Mazz Swift is a violinist, singer, composer, and conductor, weaving improvisation, classic African American musics, electronica, and mindfulness into their work. They have composed for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Blaffer Foundation. Aside from enjoying a robust career as a performer, Swift is an educator. They have performed and taught free-improvisation workshops on six continents, most notably having traveled to Suriname, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Albania, and Siberia as “cultural diplomat” for the U.S. Department of State.
Mazz Swift is also a performing member and teaching artist with the acclaimed Silkroad Ensemble. As part of that group, they spearheaded and developed Project MUSIC (Music, Uniting Strangers Into Community), through which they seek to develop abolitionist-minded and anti-racist programming alongside incarcerated people, designing our own liberation through presence and creativity.
Swift is a 2021 United States Artist, and 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, continually creating orchestral compositions that involve “Conduction” (conducted improvisation — a system for group improvisation pioneered and trademarked by the late, great Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris), small ensemble works, and solo works that are centered around protest and freedom songs, spirituals, and the Ghanaian concept of Sankofa: looking back to learn how to move forward.