Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Concerto Grosso 1985

            Zwilich is one of today’s most popular and listenable composers.  She initially studied at Florida State University and then went on to Juilliard, where she worked with luminaries Roger Sessions and Elliot Carter.   She was the first to receive the DMA degree in composition there, and her early works quickly garnered critical acclaim.  Eight years after she was graduated, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in music.  While her earlier style was, shall we say, “difficult,” with its emphasis upon dense motivic textures, angular melodies, and atonal harmonies—all typical of “academic” composers of that time—she moved on to a much more accessible style.  Her mature style—while definitely contemporary in technique and expression—is nevertheless direct, appealing