Joseph Schwantner was born in Chicago and received his musical and academic training at the Chicago Conservatory and Northwestern University, completing a doctorate in 1968. Previously, he served on the Yale, Eastman and Juilliard faculties and is a member of the Boadr of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Schwantner was the fiirst composer-in-residence with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as part of the Meet The Composer / Orchestra Residencies Program funded by the Exxon Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
His work, Magabunda “four poems of Agueda Pizarro,” and A Sudden Rainbow, originally recorded on Nonesuch Records by the Saint Louis Symphony, each received a Grammy Award nomination in the category, Best New Classical Composition. Schwantner and his wife Janet currently live in Spofford, New Hampshire.