Pulitzer Prize-winning and multi-Grammy-nominated composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was chosen as a Stamps Distinguished Visitor during the 2011-2012 season at the University of Miami Frost School of Music for her invaluable contributions to the world of music. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a member of both the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of the Arts and Letters. She also was named to the first Composer’s Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall.
Her music, which is widely performed and recorded by leading orchestras and chamber ensembles is known as distinct—music that is immediately recognized as her product and that reflects her optimistic and humanistic spirit. Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th edition) states: “There are not many composers in the modern world who possess the lucky combination of writing music of substance and at the same time exercising an immediate appeal to the mixed audiences. Zwilich offers this happy combination of purely technical excellence and a distinct power of communication.”
After receiving B.A. and M.A. degrees in music composition from Florida State University, Zwilich was invited to play violin in the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. Upon completing her doctorate at The Julliard School, she devoted herself to composing full-time. She is currently the Francis Eppes Professor at Florida State University’s School of Music. The rest of the story is beautiful music, which has been commissioned by such notables as the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.