Dr. Elizabeth Swanson is the Associate Director of Choral Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is honored to serve as the conductor of the University Choir, which was founded in 1938 by Warner Imig. A passionate educator, Swanson also teaches courses in conducting at the undergraduate level, applied lessons in conducting at the graduate level, and serves on master’s and doctoral committees.
Swanson maintains an active schedule as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States with most recent appearances as the conductor of the inaugural Montana State University Women’s Vocal Festival in Bozeman, MT as well as festivals and honor choirs in the Denver-area. Her conducting students have reached the final round in ACDA student conducting competitions and have been hired at leading universities upon graduation.
Nationally, Swanson is on the Executive Board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization as Acting Chief Editor of Publications. In this capacity, she edits NCCO’s peer-reviewed journal, The Choral Scholar, and curates NCCO’s highly selective choral music publication, the NCCO Choral Series, which is distributed by the ECS Publishing Group. Swanson previously served on NCCO’s Executive Board as Secretary and as an associate editor of The Choral Scholar.
Prior to her appointment at CU Boulder, Swanson lived in New York City and was the Director of Choirs at Nyack College School of Music in lower Manhattan. Under her direction, the Nyack College Chorale performed in renowned venues such as David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Paul’s Chapel at Trinity Church Wall Street, and toured domestically. While in New York City, Swanson also served as an arts administrator at Manhattan Concert Productions, a New York City-based company that produces concerts at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and The Apollo.
A noted mezzo-soprano, Swanson sang professionally for four seasons with New York City-based professional choir Manhattan Chorale, an ensemble for which she was also the manager for three seasons. As a member of Chorale Le Chateau, Swanson took part in a collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in a performance of Marsalis’s Abyssinian Mass, conducted by Damien Sneed. Swanson has also been a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Chorus.
Swanson has also been a member of the conducting faculty at The University of Chicago, North Park University, and Ithaca College and has served as a conductor of choral ensembles at Northwestern University and Roosevelt University (Chicago College of Performing Arts). Swanson has been published in the Choral Journal. Her dissertation was a qualitative analysis of August 4, 1964, an oratorio by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, with the libretto by Gene Scheer.
Swanson earned degrees from Northwestern University (DM Conducting), Ithaca College (MM Conducting), and St. Olaf College (BM Vocal Education).