“She really has 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, rock, electroacoustic and freely improvised music. Ammon’s life was forever changed after hearing Jimi Hendrix’ Star Spangled Banner while bouncing along amber waves of grain miles away from home. Two months later, a flutist could be heard playing in the elementary school gymnasium and they thought it sounded like an angel singing. They were also deeply impacted by Tori Amos, Pink Floyd, Rasputina, Amalia Rodrigues, Chavela Vargas and Hildegard von Bingen. They then spent the remainder of their school years in wind band or locked away in Thornton High School’s only practice room.
Ammon’s early years as a musician 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 at Dazzle, premiering the works of local composer such as Janet Spangenberg. With these groups, Ammon performed at celebrations, local venues such as Gypsy House and Mercury Café and once for the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Ammon studied flute with Dr. Michelle Stanley and Dr. Nancy Andrew and fell in love with Miles Davis, Claude Debussy, Toru Takemitsu and Eric Dolphy to name a few. Ammon also began teaching beginning flutists while continuing to perform around Denver and writing their first flute solos: Chromatic Solo and Deep Freeze.
In 2008 Ammon Swinbank attended the National Flute Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico and stumbled across The Other Flute by Robert Dick. Two years later they attended their first Robert Dick masterclass at Cornish College of the Arts where they would receive their Bachelor of Music in 2014. While at Cornish, Ammon studied flute with professor Paul Taub, jazz, composition and improvisation with Jovino Santos Neto and took acoustic jazz ensemble with Wayne Horvitz and Spontaneous Composition with Denny Goodhew. During this time they composed Prelude to the Midnight of a Moonflower for flute, cello and piano and Spectrum for solo flute. Ammon was a part of Hush with Eric Barber at The Chapel Performance Space in Seattle and they also frequently haunted Spite House and Café Racer, hungry to play as much as possible.
Ammon Swinbank holds a Master of Music in Flute Performance from New York University. They studied flute with Robert Dick and composition with Chester Biscardi. While continuing their studies, Ammon also had the chance to perform Anamnese by Hiromi Watanabe at New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival in the summer of 2016. Ammon’s most recent composition is Phantom Orchid (an excerpt can be heard here, which premiered at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn on Friday May 12th 2014.
*Images by SnoStudios Photography
*Ammon prefers the gender neutral pronouns they/them.