Part of our If Music Could Talk series:
Confluence, the performance group consisting of musician Philip Swanson and writer J.D. Scrimgeour specializes in telling stories through a combination of poetry and music. The pair will present two of their major pieces, “The Baby” and “Ogunquit,” and engage in a dialogue with the audience about their work and the relation of words to music.
J.D. Scrimgeour is the author of three collections of poetry, including the recently released Lifting the Turtle. He’s also the author of two books of nonfiction, including Themes for English B: A Professor’s Education In & Out of Class, which won the AWP Award for Nonfiction. In addition to his work on Confluence, his interests in interdisciplinary work have led him to collaborate with choreographer Caitlin Corbett and photographer Kim Mimnaugh, and he wrote the book for the musical, Only Human, which premiered in Ames Hall in Salem in 2014. He is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University, and he is the Co-Chair of the Athenaeum Writing Committee.
Philip Swanson has had a wide ranging career as a trombonist, pianist, composer, organist, conductor, and teacher. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from New England Conservatory, Master of Music from the Eastman School, and did his undergraduate study at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Miami.
As a trombonist he has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, where he served as principal for five years, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Opera Boston, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Ballet Orchestra, and numerous other orchestral and chamber ensembles. He has performed with numerous small group and big band jazz ensembles including Chamber Jazz, which he founded with guitarist Anthony Weller and The Bob Nieske 10. He also has collaborated with the poet J.D. Scrimgeour, Director of Creative Writing at Salem State University, forming the group “Confluence” which combines Scrimgeour’s poetry with his music.
Swanson is Professor of Music at Salem State University where he teaches music theory, composition, trombone and piano. Since 1991 he has been Music Director of the First Congregational Church of Rockport where he serves as organist and choir director.
Swanson has written and published numerous works in both instrumental and vocal genres. He can be heard on a wide range of recordings including several jazz groups, two solo piano recordings, an album with J.D. Scrimgeour of poetry and music, and performances with larger ensembles including the Boston Pops and John Williams.
For information on his compositions, recordings and current performances visit: www.swansonmusic.com.