Orchestra member Mark Swanson started his career as a music librarian working
his way through the ranks of the CSO music library. He joined the library
staff as an assistant librarian at the invitation of former librarians Marilyn
Herring and Walter Horban in 1984. After Herring’s retirement in 1997,
Swanson was named acting music librarian, a post he held until March of 1999,
when he was appointed CSO music librarian.
Swanson is from
the Chicago area and began his musical studies playing the trombone, later
taking up guitar and bass. He became interested in arranging music at an early
age and prepared arrangements for the local bands and student productions in
which he performed.
undergraduate years at Columbia College, Swanson studied music theory,
orchestration, composition and arranging with William Russo. He later studied
composition with William Ferris and film scoring with Hans Wurman at the
American Conservatory of Music. In addition, he studied trombone with Richard
Faller and with James Gilbertsen, the CSO’s former associate principal
worked extensively as a music copyist, preparing both hand-copied music
manuscripts and computer-generated music engraving. In addition to various
projects for the CSO, he has prepared manuscripts for the Lyric Opera of
Chicago, Plácido Domingo and Emanuel Ax, and he has been involved with many
projects for musical theater, films, records, live performance and publication.
ago, Swanson became interested in percussion and rhythm instruments from around
the world. He has participated in rhythm training under percussionist Reinhard
Flatischler, who founded a system of rhythm training that draws on basic
rhythmic similarities of music from different cultures. He also has made his
own hand-held frame drums.
He shares his
love of opera, soccer (fans of the Chicago Fire and Manchester United Football
Club) and baseball (Cubs) with his bride, soprano Nancy Pifer. His other
interests include, cooking and home improvement. Mark and Nancy currently make
their home in Chicago with their Jack Russell terrier, Oskar.