Photo credit: Natalia Banaszczyk

Photo credit: Natalia Banaszczyk


Laura Schwartz is a composer, horn player, and music theorist. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she grew up in a much warmer place: Carlsbad, California. She attended the University of California, Davis (B.A. in music 2013) studying with Laurie San Martin, Sam Nichols, and Ross Bauer. Laura completed her Masters in Music Composition from Illinois State University (M.M. 2015) studying with Martha C. Horst and Roy D. Magnuson. Currently, she is a graduate student in the Music Composition and Theory PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh and is studying with Mathew Rosenblum.

Laura’s music was performed during the Oregon Bach Festival Composer’s Symposium (2014), the Oregon Symposium of Graduate Musicians (2015), Nief Norf festival (2015), and the Yarn/Wire Institute (2016). She was artist in residence with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physics and Astronomy (2016), culminating in System Cooling, an illustrated set of six miniatures for clarinet, baritone saxophone, violin, and double bass. Her piece, For My Mother (2017) was commissioned by Durward Chamber ensemble to raise money for breast cancer research. In 2017, she won The Margret Blackburn and Dead Elf awards for her string quartet Wreathes (2017).

She has worked with ensembles including: Arditti quartet, ensemble linea, New Morris code, Ekmeles, wild Up. Her collaborations with solo performers include Devon Tipp—Bassoon, Sarah Pyle—flute(s) and Aaron Hydns—tuba. The Tuba piece she wrote for Hydns, entitled Left Out, is set for release in Summer 2017 on the album Colossus: Recordings of New Music for Tuba. The music Laura writes uses electric fans, egg shakers, and combs.

Beyond composition, Laura is an active scholar in music theory and musicology. She has presented at various conferences including: American Musicological Society Allegheny Chapter in Cleveland, OH, “Techniques of Listening” Conference at the University of Minnesota, and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate Expo. Her primary research topics are on verbally notated scores, narrative theory, American music education from 1900-1920, and Pauline Oliveros. Laura’s dissertation research is on time systems and the exteriorization of internal performance systems in verbally notated music.