Photo credit: Natalia Banaszczyk

Photo credit: Natalia Banaszczyk


Laura Schwartz is a Ph.D. student in the Music Composition and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh, studying with Mathew Rosenblum. The music Laura writes explores indeterminacy as vulnerability, noise floors, electric fans, and egg shakers.

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). Where she studied with Laurie San Martin, Sam Nichols, and Ross Bauer. She attended Illinois State University (M.M. in composition 2015) and studied with Martha C. Horst and Roy D. Magnuson.

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. In 2017, she won The Margert Blackburn and Dead Elf awards for her string quartet Wreathes (2017). In 2018, her collaboration with animator Shayna Schwartz­, An Anatomical Study on Escape (2017) for ensemble and live-processed projection—— commissioned by Kamratōn ensemble for their She Scores 2018 concert series— will premiere. Currently, she is collaborating with Los Angeles Percussion Quartet on a new piece for their 2018 Composer Initiative.

Laura has worked with ensembles including: Arditti quartet, ensemble linea, New Morris code, Ekmeles, wild Up, and the Living Earth Show. Her collaborations with solo performers include Devon Tipp—bassoon, Sarah Pyle—flute(s) and Aaron Hydns—tuba.

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 areas include: verbally notated scores, technologies of self, listening, and Pauline Oliveros. Laura’s dissertation research is on self-formation in verbally notated music.