Jan Swafford, Leif Ove Andsnes
Jan Swafford is a composer and writer. His musical works range from orchestral and chamber to film and theater music, including four pieces for orchestra, Midsummer Variations for piano quintet, They That Mourn for piano trio, andThey Who Hunger for piano quartet. His music has been played around the U.S. and abroad by ensembles including the symphonies of Indianapolis, St. Louis, Harrisburg, Springfield, Jacksonville, Chattanooga, and the Dutch Radio.
His degrees are from Harvard and the Yale School of Music, teachers including Betsy Jolas and Jacob Druckman. Honors include a 1988‑9 Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard, in 1988 a National Endowment for the Arts composer fellowship, in 2018 an honorary Harvard Phi Beta Kappa, and in 2012 a Deems Taylor Award for online writing in music.
As a journalist and scholar, Swafford has written for Slate, The Guardian, Gramophone, and 19th Century Musicamong many others. He is a longtime program note writer and preconcert lecturer for the Boston Symphony, and has written program and liner notes for the symphonies of Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Detroit, and San Francisco, for Chamber Music at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and Deutsche Grammophon. He has appeared in television documentaries in Germany and for the BBC, and is a regular guest on podcasts. His books include the biographies Charles Ives: A Life with Music (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award); Johannes Brahms: A Biography; and Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph. All these books were Critics’ Choices in the New York Times; Charles Ives won the Pen/Winship award as nonfiction book of the year on a New England subject. His most recent books are Language of the Spirit, an introduction to music, and the biography Mozart: the Reign of Love. These books are widely translated in Europe and China. His website is janswafford.com.