Tom Swafford
Tom Swafford


Tom  Swafford  


In Seattle, I studied violin with Karla Kantner and Bryan Boughten; piano with my father, Dwight Swafford; and jazz piano with Joni Metcalf. I played violin in the Seattle Youth Symphony under conductor Vilem Sokol and in the Roosevelt High School Chamber Orchestra, a self directed group, and piano in the award winning Roosevelt jazz band conducted by Scott Brown.

I received a BA in music and clinical psychology from Tufts University. I studied composition with John McDonald and violin with Magdalena Richter. I received a PhD. in composition from University of California, Berkeley where my principal teachers were Olly Wilson, Edwin Dugger and Richard Felciano. I also studied improvisation with Steve Coleman and analysis with Andrew Imbrie. After Berkeley, I studied composition with Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam.


I spent the last four years back home in Seattle, WA where I was an active member of Seattle's vibrant new music community. I received grants from the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture and the Jack Straw Foundation. I was the violinist for Playback Theatre Northwest, a theater group that uses a particular set of techniques, both abstract and representational, to re-enact audience stories. I was a member of experimental bands Cipher, The Golden Crackers, Doublends Vert, Irish punk band Meisce and a duo with pianist/composer Amy Rubin. I toured the northwest and west coast with all four groups. Doublends Vert released a self titled debut CD on Present Sounds Recordings and a second CD, Cistern (Line records, 2005) , recorded in an empty two gallon reservoir with a 43 second reverbation, in Port Townsend, WA. Meisce released a CD and an EP on Fistolo records. I reunited with Guster for two performances at the Moore Theater. I was a concert organizer at Gallery 1412, a long running experimental music venue. I was the orchestra contractor and concertmaster for the Degenerate Art Orchestra. This expanded version of the Degenerate Art Ensemble performed eight new compositions by Seattle composers, including my piece Odes to Complacency, to an audience of 1,100 people. In April of 2006 I joined the excellent pianist and composer, Amy Rubin, to form the Rubin/Swafford duo. Our repertoire consists primarily of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and several of our original compositions. We have recorded two CDs and performed throughout the Seattle area including Seattle's City Hall and the Sorrento Hotel.

I moved to New York in March, 2007. Since my arrival I have performed with and arranged strings for Guster at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan, and played violin with the Alan Ferber Nonet at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope and with Butoh dancer Vanessa Skantze at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg. I formed an 11 piece string ensemble called String Power which gave its debut performance at the Tea Lounge in September 2007.

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