Violinist, multi-instrumentalist, composer Abby Swidler spins sound into immersive dreamscapes that invite listeners to explore and reflect upon the natural world. Abby’s music thoughtfully weaves together organic and electronic textures to create otherworldly sonic landscapes. Abby is a passionate collaborator across a multitude of artistic disciplines and musical contexts.
Since 2017, Abby has been connecting with the natural world and exploring environmental themes in their music. Their piece Botanical Portraits (2019) is a series of miniatures for string quartet focused on plant life. Horizon & Retrospect (2020) examines snapshots of evolving landscapes in Portland, ME.
Current composition projects include: Arbor (2023), a piece for baroque violin and electronics, which explores the theme of deforestation in the United States, and the dualities of past & present, grief & hope, and nature & technology; film score for Holding Back the Tide, a Hybrid experimental documentary about oysters in NYC; and the score for “The Mysteries of Life: A Queer Nature Walk,” a queer ecology theatrical dance performance that uses true stories of animals’ mating rituals and social behaviors to show queerness & transness in nature. Abby hopes to inspire listeners to feel affirmed in their own unique identities, and to encourage care for one another and the planet.
Abby’s work is featured across a variety of collaborations, including ruby, a dream-pop duo with songwriter kim mayo that Bandcamp Daily described as “a striking, evocative work full of hushed beauty.” Abby also creates music for Tsubaki, a collaboration with Courtney Swain & Kyle Harris, which released the short film Ripe featuring the group’s layered and haunting compositions. She has also composed film scores for “Butte Bangs” and “I Await the Devil’s Coming,” directed by Jeff Verlanic. As a composer, Abby has written works for Palaver Strings, BBC Shortcuts, Dance Visions INC, O Miami Poetry Festival, and the Peabody Essex Museum.
As a violinist, violist, and vocalist, Abby is a versatile and expressive performer who is equally at home across a wide breadth of genres. They have performed and recorded with artists including Angel Olsen, Kishi Bashi, L’Rain, Lady Lamb, Carla Kihlstedt, Shattered Glass, Mirah, Darlene Love, Jherek Bischoff, Ava Luna, Tredici Bacci, Bent Knee, The California Guitar Trio, Palaver Strings, The Phoenix Orchestra, and The Jessica Pavone String Ensemble.
Abby has performed on The Tonight Show, at SXSW, Winter JazzFest, Panama Jazz Festival, Redbull Music Festival, National Sawdust, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. They are featured on over 40 studio albums.
Abby has been an artist in residence at the Banff Center for the Arts, the Turkey Land Cove Foundation for the Arts, and The Panama Jazz Festival. They received a B.M. in Violin Performance from Eastman School of Music and an M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from The New England Conservatory. Originally from Missoula, MT, they currently live in Brooklyn, NY.
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