Multi-instrumentalist composer and performer 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.
Abby’s compositions draw inspiration from improvisation traditions, classical cannon, minimalism, and popular idioms. Her music often incorporates improvisation, creating space for performers to add their unique artistic gifts. 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. Mollusca (2022) is a collection of string soundscapes celebrating marine life. Abby’s mission is 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 recently 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, 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 with artists including Angel Olsen, Kishi Bashi, Lady Lamb, Carla Kihlstedt, Shattered Glass, Mirah, Darlene Love, Jherek Bischoff, Ava Luna, Tredici Bacci, Bent Knee, The California Guitar Trio, the Brooklyn Orchestra, and the Phoenix Orchestra. Other projects include the Xanthoria Quartet, a string quartet which performs new and old works, 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. She is featured on over 30 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. She 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.