Welcome to my website. I make music in a wide variety of styles from experimental music in concert halls to fiddle tunes in the subways. The above video is a humorous piece about my life as a professional musician. You can listen to examples by clicking on the "mp3" link to the left. See below for upcoming events, links to purchase cds and watch videos, and (down at the bottom) my artistic statement.
Click on the album titles below to listen and download my albums!
Tom Swafford's String Power. Debut album (from 2015) of the 11-piece string ensemble I started shortly after I moved to NYC in 2007.
Violin for Christmas. My multi-track violin Christmas album.
Songs from the Inn. Music inspired by summer gig as house musician at the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park. I play both violin and piano on this album.
Fiddle for All Ages. Mostly children's songs but done in a way that adults can enjoy as well!
7th Ave. Inspired by my experience busking on NYC subway platforms.
I recently completed the "RPM challenge" which is to record a complete album during the month of February. I composed and recorded 10 pieces; for each piece I was working with a specific idea. I may re-record some of the pieces or incorporate them into larger works for String Power or another group. You can listen to by clicking here.
We had a great concert last month at the Brooklyn Conservatory.
My latest project is a satirical musical comedy called Bad Actor. I came up with the concept and wrote the music and lyrics. I am co-writing the book with director Kristofer Kauff. We presented a workshop production at the Tank in Octobober. We will be developing the piece further in the coming months. Click here for more information.
I enjoyed my 6th summer as the in-house musician at the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park, subbing for my friend cellist/pianist/singer Martha Colby.
For more information about me, click here to read an interview I did for the Ecuadorian magazine, Cuadrilatero.
My ensemble String Power released our debut album after a very successful crowdfunding campaign.
For more information about String Power and to become a fan click here!
Click here to watch my concert Becoming Human on youtube. I was very lucky to have such great musicians joining me on this project. The show took place May 20, 2012 at PS217 in Brooklyn and was funded, in part, by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council Creative Arts Fund.
I'm very excited about Brood of Bau, a collaboration I did with the amazing $.99 Dreams. It is out now after nearly a year in the making.
In 2010 I edited and recorded the music for my family's home movies from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
In May 2011 at The Stone I presented an eclectic concert of (mostly) solo pieces written for 9 fantastic musician friends of mine. Click here to watch it on youtube.
Click here to watch a funny promotional film from the '60's that I composed new music for.
Click here to watch a video about my life as a subway musician.
Click here to watch a video of a performance of my new piece Suspensions of Disbelief, by the Detour New Music Ensemble at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn.
We had a very successful second performance of my concert, The Real (?) Me at Roulette on March 19, 2010. Gelsey Bell did an outstanding performance of This is the Real Me, which I wrote in collaboration with Gelsey. Lee Todd Lacks did a bang up job with the hatemail piece, Your (so called) 'Music' and Matt Crane and I tore it up on some improvised duo extrapolations of themes from This is the Real Me. Click here to read an interview about that concert. Click here to read program notes and see videos from the November 15 performance of this concert.
I perform with folk musician Andrew James Jr., my own 12 piece group String Power (to hear samples and become a fan click here!), the violin/percussion duo Golden Crackers and in various other solo and ensemble contexts. I can also be heard busking in the NYC subway stations.
My Artistic Statement:
I am continually searching for my own way to combine all of the vastly different types of music I have played into one personal style. But music is about much more than any individual person. For me, music is about connection between musicians, between musician and composer, between musician and audience and between every person that has created music throughout human existence. Music is organic. A tune takes on increasing layers of meaning every time it is played. People may have completely opposing interpretations depending on what associations they have with a particular piece or style. Any assessments of the quality of a musical style are subjective. Everyone values music differently, depending on their experience.
I want people to feel as though they have been taken somewhere when I play. I want to challenge people; this is when they are moved. Otherwise the music becomes like wall paper, in the background and not really noticed. But at the same time, music can be like a foreign language; you might appreciate the sound of it for a moment but you tune it out after a while because you cannot understand. Either way nothing is being communicated.
I know what is like to move people with music. This feeling is immensely rewarding and when this happens, when people are genuinely affected by music, it is because both musician and audience are so engaged that they forget their egos and tap into something greater. The person in the audience, the musician on stage and the composer are all joined together and become part of music's endless stream.-Tom Swafford 2007
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