Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
"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." - Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th Edition.
Widely considered to be one of America's leading composers, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was born in Miami, Florida in 1939. She studied at the Florida State University and The Juilliard School where her major teachers were Roger Sessions and Elliott Carter. She also studied violin with Richard Burgin and Ivan Galamian and was a member of the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski.
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) for her work Three Movements for Orchestra (Symphony No. I). She was elected to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters and, in 1995, was named to the first Composer's Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall. A recipient of four Grammy nominations, Ms. Zwilich was named Musical America’s Composer of the Year in 1999.
A prolific composer in virtually all musical media, Zwilich has produced four symphonies and other orchestral essays, numerous concertos for a wide variety of solo instruments, and a sizable canon of chamber and recital pieces. Her works are played regularly by the leading orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. Many of her works have been issued on recordings and she has been the subject of several radio and television feature programs.