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Jay Schwartz was born in San Diego, California, USA, in 1965. He studied piano and composition at Arizona State University, where he graduated in 1989, after which he received a scholarship for doctoral studies in musicology at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

From 1992-1995 he was assistant composer in residence for incidental music at the Staatstheater in Stuttgart. He has composed for numerous music theater and dance theater pieces, for film, and for concert music in Europe and has created sound installations for prestigious international venues. His music has been commissioned by and performed at renowned festivals such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Venice Biennale, the Ultraschall Festival Berlin, the International Computer Music Conference in Sweden, and various contemporary music festivals and venues in Berlin, Dresden, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Vienna.

His pieces have been performed and commissioned by acclaimed orchestras and ensembles such as the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale RAI, the Staatskapelle Weimar, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Aventure, the Neue Vocalsolisten, and the Raschér Saxophone Quartet. In 2000 he won the Bernd-Alois-Zimmermann-Prize for composition from the city of Cologne, Germany.

He is a three-time recipient of the Strobel-fellowship for electronic music from the Southern German Broadcasting Corp. (SWR). He received the Nachwuchsauszeichnung (rising artist prize) from Ensemble Modern and the International Society of New Music in 1997. His instrumental and orchestral works were recently chosen by the Deutscher Musikrat (Germany's National Board of Music) to be released on CD by the label Wergo in 2007.

Additional upcoming activities include a sound-installation at the international art festival documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, as well as commissions by the Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir Stuttgart and by the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt. His works are published and represented by Universal Edition in Vienna, London and New York. He currently resides in Cologne, Germany.

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