Philip Swanson has had a distinguished career as a trombonist, pianist, organist, composer, conductor, and teacher. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from New England Conservatory, Master of Music from the Eastman School, and completed his undergraduate work at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Miami.
As a trombonist, he has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, where he served as principal for five years, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, and numerous other orchestras and chamber ensembles. He is co-founder with Richard Given of the brass chamber ensemble Morgenmusik. He also performs regularly with several jazz groups including: Chamber Jazz Trio and Bob Nieske's Big Wolf Project.
Dr. Swanson is an Assistant Professor of Music at Salem State College in Salem, MA where he teaches music theory, composition, piano, and trombone. Since 1991, he has been Music Director of the First Congregational Church of Rockport, MA where he serves as organist, choir director, and administrator of the Old Sloop Concert Series.
Dr. Swanson has written and published numerous works for various instrumental and vocal ensembles. He can also be heard on a wide range of recordings, including a solo piano album of original works, several small group jazz albums, and performances with larger ensembles, including John Williams and the Boston Pops.
Barbara Bruns, concert organist, was Associate Organist and the Choirmaster at St. Michael’s Church in New York City from 2000-2005. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance, magna cum laude, from Augustana College and a Master of Music degree, with honors, from the New England Conservatory where she was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda honorary. She is the recipient of the “Outstanding Alumni Award” from Augustana College. Her organ studies have been with Yuko Hayashi, Harald Vogel, Arthur Poister, and Tom R. Harris. She has performed for national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, Organ Historical society, and the Association of Anglican Musicians. Currently Ms. Bruns is Minister of Music at Parish of Christ Church in Andover, Massachusetts and Associate Conductor of the Boston Cecilia.
Repertoire for trumpet and organ is plentiful, and hundreds of recordings exist presenting works from the Renaissance up to the present day. Works for trombone and organ (a wonderful combination!) are much harder to come by. This recording presents two original compositions and one arrangement for trombone and organ as well as a solo organ work. Variations on Veni Creator Spiritus (1997) by Philip Swanson is a work for trombone and organ, written as part of Dr. Swanson’s doctoral dissertation at New England Conservatory. The Partita: Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland, Op. 8, No., 1, a composition for solo organ by Hugo Distler, is considered among his greatest works for the instrument. Two other works for trombone and organ are presented: Domine, Dona Nobis Pacem by the Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas and Rachmaninov’s famous Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 in an arrangement by Barbara Bruns. The recording was made at St. Michael’s Church in New York City, which houses one of the finest mechanical action pipe organs in the country built in 1967 by the German organ-building firm, Rudolf von Beckerath.
Reviewing this album in Fanfare (Nov-Dec 2006) William Zagorski wrote, “The harmonization found throughout this haunting work (Veni Creator Spiritus) are arresting and highly original. I would be hard pressed to spell many of the chords, but they work in quite unexpected, but always affectively satisfying ways……Organist Barbara Bruns’ transcription (of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise) is true to its spirit, and aptly exploits Swanson’s roundly mellow trombone tone…….Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas’ (b. 1928) Domine, Dona Nobis Pacem brings this offering to a satisfying Kodaly-inspired close……organist Barbara Bruns acquits herself admirably. Both Distler’s Partita and Swanson’s Variations are intricate and demanding, and she ably rises to their challenges.”