About me

I am an active composer and organizer of music events. I share a monthly Music as Meditation concert with listeners and fellow musicians and I organize several concerts of new music each year. I use this blog to tell people about my musical endeavors.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 The Composers' Consortium's
Baltimore Endeavor

Later this month I will have the delight of immersing myself in music in a city I used to call home. Last fall I received an advertisement from one of my teacher organizations about a conference--in Baltimore, where I lived for 12 years. Since I had recently published some of my music in booklet format and I wanted to get the word out about the Composers' Consortium Press, I decided to attend. 

Between conference sessions, I plan to hand out sheet music published by the Composers' Consortium Press. The line I've rehearsed for music teachers interested in the music is "The first one is free, please pay what you want to for the second one." I hope to meet some musicians who will take my music home, play it themselves or teach it to their students, and bring into reality the music I made the effort to write down. 

But I am not quite "zen" enough to be content with the incorporeal hope in my music being played somewhere, sometime, in a place unknown to me, and without the possibility of my being able to hear it--so I also decided to plan a concert. Here's the postcard I designed, with the help of my resident calligrapher, to advertise it. You can get tickets here: 


I contacted a friend of mine: Samira Phillips. We taught science together many years ago at a private school in Baltimore.  At our school people often confused the two of us--we were both young women who taught science, we both played both violin and piano, we both had long-ish dark hair (not anymore!) and dressed in a similar manner. Now we are going to play music together. Samira happily agreed to help me share my Sonatina in F for piano and violin. She's also going to play my Method-Book Miniatures, a set of tiny pieces harking back to John Thompson's Book "Teaching Little Fingers to Play." Here's a picture with the cover illustration drawn by my wonderfully supportive spouse--William Marvel. 

Samira also had ideas about other musicians with whom to collaborate. She introduced me via e-mail to Harriet Katz, a composer who is active in the Baltimore Composers' Forum. Harriet has written a lot of wonderfully expressive music, including an opera about Naomi and Ruth. You can read about her composition and hear some of her music here: Harriet Katz Music

Harriet is contributing two pieces to the concert. One is called Skein of Silk. It's for violin and piano and it weaves together beautiful motifs with some spicy chord clusters. Although the silk in the title lives up to its reputation for smoothness, there are certainly some sparkles in this weaving. Harriet's piece gave me the idea for the title of the concert--as her writing is quite a bit like mine. The themes in my piece Labyrinth and Nine-Fold Canon are similar in emotional content, and our ways of writing compliment each other. I found it fascinating that two people completely unaware of each other could write such similar music simply by swimming in a similar cultural sea. 

My friend and colleague George Wiese is making the trek down to Baltimore for the concert. He is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and is now making the world safe for participatory music in rural Conway, New Hampshire, my hometown for these past fifteen years. George will play piano in  Labyrinth with me and his childhood friend and clarinetist Jim Livengood. I'll be playing viola on that piece. He'll also play Cycles for Trombone and Piano, which I wrote last year. You can preview this piece here via YouTube. The third movement is a meditation undertaken at the piano on the night of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November of 2015. I find this kind of music bubbling up in me when I need a calm place for contemplating my next action in this unsettled world.

Harriet, on hearing about George's participation, promptly wrote a piece called Companions for Trombone and Cello. She also introduced us to Brian Smith, another mid-Atlantic-based composer whose contribution to the concert is a Jazz piece for piano, cello, and percussion. How is that for a weaving of music, people, connections, and ideas? Please contact me for more information: ellen.m.schwindt@gmail.com or look in on my Facebook page: Ellen Schwindt.