Chicago Symphony 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 until he was appointed CSO music librarian in 1999.
Swanson is from the Chicago area and began his musical studies playing the trombone. During his 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 associate principal trombone.
Swanson has 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, as well as being involved with many projects for musical theater, films, records, live performance and publication.
Currently, Swanson plays trombone in a number of ensembles, including Windy City Winds, Chicago’s Community Band, based in Lincoln Park. He is also a member of the St. Paul’s UCC Chancel Choir. Swanson and his wife Nancy Pifer currently make their home in Chicago with their Jack Russell Terrier, Oskar.