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Faculty Biography
Laura Schwendinger  
Laura Schwendinger
Professor of Composition, Composition Area Chair
Phone: (608) 263-1899


Laura Schwendinger, Professor of Composition at The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director, of the Contemporary Ensemble there, was the first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize. Her music has been performed by leading artists of our day including Dawn Upshaw (Voices of Our Time, a TDK/Naxos DVD), the Arditti and JACK quartets, Jennifer Koh, The International Contemporary Ensemble, Janine Jansen, Eighth Blackbird, New Juilliard Players, Collage New Music, StonyBrook Premiere Series, Contempo, Boston Musica Viva, Aspen Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Hungary. Her works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Times Center, Symphony Space, BargeMusic, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Theatre du Chatalet, The Trinity Choir (Carnegie Hall 2012), the Tanglewood, Aspen and Ojai Music Festivals. Her honors include those from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Radcliffe Institute, Copland House, Harvard Musical Association, Chamber Music America, the MacDowell, Yaddo, Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center, American Academy of Arts and Letters (Goddard Leiberson Fellowship given to “mid-career composer of exceptional gifts”), and first-prize of the 1995 ALEA III Competition. Notable premieres include a Miller Theater commission, an American Composers Orchestra commission SHADINGS (Carnegie Hall premiere), and her High Wire Act, which has been performed by dozens of groups across the country.

Upcoming performances include those by Matt Haimovitz’s Ucello ensemble, the Lincoln Trio (supported by a Chamber Music America Commissioning grant), String Quartet #2 with the JACK quartet, the Beckett Project with Cygnus (NY, Washing D.C. Fall 2012), and a new Sinfonietta for the New Juilliard Players. Her C’e la Luna Questa Sera?, recorded by the Lincoln Trio on Cedille’s Notable Women (a "hidden gems" in UK Guardian), received great critical praise. William Zagorski (Fanfare) wrote “it evokes a sense of serene mystery and infinite beauty.” John Van Rhein (Chicago Tribune) wrote of Eighth Blackbird’s performance of High Wire Act, “it evinced an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft.” Of her Song for Andrew, Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times wrote, “The piece is darkly attractive, artful and moving…” Of her Fable, Richard Buell (Boston Globe) wrote in his review “This was shrewd composing, the genuine article. Onto the 'season's best' list it goes.” Two CDs of her music on Centaur and Albany will be released this coming year.