Dr. Elizabeth Swanson is the Associate Director of Choral Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is honored to serve as conductor of the CU Treble Chorus (formerly the Women’s Chorus) and the University Choir, which was founded in 1938 by Warner Imig. A passionate educator, Swanson also teaches courses in conducting at the undergraduate level, applied lessons in conducting at the graduate level, and serves on master’s and doctoral committees. Her conducting students have reached the final round in ACDA student conducting competitions and have been hired at leading universities upon graduation.
Swanson maintains an active schedule as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States with upcoming festivals within Colorado and a recent conducting appearance at Carnegie Hall (March 2022). Nationally, Swanson is vice president of the Executive Board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). She oversees the organization’s National Board and chairs the Mission and Vision in Governance Committee, whose primary purpose is to uphold principles of equity, diversity, and inclusivity within the NCCO. Swanson previously served on NCCO’s Executive Board as the Acting Chief Editor of Publications and Secretary and has served as an associate editor of The Choral Scholar as well as being published in The Choral Journal. Her doctoral dissertation was a qualitative analysis of August 4, 1964, an oratorio by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, with original libretto by Gene Scheer.
Prior to her appointment at CU-Boulder, Swanson lived in New York City and was Director of Choirs at Nyack College School of Music in lower Manhattan. Under her direction, the Nyack College Chorale performed in renowned venues—such as David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and St. Paul’s Chapel at Trinity Church Wall Street—and toured domestically. While in New York, she honed her affinity for layering teaching, rehearsing, and music performance with young adults. “I am passionate about both the learning process and the performance process,” Swanson says. “A musical performance resulting from proper and intentional preparation allows for musicians to be free and at their best at one moment in time, and that’s a magical experience!”
Swanson has also been the conductor of choral ensembles at the University of Chicago and North Park University in Chicago, was a guest conductor at Roosevelt University (Chicago College of Performing Arts), and served as a sabbatical replacement at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. While in Chicago, Swanson was a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Chorus.
Swanson earned degrees from Northwestern University (DM Conducting), Ithaca College (MM Conducting) and St. Olaf College (BM Vocal Education). Her primary mentors include Anton Armstrong, Craig Arnold, Janet Galván, Robert Harris and Cheryl Frazes Hill.