Judith Lang Zaimont

Composer Bio

Internationally acclaimed for its immediacy, dynamism and emotion, Judith Lang Zaimont’s music is recognized for her distinctive style of expressive strength and spirit of rhapsody featuring sudden shifts in texture, instrumental coloring, and atmosphere. Critics call it “enjoyable, consistently inventive and accomplished” (Music Web International), citing its “richly eloquent vocabulary” (Records International), and note that “Zaimont is a serious artist, formidably endowed, and capable of a broad audience appeal…one of the most consistently rewarding composers of her generation” (Fanfare). With over 100+ works in her catalogue including many prize-winning pieces, her music encompasses every genre including three symphonies, an opera, music for wind ensemble, works for chorus and solo voice, and a wide-variety of chamber music.

Zaimont’s music has been performed worldwide by: The Philadelphia Orchestra; Baltimore and Jacksonville Symphonies; Cleveland and Pro Arte Chamber Orchestras; Berlin and Czech Radio Symphonies; Slovak National Philharmonic; Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, and the Chinese National Orchestra. She has received commissions from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Chamber Music America, the Baltimore Dance Theatre and Baltimore Museum of Art, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Skaneateles Music Festival (NY), Copland House, Huntingdon Trio, National Flute Association, and the International Double Reed Society. Recent commissions include: String Quartet ‘The Figure’ (2007) for the Harlem Quartet; Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra ‘Solar Traveller’ ( 2009-2010) for an eight-member commissioning consortium of American universities; the violin sonata Sonata-Rhapsody (2010), and her current new work JoyDance in Spring (2012) commissioned by the Camerata Bern who will premiere the piece this year in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Zaimont’s numerous honors include awards from: the NEA and NEH; the Guggenheim, Bush, and Andrew G. Mellon Foundations; CBDNA; the International Alliance of Women in Music; a United States Artists Fellowship, an Aaron Copland Award; and honors from ASCAP, Meet the Composer and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Also a distinguished educator with a 36-year career, she served on the faculties of CUNY Queens College, the Peabody Conservatory, Adelphi University, and the University of Minnesota.

Zaimont’s discography contains over two dozen CDs on several labels including Naxos, Albany and Navona Records, Harmonia Mundi and Koch International Classics. Her recent discs include “Eternal Evolution” (Navona) performed by The Harlem Quartet and pianist Awadagin Pratt, and the 2012 release “Art Fire Soul: Piano Works of Judith Lang Zaimont” (MSR Classics) with performer Elizabeth Moak showcasing a 2-disc survey of the composer’s piano music.

Born in Memphis and raised in Queens, NY, Zaimont began piano studies at age five and, one year later, entered the Juilliard Pre-College division. At 11, she instinctively began to compose and garnered numerous young composer awards while continuing with her piano training. At 16, she entered CUNY Queens College, and although she worked in class settings with composers George Perle, Hugo Weisgall, and Leo Kraft, she didn’t formally study composition even though her works continued to win prizes and gain recognition. Upon graduation, Zaimont received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and entered Columbia University, where she earned her Masters while studying composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson. At 22, she was awarded a Debussy Fellowship by the Alliance Française, and spent a year in Paris studying orchestration with André Jolivet.

Zaimont is the subject of 18 doctoral dissertations and is a frequent guest at festivals and composer residencies. Her music appears on repertoire lists for major international performance competitions in voice, conducting and piano. Equally skilled as a writer, Zaimont created and edited the series “The Musical Woman: An International Perspective” (Greenwood Press), and her article “Embracing New Music” (American Music Teacher Magazine) was named 2009 Article of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association.