Rebecca Oswald, Composer and Solo Pianist

Rebecca Oswald - biography

Rebecca Oswald is an award-winning U.S. composer with many areas of experience and excellence. Born in Oklahoma, she later moved to Colorado, then Texas. From 1981 to 1995 she worked as a solo pianist, accompanist, band keyboardist, and studio musician in Houston, Texas. In 1998 Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition, summa cum laude, from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J., where she studied composition with Joel Phillips, Stefan Young, and Ronald Hemmel, and piano with Lillian Livingston. In 2001 she completed her Master of Music degree in Music Composition at the University of Oregon School of Music in Eugene, Oregon, where she studied composition with Robert Kyr and David Crumb, and was a graduate teaching fellow in aural skills and keyboard skills. From 2002-2004 Rebecca was on the music faculty at the University of Oregon, teaching advanced aural skills, an orchestration seminar, and a composition class. Since 2004 she has been a freelance composer residing in Oregon. From 2005 to 2009 Rebecca was the Music Director at the Tango Center in Eugene, Oregon, playing live music for the dancers once or twice every month, often with ensembles and guest artists; and from 2007 to 2015 she served as a choral scholar at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Eugene.

Rebecca's original solo piano releases include Whereas (2011), a concept CD of thirteen original solo piano works inspired by poetry; and October Wind (2005), a retrospective CD of thirteen original piano works dating from 1981, plus one art song for tenor and piano. IndieAcoustic selected track 10, Periwinkle Blue, as a "Songs of Note" in 2005; and in 2009, track 7, Regatta, was nominated for a Just Plain Folks Song Award in the Solo Piano category. One of Rebecca's songs appears on the 2011 solo piano compilation CD Whisperings Solo Piano Volume I.

Rebecca has performed her solo piano music for audiences all over the U.S. as well as in Canada, the U.K., France, Dominican Republic, and Spain, frequently collaborating with other solo pianists including David Nevue, David Rhys-Johnson, Mathew Tavis Johnson, Louis Landon, Neil Patton, Grammy nominee David Lanz, Joe Bongiorno, Joseph Akins, Micah Page, and Isadar. In October 2010 Rebecca joined with four other composer/pianists, Julio Mazziotti (Argentina), Lisa Downing (U.S.), Mario Lopéz-Santos (Spain), and Grammy nominee Suzanne Ciani (U.S.), in Cala Rajada, Mallorca, Spain, as presenting artists for the First International Gathering of Solo Pianists in Mallorca, Spain (El Primer Encuentro Internacional de Pianistas Solo, Mallorca, España). Rebecca was one of the featured performers at the 2016 Whisperings All Star Concert and Awards Show in Costa Mesa, California.

Rebecca's instrumental concert music catalog includes a piano sonata, works for various chamber ensembles, string orchestra, chamber orchestra, full orchestra, and a clarinet concerto. In 2014 Rebecca was a finalist for The American Prize in chamber music and a semifinalist in orchestral music. In 2015 she was again an American Prize finalist in chamber music, and her mixed chamber work Theseus and the Minotaur was awarded Honorable Mention. Two of her orchestral works won readings by the Women's Philharmonic, in 1998 and 2001. Other highlights of Rebecca's instrumental concert music: Aesop's Fables, Rebecca's popular work for woodwind quintet and narrator, is frequently performed live. Recorded in 2013 by the Arrieu Quintet, it was released as a digital EP and receives frequent airplay. Bowerman, Man of Oregon is a 22-minute symphonic biography about Bill Bowerman. Premiered by the Central Oregon Symphony in 2007, in 2008 the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra performed a larger reorchestration of this same work as the centerpiece of a special Bowerman gala tribute concert. In 2011 Rebecca's orchestral works Finding the Murray River and Sleep, Child were released on the compilation CD Light and Shadow: Modern Orchestral Works by PARMA Recordings / Navona Records.

Rebecca has written for all types and sizes of choral ensembles, a cappella and accompanied, and she often writes her own choral texts, sacred and secular. Rebecca was a finalist in choral music in the American Prize in both 2014 and 2015. Additional choral awards include: Let Him Return (SSA, piano) received Top Honors in the 2002 Waging Peace Through Singing international choral composition competition. Reciprocity, an 11-minute SATB multi-lingual, multi-faith a cappella choral work was commissioned by the Foundation for Universal Sacred Music and premiered in fall 2005 at the First Festival of Universal Sacred Music in New York City. This ecumenical piece quotes the original teachings of the ethic of reciprocity throughout humankind's history in the teachers' native languages, going as far back as 3100 B.C. In 2013 her choral work Die Alster won the Houston Saengerbund composition competition. Other highlights from Rebecca's choral catalogue include: Journeys to Freedom: Rännakud Vabadusse is a nine-minute work for double SATB chorus and treble chorus, plus four winds and percussion, incorporating folksongs from Estonia and the U.S. in celebration of human freedom and dignity. It was performed by each of its three commissioning choirs in Maryland in spring 2007. The Sunbringer's Tale, Rebecca's largest choral project, is 22 minutes long, with an original text and full orchestral accompaniment. In 2008 Rebecca wrote the music and lyrics to All Hail to You, Linn-Benton, the official Alma Mater for Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon.

In June 2016 three fully staged performances of Vía Láctea, a new, two-hour opera in English, with music by Rebecca Oswald and libretto by Ellen Waterston, premiered at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. Presented by OperaBend, the performances featured seven world-class principal singers, a chorus, a boys' chorus, dancers, and a 28-piece orchestra. In support of her work on this project, Rebecca received a 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Music for media: Rebecca wrote, recorded, and produced the music for two Taiwanese CD-ROM strategy games (三國群英傳 I & II), released in 1998 and 1999. In 2003 she orchestrated the soundtrack for the independent, critically acclaimed film Westender. She composed, recorded, and produced the soundtrack for the three-hour video documentary series A History of the University of Oregon (2001, 2007). She wrote and produced the theme song for the weekly interview show UO Today. And in 2014 she wrote and produced the theme song and soundtrack for a 19-minute pitch reel for the historically inspired dramatic adventure saga Runestone, currently being considered for a feature film.


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