Margaret Swinchoski, flutist, began her musical studies at the age of nine in Vermont. She graduated with degrees and high honors both in Performing Arts and Music Education from Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont. She received her Master of Arts degree from Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Ms. Swinchoski is now on the faculty of The Ridgewood Conservatory. She was a featured soloist at the National Flute Association Convention in the World Premiere of Leo Kraft’s “From The Hudson Valley” and also premiered Richard Lane’s Flute Concerto with the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with many other orchestras. Ms. Swinchoski was presented in her debut recital by Artists International at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. She has served as principal flutist with the Westchester and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestras, and travels to Ohio each summer to play principal flute with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra. Her solo debut CD “From The Hudson Valley” was released by Albany Records in 2000 and garnered rave reviews from “Fanfare” magazine and “American Record Guide”. Ms. Swinchoski can also be heard on the Newport Classics, CRI and High Point labels. She formed the Legacy Duo with harpist Emily Mitchell in 2006 with which she concertized through the tri-state area and with whom she was heard on radio and televions stations in the New York area. As a founding member of the Palisades Virtuosi, she has commissioned and premiered nearly 80 works for flute, clarinet & piano from such well-known composers as Paul Moravec, Melinda Wagner, Eric Ewazen, Carlos Franzetti, Robert Manno, Dan Cooper, Frank Ezra Levy & Allen Shawn among others. PV has concertized through the tri-state area and in Hawaii and Canada. Volumes 1 thru 6 of PV's New American Masters series have been released by Albany Records and to date have received several fantastic reviews including being named to the Fanfare Magazine "Most Wanted" lists! Ms. Swinchoski has been honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Johnson State College.
Read the New York Flute Club interview.
“Technical acumen, timbres and musicianship rarely heard from concert flutists” - The Salt Lake Tribune
“Swinchoski provides as much nuance and sound variety as a flutist can produce” - Classical NJ Society Journal
“Swinchoski’s bright tone, agile technique and obvious commitment serves the music admirably” - Manchester Journal
Musicians and Colleagues:
"Bravo on your recording! It's great to hear a new player play so great!" ---Julius Baker (former Principal Flutist, New York Philharmonic)
"Your CD is absolutely wonderful. Fresh, new reprtoire, beautifully performed! I so appreciate having knowledge of these pieces. Please congratulate your orchestra collaborators, and your pianist, Ron Levy. I so enjoyed your tone - it's very lovely. Best Wishes and many thanks, Jeanne Baxtresser" (Former Principal Flute, NY Philharmonic)
"What a delightful CD! The choice of music is wonderful, the playing is virtuosic, everyone is to be congratulated! What a great first recording!" --Trudy Kane - (former Principal flute - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
"Thanks very much for forwarding "From the Hudson Valley", and great work! Your album is a wonderfully chosen selection of music that obviously means a great deal to you. I admire the effort that went into this very personal artistic statement and I wish you the best!" --Michael Parloff - (former Principal Flute - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
"Fabulous choice of music. Excellent ensemble. Lovely flute playing. Bravo!" --Harvey Estrin - NYC Studio Flutist (& Doubler)
Margaret Swinchoski's playing could only be described as luminous. Each selection on the "From the Hudson Valley" presents a wonderful, glowing, and exciting selection of performances---but it is her tone, clear and powerful, that captivates the listener all the way. One of the best new flute CDs that I have heard in a long time. Performances are exciting and full of a immediacy of performance. Leo Kraft's flute and orchestra work is immensely complex and satisfying. Ensemble and recording quality are first rate. The piece that I enjoyed the most was Godfrey Schroth's "Spring in Buck's County" for flute and piano. This is a substantial and new work for the repertoire, beautifully written for each instrument. A very demanding and exciting piece to listen to, but immediately approachable. Of special note is the 2nd movement, "River Willows", in which Margaret creates wonderful palettes of color (such a rare talent among modern flutists!) Ron Levy is superb at the piano. This piece deserves a place on every flutist repertoire list next to Liebermann and Beaser. -- Trygve Peterson, former Flute Department Chairman, Arizona State University
"Thank you very much for giving me a copy of your wonderful new CD, "From the Hudson Valley". I am really enjoying listening to it over and over, and I am thrilled that you chose to include Leo Kraft's piece on it. This is a fascinating CD, and I commend you on your fine achievement. I also greatly enjoyed your elegant performance of "From the Hudson Valley" at SUNY Purchase with the Westchester Symphony. Congratulations on a great triumph!" --John Solum - flutist, former director - Connecticut Early Music Festival
"From The Hudson Valley"
Albany Records & www.amazon.com
FROM THE HUDSON VALLEY - Margaret Swinchoski (fl); Ron Levy (pno); Scott Brubaker (hn); JoAnn Falletta, cond; Hudson Strings - ALBANY TROY 371 (66:49)
EWAZEN Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance.
FOOTE A Night Piece.
KRAFT From the Hudson Valley.
SCHROTH Spring in Bucks County
This is one of those "little" recordings that will not get much press or have many sales but will be treasured by the few people lucky enough to happen on it. Margaret Swinchoski's captivating program consists of four varied works for flute, each with different accompaniment. The music is all examples of American Impressionism. That the earliest music was written some 80 years before the latest is really only apparent from reading the notes and the dates of the composers involved. All the music is firmly tonal and not much advanced from the harmonic discoveries of Debussy. Two works are for flute and strings, with the one by Leo Kraft that gives the whole program its title adding a harp to the strings. Kraft's piece takes the listener through a variety of moods, and I was reminded again and again of the accompaniments to those peculiarly highbrow cartoons that occasionally showed up in my distant youth. If there were such a thing as a neoclassical tone poem it would be this. The other work with strings, Arthur Foote's A Night Piece, dates from 1918 in its original version. It is heard here in a revision for string orchestra done in celebration of the composer's 80th birthday in 1933. A serene interlude of eight or so minutes, it somewhat recalls Delius among others. Godfrey Schroth's Spring in Bucks County is much more ambitious. Scored for flutes and piano, it lasts nearly half an hour. Nominally divided into three movements, it has just enough apparent formal coherence to keep from rambling. As in the Kraft, the spirit of the dance permeates this music through its kaleidoscope of moods and tempos. The wind player handles piccolo, flute, and alto flute over the course of the piece. Curiously, he makes almost no use of register extremes to play up the shifting of flutes. The other big work, the 20-minute Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance of Eric Ewazen for flute, horn, and piano, is by far the most aggressive (as understood within the overall tone of the program), with a certain rhythmic drive not really present elsewhere. It too is a lovely piece resplendently scored, and performed.Performances, all heard necessarily sans score, seem fine, and the recorded sound is very good. Recommended. --JOHN STORY
American Record Guide
From the Hudson Valley Kraft, Ewazen, Schroth, Foote Margaret Swinchoski, fl; Ron Levy p; Hudson Strings/ JoAnn Falletta Albany 371 -67 minutes -- Taking its name from the Leo Kraft piece for, flute, strings, and harp, From the Hudson Valley, is collection of interesting tuneful pieces, for flute. Swinchoski is well suited to the repertoire and to her accompanist, Ron Levy. Swinchoski and Levy give an evocative performance of' Godfrey Schroth's Spring in Bucks County, moving from bantering musical dialog to lovely tandem phrasing. Swinchoski and Levy are joined by Scott Brubaker on French horn for a tight, commanding performance of Eric Ewazen's fascinating, demanding Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance. …Swinchoski and harpist Susan Jolles give a compelling reading of the title track. --SCHMIDT
Classical New Jersey Society Journal
The attraction of this CD to New Jerseyans is in the evocative work by composer Godfrey Schroth of Hackensack (a Society member) and the first rate playing of state residents hornist Scott Brubaker and pianist Ron Levy. But let us not ignore the CD's star, flutist Margaret Swinchoski [also a state resident] who provides as much nuance and sound variety as a flutist can produce. All the works are quite effective. The two with orchestra, Leo Kraft's From the Hudson Valley and Arthur Foote's flute standard A Night Piece are accompanied by the Hudson Strings led by none other than Joanne Falletta. Compositionally the most New Jersey is Spring in Bucks County by Mr. Schroth. Written in 1974, its movement titles are "Equinoctial Dances", "River Willows", and "'The Fields of May". So far as we can tell, the piece could just as well have been named Spring in Hunterdon County where such titles would be just as apt. The music is filled with nature evocations including opening bird twitters which introduce, and subsequently intertwine with, the energetic March or September dance. Schroth's modernist impressionism paints a rapturous wind and "River Willows" nocturne with alto flute colorations. Here Swinchoski's secure breath support gives the lowest register substance beyond breathiness. The "Fields of May" often flies like a kite, looping and drifting on a mix of piccolo and regular flute. The quiet conclusion is a warm touch suggesting that more of the year is to come, but we'll stop for now. The substantial piano accompaniment, filled with as much color and textural variety as Swinchoski's playing, is exquisitely handled by Ron levy. Levy and Swinchoski are joined by New Jerseyan Scott Brubaker, hornist with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, in Eric Ewazen's Ballade, Pastorale and Dance. The two instruments work well together, with the flute providing the pointed sound and the horn the breadth. Even in the active sections for horn, played with virtuosity and great musicality, the inherent nobility places it as Zeus to the flute's Mercury. The octave section in the opening "Ballade" was in perfect tune. The ecstatic "Pastorale" contains some of Ewazen's most glorious melody and this from a confirmed melodist. The final "Dance" seems at first to have its roots in Celtic music. Then it spreads its wings into sheer excitement. Throughout the work the technical demands on both flute and horn are met with bravura playing. Levy handles the piano part with sensitivity, recognizing that he is far more the accompanist here than in the Schroth work. Arthur Foote's A Night Piece from 1918 receives an impassioned performance, and Kraft's work which gives the CD its title is evocative and at times affectingly quirky. -- PAUL SOMERS
The Salt Lake Tribune
"From the Hudson Valley". Margaret Swinchoski, flute, and Ron Levy, piano. Albany Records Troy 371. This New York-based flutist's debut album is most impressive - not only from the standpoint of the playing but on Swinchoski's choice of repertoire. Rather than playing the safe road of standard literature, for a first CD, Swinchoski wisely incorporated the compositional talents of Leo Kraft, Godfrey Schroth, Arthur Foote and Eric Ewazen. Two of the compositions include a string orchestra, sensitively conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Immediately, one is struck by Swinchoski's technical acumen. Then the listener settles in and absorbs timbres and musicianship rarely heard from concert flutists. A distinct personality comes through Swinchoski's recording. This artist already has a substantive career under her belt. With this release, it is clear that her career will continue to snowball. (Composer, pianist and conductor JEFF MANOOKIAN reviews classical music for The Salt Lake Tribune.)
The Daily Reflector (North Carolina)
Flutist makes great impression during 'Hudson Valley' journey - by SEFTON WIGGS
"When a compact disc sticks around in the new release drawer at Public Radio East for a while and I can't quite decide whether to give it air play or just let it go into a pile with many other unplayed CDs, it's usually because the music is not appealing or the performances are of low quality. However, the disc called "From the Hudson Valley" (Albany Records TROY 371), featuring flutist Margaret Swinchoski, escaped my notice because it arrived at a very busy time in February. Fortunately, I finally got around to giving it a good listen, and at least one of the four pieces - Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance by Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) - is so good it's already been on the air a couple of times. The other pieces have also taken a hold on my ears, and the whole thing needs a good airing. Swinchoski proves to be a fine flutist with a tone that is pleasing, and only a few times does she reach the shrill spots that often keep flute music from the top of favorite lists. Ewazen's work from 1993 is as pleasant a piece of modern chamber music as I've run across in years. Swinchoski has excellent partners in horn player Scott Brubaker and pianist Ron Levy. The Ballade begins with a dreamy quality that turns to a sense of urgency. The Pastorale is gently swaying music that could help lift any sour mood. The Dance is just what it claims to be, with the three players coming together for a joyful romp. All of Ewazen's music that I've heard - and more of it needs to be recorded - is finely crafted and a delight to hear. "From the Hudson Valley" by Leo Kraft (b. 1922), in which conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Hudson Strings join Swinchoski, gives the CD its title. This is a descriptive musical look at the beautiful New York State site. Solo harpist Susan Jolles also has an important role in this 11-minute work; and it's always good to have Fallefta conducting even if it's an orchestra of only 18 members. Falletta and the string players also join Swinchoski for "A Night Piece" by Arthur Foote (1853-1937). Although Foote is from an earlier period and is remembered as a musical conservative, his piece is not a bit out of place with the other tonal pieces here. As usual with Foote, the music is attractive without being particularly memorable. The most challenging work for Swinchoski - and the listener - is "Spring in Bucks County" by Godfrey Schroth (b. 1,927). Pianist Levy again joins the soloist in this homage to springtime. Swinchoski is required to play a piccolo as well as the alto flute in this piece. Like Kraft's work, Schroth's nature music is descriptive, but I don't want to hear it as often. Swinchoski is to be commended for bringing such music to our attention, and Albany has produced a fine-sounding CD." [Sefton Wiggs is music director at Public Radio East, 89.3 FM in New Bern, 90.3 in Kinston and Goldsboro, 91.5 Atlantic Beach and 88.1 in Greenville.]
And from the New York Premiere of "From the Hudson Valley"
THE WESTCHESTER JOURNAL NEWS
"No one was disappointed at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase on Saturday. [Maes.] Aibel conducted with confidence and elan, the orchestra played with ease and enthusiasm and the audience felt a moving musical experience.The evening began with "From the Hudson Valley", a piece for flute, harp and strings composed in 1997 by Leo Kraft. The composer writes that the piece is "evocative rather than descriptive" and aims to "suggest the atmosphere" of the locale. The musical language is easily accepted and leads the listener from contemplation to warmth to a final flurry of agitation. It was a pleasant experience to hear a piece by Kraft. Soloists were the principal flutist of the symphony, Margaret Swinchoski and harpist Jennifer Hoult. Swinchoski has a lovely tone and played with refined lyricism. Hoult in a supporting role, played well." --FRANCIS BRANCALEONE
NY Premiere with Westchester Symphony, Anthony Aibel conductor