Christopher Swist

B.M., SUNY-Buffalo
M.M., The Hartt School

Christopher Swist is a performer, composer, and educator with an accomplished record in each vocation. In 1999, The Instrumentalist stated that his published marimba work “should become a part of contemporary four-mallet marimba repertoire.” Since then his compositions have been performed across the United States and Canada as well as in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, China, and Australia. They are published by Marimba Productions in the United States and by Edition Svitzer in Europe. His solo CD Whitewater, funded by the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, was released to critical acclaim in 2001. Percussive Notes found the recording to have “musicality, interest, and excellent sound.”

He has taught at Franklin Pierce since 2010. He is also Artist in Residence at Keene State College. In addition, he has served on faculty at Bennington College, The Hartt School, and Holyoke Community College. He has performed with the Hartford Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, New Britain Symphony, Orchestra New England, Ridgefield Symphony, Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Dartmouth Handel Society, Nashua Chamber Orchestra, Monadnock Chorus, June In Buffalo, Tune-In Festival, Make Music New York, New Haven Worx, and Full Force Dance Theater.

He is from Buffalo, New York and part of an extensive musical family. Both of his parents are members of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. His B.M. is from the University of Buffalo (SUNY) were he studied percussion with Jan Williams and Tony Miranda and composition with Jeffery Stadelman. He moved to New England in 1997 and completed separate M.M. degrees in Performance and Composition at The Hartt School. At Hartt, he studied percussion with Ben Toth and Al Lepak and composition with Robert Carl, Steven Gryc, Ken Steen, and Ingram Marshall.


Percussion Lessons
Percussion lessons can include beginning to advanced studies on drum set, snare drum, timpani, and mallet instruments. The foundation of all percussion is development of both hand and foot control through rudimental studies. Emphasis is on proper and systematic approaches to building sound technique. The desire to improve reading skills in both jazz and classical studies is highly recommended. Advanced mallet studies will include 4-mallet technique and learning repertoire pieces. 

Percussion Ensembles
The Franklin Pierce Percussion Ensemble is dedicated to finding the new. We explore new ways of hearing sounds and new ways of making music, using improvisation, “group composition,” and pieces by the group’s members. We explore the meanings of these words “composition” and “improvisation” through rehearsing, discussing, and performing our own unique music. We also explore the "classic" ensemble repertoire for percussion and found objects that came out of 1929-1943 (John Cage, Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell).

Ann G