“They really have the gift. You can feel it.”
An eclectic flutist and composer whose early music education came in the bunk of a semi-truck, Ammon Swinbank can be heard playing contemporary classical, jazz, blues, electroacoustic and free improvised music. At the age of ten, Ammon’s life was forever changed after hearing Jimi Hendrix’ Star Spangled Banner on the truck’s custom speakers miles away from home. They spent the remainder of their school years in wind band or locked away in the local high school’s only practice room.
Ammon’s years as a budding professional were spent in Denver where they were a part of Railroad Street Jazz West and the flute choir of Metropolitan State University. They were also a guest of local band Still Light. In 2009 they had the opportunity to perform new works by local composers at Dazzle on 9th and Lincoln. Ammon also performed at local venues such as Gypsy House and Mercury Café. They began teaching beginning flutists while continuing to perform around Denver and writing their first flute pieces: Chromatic Solo and Deep Freeze.
In 2014, Ammon received a Bachelor of Music in flute performance from Cornish College of the Arts. Ammon was fortunate to perform at the Seattle Center with the college latin ensemble led by Jovino Santos-Neto. The same year, they performed with Eric Barber as part of Hush at the Chapel Performance Space and with Stephen Fandrich at Spite House. Ammon appeared on stage with Anthony Cammarota and Michaud Savage, and they also formed their own free music ensemble with Katie Levine and Julio Lopez.
Ammon earned two Master of Music degrees from New York University, Steinhardt – one in flute performance (2017) and the other in jazz studies (2018). While attending NYU, they composed pieces such as The Apparition for flute, clarinet and electronics, and jazz tunes such as Phantom Orchid and Lazy Sunday. In 2016, Ammon performed Hiromi Watanabe’s Anamnese as part of the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and Dary John Mizelle’s Silverwind for Make Music New York. Howling Winds, a halloween show for flute, clarinet and electronics was led by Ammon and performed with Blair Perry and Patricia Cardona in 2017.
Over the last year, Ammon performed new works at the National Opera Center with the New York City Composer Circle, and as part of Aarzu, an experimental dance show written and directed by Aliya Kerim and which premiered at Under St. Marks Theatre in the Village. Ammon has also appeared at Spectrum, Scholes Street Studio, Loewe Theatre, and as band leader at Williamsburg Music Center. Big Apple Bonkers, Ammon’s first commercial album, was released on CD Baby in December 2019.
Currently, Ammon is using their powers of creativity to overcome the economic impact of COVID-19 and release a new album for solo flute in October 2020.
*Ammon prefers the gender neutral pronouns they/them.