Ward Swingle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ward Swingle was the product of an unusually liberal musical education. In his hometown, Mobile, Alabama, he grew up with the sound of jazz and played in one of the great Big Bands before finishing High School. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Cincinnati Conservatory and studied piano with the celebrated Walter Gieseking in postwar France. In Paris in the sixties he was a founding member of the fabled Double Six of Paris, then took the scat singing idea and applied it to the works of Bach, hence The Swingle Singers, whose early recordings won five Grammies.

When the Paris group disbanded in l973, Ward Swingle moved to London and formed an English group, expanding the repertoire to include classical and avang-garde works along with the scat and jazz vocal arrangements. The 2003 touring schedule of the Swingle Singers (who are now celebrating their 40th anniversary as a vocal group!) will include trips to Europe, North America and the Far East.

In l984 Swingle returned to live in America. Though he remained as Musical Advisor for his London-based group, he devoted most of his time to workshops, guest conducting and the dissemination of his printed arrangements through his publishing company, Swingle Music.

His pioneering ideas in new choral techniques have produced invitations to conduct The Stokholm and Netherlands Chamber Choirs, The Dale Warland Singers, The Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, the BBC Northern Singers and the MENC National Honors Choir at Kennedy Center. Over the last ten years he has given a long series of workshops and seminars at outstanding universities in both Europe and North America.

In March of l994 he and Mrs. Swingle moved back to France, where he continues his work in arranging, composing and guest conducting. He has recently written a book called "Swingle Singing" in which he tells the story of the French and English groups, his own story, and defines 'Swingle Singing' techniques with illustrations from his arrangements and compositions.

On February 20th, 2004, he was named "Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture and Information.

Source: Swingle music

 

 

Ward Swingle (born 21 September 1927) is an American vocalist and jazz musician.

Swingle was born in Mobile, Alabama. He studied music, particularly jazz, from a very young age. He was playing in Mobile-area Big Bands before finishing high school. After high school, Swingle graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He then moved to France, where he studied piano with the celebrated Walter Gieseking. In the 1960s he was a founding member of Les Double Six of Paris, then took the scat singing idea and applied it to the works of Bach. This concept would be the foundation for The Swingle Singers, a group Swingle founded and whose early recordings won five Grammy Awards.

When the French group of Swingle Singers disbanded in 1973, Swingle moved to London and formed an English group, expanding the repertoire to include classical and avant-garde works along with the scat and jazz vocal arrangements.

In 1984 Swingle returned to live in America. Though he remained musical advisor for his London-based group, he devoted most of his time to workshops, guest conducting and the dissemination of his printed arrangements through his publishing company, Swingle Music.

His pioneering ideas in new choral techniques have produced invitations to conduct The Stockholm and Netherlands Chamber Choirs, The Dale Warland Singers, The Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, the BBC Northern Singers and the MENC National Honors Choir at Kennedy Center. Over the last ten years he has given a long series of workshops and seminars at universities in both Europe and North America.

In March 1994 Swingle and his wife moved back to France, where he continues his work in arranging, composing and guest conducting. He has recently written an autobiography and treatise entitled Swingle Singing, in which he defines 'Swingle Singing' techniques with illustrations from his arrangements and compositions.

On February 20th, 2004, Swingle was named "Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture and Information.

Source: Ward Swingle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

The Swingle Singers

Ward Swingle now lives in semi-retirement near Paris, France. When he was a youngster in Alabama his father insisted that he learn all kinds of music, play all kinds of instruments and develop perfect pitch. It turned out to be the ideal background, many years later, when he founded the Swingle Singers, in Paris in the early sixties. The whole thing began as an exercise by eight free-lance singers. The group was bored by the simple fare available in the studios, for this was an era dominated by pop and early rock. One day he got out Bach's "Well Tempered Clavichord" and they tried them out, to find that singing them came naturally. In 1963 they released their first recording on Phillips. By word of mouth, DJ after DJ began playing it. After climbing the charts it hit the top ten and stayed in the top 100 for more than a year and a half! That one and their following two albums won Grammies for Best Performance By A Chorus, and Bach's Greatest Hits also won a Grammy for Best New Artist.

Moving from the recording studio to live performance wasn't that great a stretch as the group didn't overdub. Ward, who did the arrangements, stayed close to Bach's written score, just adding drums and bass to accentuate the rhythm. Thus he developed a style which used the voice as an instrument in a fusion of jazz and classical styles. Much of the next ten years was spent touring with Les Swingles as they had created an international audience in no small part because scat turned out to be and international language. As their music became internationally acclaimed composers began to invite the Swingle Singers to perform their works which specially fit the group. One example of that was Luciano Berio, the Italian avant-garde composer. In 1969 he invited them to perform "Sinfonia," written for eight mixed voices and orchestra. Since the recorded premiere with the New York Philharmonic, they have performed it over three hundred times.

When the French group disbanded in 1973, Ward went to England where he had an idea to form Swingles II with an expanded repertoire which would be more adequately supported by the large choral traditions of English music. He continued actively with the group until 1985 when he returned to the United States and spent ten years lecturing, doing seminars and guest conducting. The Swingle Singers have continued, with Ward as musical advisor, to this day. No, not merely continued, they have expanded their repertoire unceasingly. Their staging is fabulous, their performances sublime. Most of us have not had the opportunity to see the new Swingle Singers in concert for there is a new group of singers who have taken up the challenge of continuing one of the cleverest and most graceful singing traditions in the world. Before we mention the new singers, we must thank those whose names are synonymous in our minds with the Swingle Singers, for they are those on most of our recordings. Thanks to Helen Massey, Deryn Edwards, Joanna Forbes and Anne de Renais, sopranos; Linda Stevens, Heather Cairncross, Wendy Nieper and Sarah Simmonds, altos; Andrew Busher, Jonathan Rathbone, Andrew Grey and Michael Robinson, tenors; Ben Parry, David Porter Thomas and Patrick Ardagh-Walter, basses. These singers have lightened our lives immeasurably as they were all, at one time, previous members. Additionally, we have to thank Dr. John Milner, the sound engineer who previously toured and recorded with them for ten years.

Now we have a whole new group of singers who will no doubt build on the foundation created by all the prior Swingles and delight us to no end. It's their turn. They are;

Sopranos: Sara Brimer, Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson

Altos: Clare Wheeler, Lucy Bailey

Tenors: Christopher Jay, Richard Eleson

Basses: Tobias Hug, Kevin Fox

Sound Engineer: Hugh Walker

Source: SWINGLE SINGERS: A Cappella Profile

More info: Ward Swingle - vocal jazz arranger

Anyone for Mozart, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi?, The Swingle SingersChristmastime, The Swingle SingersAnthology, The Swingle SingersBach Hits Back - A Cappella Amadeus, The Swingle SingersA Celebration Of the Voice, The Swingle SingersOperazione San Pietro, The Swingle Singers

Listen: The Swingle Singers - Download The Swingle Singers Music on iTunes

Listen: Amazon.com: Ward Swingle Classical Music Genres CDs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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