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​Photo credit: Antonia Rose Photography

Coming from a background in arts-integrated education, composer and vocalist Drew Swatosh (pronouns: they/them,  last name pronounced “SWAH-tahsh”) creates connections within their music, whether through the inclusion of programmatic/extra-musical elements; collaborating with other composers, musicians, and artists; and/or eclectically combining different musical styles and compositional techniques. Described as writing “music of naked protest and yet subtle beauty” (Oregon ArtsWatch), they use composting as a means of processing the world around them which includes social justice, intersectional feminism, climate change, and grief. Drew’s commissioners include the Seattle Opera Creation Lab for a trans/non-binary retelling of the myth of Icarus and Daedalus; choral educator Stephanie Bivins; Big Mouth Society, the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics Music Department; the Fear No Music Young Composers Project; and vocalists Stephanie Lamprea, Marguerite McKean, and Carolyn Quick as part of the Dead Fires Anthology for Solo Unaccompanied/Self-Accompanied Voice.

Drew has participated in many different composition master classes with composers including Martin Bresnick, Dave Metzger, Chen Yi, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Lisa Neher. Beyond master classes, Drew has participated in the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium and the Fear No Music Young Composers Project. For their SATB setting of the poem In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Drew won 1st place in the Washington State Music Teachers Association Young Composers Project. Their piece Finding the Light, which sets student quotes about spring 2020, was the inaugural Portland Symphonic Choir New Works Composition Winner. Along with composers/vocalists Carolyn Quick and Lisa Neher, Drew co-founded Raindrop New Music, a grassroots composer collective and sheet music store focused on the distribution of vocal music and beyond by Pacific Northwest composers of gender-diverse backgrounds. 

As a vocalist, they have sung in the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium American Creators Chorus under Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson. In collaboration with Persisting Sound, they made their professional debut as a soloist with Portland artists Lisa Neher and Carolyn Quick. Following their interest in amplifying queer voices, they participated in the Queer Opera program of staged art songs under the direction of Dr. Chuck Dillard and Rebecca Herman. They advocate for repertoire by historically excluded composers and enjoy singing both solo and choral repertoire. An avid chorister, they have sung with In Medio and are a member of Portland Symphonic Choir and Big Mouth Society

Drew holds an MMus and BMus in Contemporary Music from Western Oregon University and has studied composition with Kevin Walczyk, James Reddan, Carlos Velez, Bill Whitley, Dave Averre, and Elizabeth Ackerman. They currently study voice/composition with Lisa Neher and reside in Vancouver, Washington. In addition to composing, Drew is also a pianist, ukulele player, and arts administrator. Drew loves women’s soccer, supporting the Portland Thorns, and is a tech and slow fashion enthusiast.