The choral music of Gloria Wilson Swisher
by Bigley, Robert Franklin, Jr., D.M.A., UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, 2009, 123 pages; 3370464


The life of composer, pianist, and educator Gloria Wilson Swisher is a fine example of the fruits that can be harvested from decades of faithfulness – faithfulness to church, family, work, and community. Early success as a pianist and composer enabled Swisher ultimately to study with two of the most important composition teachers of the twentieth century, Darius Milhaud and Howard Hanson. The guidance she received from these two men resulted in a compositional style that is representative of late twentieth-century tonal concert music.

Swisher's oeuvre includes well over eighty works in diverse genres including concerti, opera, chamber music, and a wide variety of sacred and secular choral works. As the daughter of a trained singer and a professor of Romance languages literature, Swisher demonstrates in her choral settings (which represent over a third of her output) a clear understanding of the human voice and a love for language. Although she received a good deal of attention as an up-and-coming young composer in the 1950's and 60's, and has fulfilled a handful of important commissions through the years, Swisher's devotion to her family and her teaching career has largely diminished her ability to promote her own compositions. It is the author's hope that this dissertation will serve to expose Gloria Wilson Swisher's work to a broader audience and contribute to the growing interest in the study of composers of the Pacific Northwest. The dissertation includes four chapters: (1) an oral history based upon interviews with the composer, (2) an overview of her compositions with a complete list of works, (3) a study of her choral works, including an annotated catalogue, and (4) her Missa Brevis set in its original context, as liturgical music to accompany the communion service of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

AdviserGeoffrey Boers
SourceDAI/A 70-08, Dec 2009
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBiographies; Music
Publication Number3370464
Adobe PDF Access the complete dissertation:

» Find an electronic copy at your library.
  Use the link below to access a full citation record of this graduate work:
  If your library subscribes to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database, you may be entitled to a free electronic version of this graduate work. If not, you will have the option to purchase one, and access a 24 page preview for free (if available).

About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With over 2.3 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.

The database includes citations of graduate works ranging from the first U.S. dissertation, accepted in 1861, to those accepted as recently as last semester. Of the 2.3 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 1.9 million in full text formats. Of those, over 860,000 are available in PDF format. More than 60,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the ProQuest Web site - - or call ProQuest Hotline Customer Support at 1-800-521-3042.