Alumni (Fellow)

Peter Swendsen

Edgar Shannon Fellow
Other (Undergraduate) Oberlin College (1998)
M.F.A. Mills College (2002)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2006)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Peter V. Swendsen (www.swendsen.net) is Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His music has been called “highly skillful” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, “marvelous” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and “ethereal and arresting” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Swendsen received his Ph.D. in Music Composition and Computer Technologies from the University of Virginia, where he was in residence as a Jefferson Scholars Fellow and Instructor in the McIntire Department of Music from 2002-2006. He received his MFA from the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, and his BMus the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Swendsen spent the 2006-07 academic year in residence as a Fulbright Fellow at the NoTAM computer music studios in Oslo, Norway, where he worked on a large project based in soundscape composition and ecoacoustics. His subsequent compositions combine live instruments with electronics to shape an experience of place for the listener. Many are featured on his 2014 album, Allusions to Seasons and Weather. He has created over forty scores for dance, including recent collaborations with choreographers Amy Miller (NYC), David Shimotakahara (Cleveland), Mary Carbonara (San Francisco), and Ashley Thorndike (Washington, DC).

Swendsen’s music has been heard throughout the United States, much of Europe, and also in South America and Asia. His research on soundscape composition, interdisciplinary performance practice, and interactive technologies has been presented and published by SEAMUS, ICMC, NIME, EMS, and others in the US and Europe. His most recent writing examines the relationship between electroacoustic music and contemporary dance. Recent performances of his compositions include events in New York City, Boston, Montreal, San Francisco, London, Amsterdam, and Oslo, which have featured the playing of eighth blackbird, Jennifer Torrence, Thomas Rosenkranz, Terri Hron, Ryan Nestor, Dana Jessen, and many other wonderful musicians.

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