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.


You can find printed scores of Ward Swingle's arrangements and compositions in the US and Canada at UNC Jazz Press. His book "Swingle Singing" can be found in the US and Canada at Musicmotion.com and at Amazon.com.