Joseph Schwantner was born in 1943 in Chicago where he would stay for most of his early studies. Schwantner enrolled at Northwestern University and the Chicago Conservatory for his musical education and graduated with a doctorates degree in 1968. He went on to become the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's first composer-in-residence through the Meet the Composer/Orchestra Residencies Program. It was here with the Saint Louis Symphony that Schwantner received his initial success including two Grammy nominations for Best New Classical Composition. His other highlights include a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for Excellence in Chamber Composition.

He has served on the faculties at Eastman, Julliard, and Yale and currently claims membership to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Scwantner's primary influences Crumb, Messiaen, and Debussy can be seen in the framework of his compositions, but ultimately succeeds in molding a music of his own. His distinct style can be ascribed to his implementation of radiant yet unusual effects and complex harmonies meshed with at times catchy, compared to his predecessors, melodic lines.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 28, 2020
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 22, 2010
Moonshine Room at Club Café | February 7, 2006

News and Press

[Concert Review] Things that go BMOP in the night

If you attended a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra last fall, chances are pretty good that you heard one or more of Beethoven’s symphonies. The BSO, widely recognized as one of the world’s most elite orchestras, presented a complete set of these vaunted works throughout October and November and has several additional performances scattered throughout their concert season. My hometown orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, dedicated this, their 116th season, to the theme “Beethoven and Beyond.” Their concerts are centered around a complete series of the nine symphonies.

Brandeis Hoot Full review
[Concert Review] Classical Music Review: BMOP's Band in Boston

Time was when Boston had a City Censor, and books and plays drummed up trade by having them “Banned in Boston.” The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, headed by conductor Gil Rose, came up with the deliciously punning title “Band in Boston” for its Jordan Hall concert on January 22. Indeed there was not a bowed string instrument to be seen on stage all evening – nothing but 36 wind players, plus five percussionists, a harpist, and three pianists.

The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP: Band in Boston

The BMOP continued its season last Friday with their Band in Boston concert, celebrating 20th and 21st century music for wind ensemble with two repertoire mainstays by Stravinsky and Percy Grainger, as well as some newer compositions by Harold Meltzer, Wayne Peterson, and Joseph Schwantner. Robert Kirzinger’s excellent program notes make the case that band music has lost some of its historical prestige because the bands (military, university, etc.) have themselves lost their prestige, despite their ability, popularity, and cultural and social significance.

Boston lowbrow Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP does band

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is known for exploring a wide variety of 20th- and 21st-century instrumental music. On January 22nd at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, under the baton of music director Gil Rose, the group forayed into wind ensemble territory with a program of varying styles and with mixed effectiveness.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Mighty winds and brass!

If you saw sparks flying over Boston’s Back Bay last night, it might have been the result of the energy and excitement generated by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project during their performance in Jordan Hall. BMOP’s primary mission is to commission, perform and record new orchestral work. They also perform 20th-century “classics” with great gusto.

Miss Music Nerd Full review