Composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Staying Spry at 75 with Three Premires: Solo Violin, Flute and Orchestra and New Swedish Radio Documentary

By Maria Jean Sullivan on Aug 07, 2014 04:20 PM EDT

Following her 75th birthday this past April, composer (and violinist) Ellen Taaffe Zwilich has a stacked 2014-2015 season, including three separate performances--two of which are world premieres--as well as a Swedish radio documentary about her.

Mark your calendars beginning in September as the ninth quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis will first hear 16 competitors perform Fantasy for Solo Violin. Not only was the piece commissioned by the competition, Zwilich is also on the jury.

If you cannot make it, be sure to catch the semi-final livestream at

“Any work for solo violin presents technical challenges, but it was my aim in writing Fantasy for Solo Violin to challenge the musical imagination and dramatic impulses of the violinist as well,” said Zwilich on the event. “For me, the best artist is not just a virtuoso but a creative spirit in communion with the music. I look forward to hearing individual interpretations.”

This fall will also hear her 1984 work Prologue and Variations preformed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at its Carnegie Hall season opener on October 23. Orpheus will play the Zwilich again while on tour at the Stanford Live concert series on November 2.

On September 21, Swedish Public Radio (Sveriges Radio) is set to air an hour-long documentary entitled P2 Dokumentär: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, en Banbrytande Tonsättare (or P2 Documentary: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, a Pioneering and Groundbreaking Composer). The doc will feature interviews with the composer and pianist Joseph Kalichstein with music from the recently released recording Passionate Diversions.

Lastly, on April 15 of next year, flutist Trudy Kane will perform the world premiere of consortium commission Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra with the Frost Symphony Orchestra--which Zwilich is still writing. Conducted by Thomas Sleeper, the premiere will take place at the University of Miami. It is the composer's second big piece for flute and orchestra--on the heels of 1989's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra--written for Doriot Anthony Dwyer and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Until then, check out this 2011 interview with Zwilich by New Music Box on writing compositions for others to perform.

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TagsPulitzer Prize, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra

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