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Jan Swafford

Jan Swafford (born 1946) is an American composer and author who teaches composition, theory, and musicology at the Boston Conservatory and writing at Tufts University. He earned his B.A. from Harvard College and his M.M.A. and D.M.A. from the Yale School of Music. He has written respected musical biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms, as well as the introductory Vintage Guide to Classical Music, and is often heard as a musical commentator on NPR and in Slate. Swafford's own music, which is highly lyrical and moves freely between tonality and atonality, has been called New Romantic in style. There are equal if less overt contributions from world music, especially Indian and Balinese, and from jazz and blues. The titles of his works reveal a steady inspiration from nature and landscape. The composer views his own work as a kind of classicism: a concern with clarity, directness, and expression, or as he puts it, "music that sounds familiar though it is new, works that sound like they wrote themselves." Notable are his orchestral works Landscape with Traveler (1979-80), After Spring Rain (1981-82) and From the Shadow of the Mountain (2001), the piano quintet Midsummer Variations (1985), the piano quartet They Who Hunger (1989), and the piano trio They That Mourn (2002), the last in memoriam 9/11. His music has won a number of awards including an NEA Composer Grant, two Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowships, and a Tanglewood Fellowship. Swafford is currently working on a piece for solo cello and a biography of Beethoven. Bibliography Swafford, Jan (1992). The Vintage Guide to Classical Music. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0679728054. Swafford, Jan (1998). Charles Ives: A Life with Music. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393317190. Swafford, Jan (1999). Johannes Brahms: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0679745822. (Email this author)

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