Eric M. Pazdziora (b. 1981) is a composer, author, teacher, and pianist. Someone once described his music as “whimsical songs about death,” but that was only half true. However, the Chicago Sun-Times once reviewed his blog and said, “Move over, Andrew Lloyd-Webber. No. Really. Please move over, Mr. Webber.”
Eric holds a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, where he studied with with Dr. Mark Engebretson and Dr. Alejandro Rutty. He has participated in master classes with Liviu Marinescu, Sebastián Zubieta, Martin Gendelman, and Samuel Adler, and is a graduate of the European American Musical Alliance summer composition program in Paris, studying with pupils of Nadia Boulanger. Eric is also a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, where his primary composition teacher was Dr. Edwin T. Childs.
As a composer, Eric combines folk-inspired modal melodies with unexpected rhythms and harmonies, striking a balance between ancient traditions and contemporary concerns. For his M.M. thesis, he collaborated with award-winning author Jane Yolen on a dramatic setting of poems from her book Ekaterinoslav, using an eclectic mixture of musical styles and improvisatory techniques to tell the story of her father’s family’s immigration to America from a Jewish village in Ukraine. He has also composed song cycles to texts by Padraic Colum, John Patrick Pazdziora, Peter McIntyre, George MacDonald, and the Brothers Grimm.
Orchestras, instrumental ensembles, choirs, and soloists have performed Eric’s music in a wide variety of venues. Recent commissions have included choral works, instrumental pieces, art songs, film scores, and incidental music for drama. Two of his choral arrangements have been published: “Mick McGuire” (TTBB + piano) by Alliance Press, and “Angels We Have Heard on High” (SATB acapella) by GIA. In 2004, his orchestral work “Fanfare: Cum Laetitia Magna” was selected as a winner in the DuPage Symphony Orchestra “Fanfare for our Fiftieth” composition contest.
Eric has performed as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for the Folk-Americana band Thornfield, including two CD recordings. He has also worked as a church musician and worship leader in a variety of traditions, most recently at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago.
A freelance author as well as a composer, Eric has published several articles and short fiction on subjects including theology, fairy tales, and humor. His writings have appeared in publications and books including New Fairy Tales, Quivering Daughters, Precepts for Living, and Journal of Ethnodoxology.
Oh, and since you were probably wondering: it’s Polish, and you pronounce it pahzh – DJOR – uh . (Or, if you want the Americanized version, Paz – di – OR – a.)
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