchestra, Choral Ensembles and Children’s Choir; Charles Vernon, bass trombone, David Jolley, horn, Leon Gregorian conducting.
    Work(s): Concerto for Bass Trombone
    Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra
    Symphony No. 4 “The Gardens”
    Divine Grandeur DIVINE GRANDEUR
    CRI/New World Records (CD 80504); January 1, 1997
    Performer(s): The New York Concert Singers, Judith Clurman, conductor
    Work(s): A Simple Magnificat
    Thanksgiving Song
    Balada/ Lees/ Zwilich BALADA/ LEES/ ZWILICH
    CRI/New World Records (CD 80503); October 15, 1996
    Performer(s): Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Nancy Goeres, bassoon, Lorin Maazel conducting.
    Work(s): Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
    Legacies LEGACIES
    Arabesque Records (Z6676); September 1, 1996
    Performer(s): Kalichstein – Laredo – Robinson
    Work(s): Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello
    Symphony 3 / Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra SYMPHONY 3 / CONCERTO FOR OBOE & ORCHESTRA
    Koch International Classics (CD 7278); May 23, 1995
    Performer(s): The Louisville Orchestra, John Mack, oboe, James Sedares, conductor.
    Work(s): Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
    Symphony No. 3
    American Trombone Concertos AMERICAN TROMBONE CONCERTOS
    BIS Records (BIS628); November 1, 1993
    Performer(s): Christian Lindberg, trombone; Malmö Symphony Orchestra, James DePreist, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra
    Zwilich, Piston: Concertos for Flute & Orchestra ZWILICH, PISTON: CONCERTOS FOR FLUTE & ORCHESTRA
    Koch International Classics (CD 7142); September 22, 1992
    Performer(s): London Symphony Orchestra, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute, James Sedares, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (New York Philharmonic) ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH (NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC)
    CRI/New World Records (CD 80372); January 1, 1989
    Performer(s): New York Philharmonic Ensemble, Philip Smith, trumpet, Zubin Mehta, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Trumpet and Five Players
    Double Quartet
    Symbolon
    Ellen Taafe Zwilich (Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra) ELLEN TAAFE ZWILICH (INDIANAPOLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)
    CRI/New World Records (CD 80336); January 1, 1986
    Performer(s): Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, John Nelson conducting
    Work(s): Celebration
    Prologue and Variations
    Songs of American Composers SONGS OF AMERICAN COMPOSERS
    Leonarda Records (LPI120); January 1, 1984
    Performer(s): John Ostendorf, bass-baritone, Shirley Seguin, piano.
    Work(s): Einsame Nacht
    Passages PASSAGES
    Northeastern Records (NR 218)
    Performer(s): Cirillo, Murdock, Thomas
    Work(s): String Trio for Violin, Viola and Violoncello

  • 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: 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, J.B. Viotti, in Vercelli, Italy awarded the “medaglio 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
    Medaglia d’Oro (for “Sonata in Three Movements for Violin and Piano”) from J.B. Viotti
    Richard Rogers Award Scholarship from Juilliard

  • 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 Bass Tronbone
    Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
    Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra
    Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
    Concerto for Piano 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

Facebook
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
YouTube
Google+
https://www.presser.com/composer/zwilich-ellen-taaffe/