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Elliott Schwartz papers

Identifier: M161

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Content

The Elliott Schwartz papers date from 1922 to 2016. The papers are arranged in four series: Professional, Programs & Pamphlets, Subject Files, and Recordings. Most of the papers consist of Schwartz teaching subject files and professional involvement materials, including correspondence, newspaper clippings on his career and composing, and a collection of audiovisual recordings of his works that were preformed at Bowdoin or in Maine. The majority of his creative works, scores, compositions, and other recordings, are a part of his papers housed at the Library of Congress.


  • Creation: 1949 - 2016


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elliott Schwartz was born in 1936 in New York City and studied composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson at Columbia University. He held the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music at Bowdoin College, where he first taught in 1964, including twelve years as department chair. His teaching was influenced by his unique composing style which included experimental ideas and techniques. He also held extended visiting residencies at the University of California (Santa Barbara and San Diego), The Ohio State University, Trinity College of Music (London, UK) and Cambridge University (UK). Schwartz has served as president of the College Music Society, vice-president of the American Music Center, and national chair of the American Society of University Composers.

Schwartz co-wrote Electronic Music: A Listener’s Guide and co-edited Music Since 1945: Issues, Materials, Literature and Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music. He composed various pieces of music such as “Rainbow” and “Equinox: Concerto for Orchestra” which have been performed by such leading ensembles as the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. His creative works include compositions and scores of arias, concerto, dance suite, music sonatas, and symphonies for oboe, trumpet, cello, flute, viola, piano, and clarinet, among others. Schwartz also composed more alternative performance pieces, including “Elevator Music” that was performed in Bowdoin’s Cole Tower while riding up and down the elevator.

He is the recipient of the Maine State Award in Arts & Humanities (1970), Prize Gaudeamus International Music Week (Netherlands, 1970), composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1974), and a McKim Fund commission from the Library of Congress. Schwartz left a resounding impact on the Maine music community and often influenced his students in their own composing. He married Dorothy Schwartz, director of the Maine Humanities Council, who died in 2014. Elliot Schwartz died in 2016.


13 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Bowdoin Professor of Music Elliott Schwartz’s teaching and concert material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Elliott Schwartz from 1999 to 2016.

Related Materials

Department of Music A03.04

DVD Incredible Maine: Elliott Schwartz makes music (2008). "World renowned composer Elliott Schwartz shared his thoughts and talents with Host LC as he provides a look into the fascinating contemporary music he writes and teaches to Bowdoin students."

Not at Bowdoin: Box: 17, American Composers Alliance (ACA) records, 0201-SCPA. Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. University of Maryland.

Elliott Schwartz collection, Library of Congress, LCCN 2016570568.

Separated Materials

A.V. recordings that were not Schwartz’s own work (re-recordings of other classical pieces, taped copies of excerpts for class assignments, etc.) have been removed from the collection to be discarded. Bound publications and reprints have also been removed, including duplicate scores and compositions by Schwartz and highly accessible scores by other composers, including classical composers like Bach and Chopin. These published and printed scores were discard on December 15, 2023.

Original creative works have been separated and/or sent to the Library of Congress. Additional scores have been removed to the Beckwith Music Library. All creative works (scores and compositions, recordings) have been removed and sent to the Library of Congress to be housed with the Elliott Schwartz papers there.

A full inventory of material removed from the collection and sent to the Library of Congress is available upon request.

Processing Information

Elliott Schwartz donated his creative works including scores and compositions to the Library of Congress. His papers here contain material related to his time at Bowdoin. Original creative works have been separated and/or sent to the Library of Congress.

Guide to the Elliott Schwartz Collection
Emma Barton-Norris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288