Chamber Music


"... 3: 4, 5 ..."
(1997) - View discography entry
I: Blend
II: Brio: The Mad Dance
III: Elegy

For oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and contrabass
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
Commissioned by Jeanné, Inc. for the International Double Reed Society.
First performance: International Double Reed Society annual conference, Chicago - June 1997.

A remarkably effective work by a major American composer perhaps just reaching the height of her powers. This piece is skillfully constructed, listener accessible, and yet retains a sense of fresh newness about it throughout. Its first movement, Blend , shows a strong timbral imagination and has a remarkably effective closing in which the unusual presence of the bass in an ensemble of this size is exploited to the instrument's depths. The Mad Dance is a tour de force of technical display for the ensemble. The pieces closes with a moving and at times tender Elegy, which conveys an unmistable American character... This work is a major contribution to chamber music for winds and strings which hopefully will be heard frequently in concert halls worldwide.
-- William Nichols, The Clarinet

ASTRAL... a mirror life on the astral plane... (2004; 2009) - View discography entry

For Solo Clarinet / Solo Alto Saxophone / Solo Violin / or Solo Viola (8:30+)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
“Rhapsodic in its construction and effect.” – Canfield

“A very substantial work, elaborated with evident taste and musicality. It is difficult, and demands to be taken seriously, while offering a considerable challenge to the performer, who is even expected to sing or hum at times.  I strongly recommend the piece….”  -- Simmons, FANFARE>

“The rhythms are compelling and the way the work milks chromatic tensions produces some exquisite effects…. Consistently inventive and accomplished.”
 -- MusicWeb  International

ASTRAL is largely unmetered, and its varying segments call upon high degrees of both technical and expressive prowess from the soloist. The emotional trajectory of this eight-minute+, contemplative movement is roughly equivalent to one very long phrase.

A sharply rhythmicized motive -- exploring the chromatic tensions of varying thirds above and below the central pitch (sounding middle C ) -- anchors each of the eleven stages which mark the movement’s progress. Throughout there is considerable chromatic tension, and many subsidiary phrases conclude without formal resolution. The clarinet’s registers are explored slowly one by one during the phrase’s upcurve (ultimately covering a range of three-and-one half octaves), but blend together in the final stages. At the close the soloist hums while playing.

Concerning the eleven ‘stages’ of the central motive: In numerology, 11 in its purest form stands for "healing the fallen nature", or subduing humanity’s animal nature by means of strength of innocence, faith, purity, beauty, goodness, love and affection. Eleven therefore represents the kind of mental, emotional and physical state that it will take to raise consciousness to its highest (holy) level.

"Bubble-Up" Rag (2001) - View discography entry

Concertpiece for Flute and Piano (9:45)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
*Commissioned for premiere at the 2001 convention of the National Flute Association
First Performance: Nat’l Flute Assoc., Dallas TX August 2001: Mary Lee Cochran, flute, Wesley Beal, pno.
Other Performances: College Music Society annual convention, Nov. 2001 (Santa Fe), and fall 2001 tour Cochran/Beal; National Flute Association - Karen Moratz, 2005

“…Probably the best new piece for flute and piano that I've heard in a long time...”
-- AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE ~ November / December 2007

“Abundant charm and pizzazz.”       
--All Music Guide

“A delightful jeux d’esprit.  Wonderfully light but urgent in its  vivacious rhythms.   It deserves a place in the received canon of pieces for this combination of instruments . “
-- MusicWeb International

Capriccio (1971)

For solo flute (4')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
* Winner Pittsburgh Flute Club Competition Prize
First Performance: American Center - Paris, France
Other Performances: CUNY Graduate Center; Univ. of Wisconsin - Steven's Point; Eau Claire; Adelphi University; Agnes Scott College

Dance/Inner Dance (1985) - View discography entry

For flute, oboe, cello (11')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
Commissioned by the Huntingdon Trio
* Winner ILWC Competition (Ireland) 1989 and Friends and Enemies of New Music Competition (USA) 1990
First Performance: July 1985
Other Performances: National Musical Arts; Musical Accord; International Double Reed Society (Baton Rouge); National Theatre (Dublin); Carnegie Hall; Artists International; Univ. of Alabama - Huntsville;

" A composer worthy of broader recognition is Judith Lang Zaimont, whose high-voltage 'dance/innerdance' closed the program. This work weaves constantly shifting textures, colors and rhythms into a glittering, scherzo-like and seamless web that proved completely satisfying. "
-- The Washington Post

" Skillfully wrought, a sprightly trio full of conversational interplay. "
-- The New York Times

De Infinitate Caeleste (Of the Celestial Infinite) (1980)

For string quartet (18')
Finalist Fourth Kucyna International Competition (1988)
Publisher: Composer

Doubles (1993; 2008) - View discography entry

For oboe and Piano / or Soprano Saxophone and Piano (11:30)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
* Cited on Century List ( 100 Great American Works ), Chamber Music America
Commissioned by Lisa Kozenko with assistance from the Minnesota Composers Forum
First Performance: Weill Hall, New York, NY March 1993
Other Performances: International Double Reed Society; Chamber series - Philadelphia, PA; College Music Society; Society of Composers International; Univ. of Minnesota; National Museum of Women in the Arts; Banff Festival

" Zaimont's 'Doubles', a very pretty one-movement work with a rewarding and complex interplay between oboe and piano "
-- The Washington Post

" Doubles is an effective showpiece for oboe. "
-- Fanfare

Dramatic Fanfare (1987)

For brass nonet
Publisher: composer
Commissioned for the 50th Anniversary of Queens College of the City University of New York
First Performance: Queens College, November 1987

Folk-Song Fantasy (1998)

For clarinet quartet: 2 Bb cls., 1 alto, 1 bass clarinet.
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.

From the Folk (2004; 2010)

I. Song

For Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Bassoon, or Clarinet Quartet (Eb, 2 Bb, Bass) (9')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
* Commissioned by the Hoff-Barthelson School/Copland House for Contemporary Music Festival 2004.
Premiere May 2004.

Although the melodies and harmonies of this piece are entirely original and refer to no distinct source, in these two movements I aim to celebrate a kind of music I’ve always loved -- folk music, and emphasize musical aspects generally though of as ‘folk-like’. The two most distinct and clearest emphases are on sweet melody, streaming ahead without undue pressure or distortion; and zesty pulse, dancing past continuously in lively, extrovert manner.

- keep players and listeners at all time ‘on their toes’.
Grand Tarantella (1970)

For violin and piano (5'30")
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
* Winner of Delius Competition Prize
First Performance: Jacksonville University May 1970
Other Performances: University of Kansas - Lawrence; University of Minnesota

Hidden Heritage: A Dance Symphony (1987) - View discography entry

For flute/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet/tenor saxophone, electric piano, amplified cello, percussion (32:00)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Baltimore Dance Theatre/Baltimore Museum of Art, through a grant from the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, with additional funding from the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture
First Performances: Baltimore Museum of Art, June 6-7,1987
Other Performances: Columbia, Maryland; Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania; Polaris Ensemble

"An excellent work, its disparate elements fused with remarkable skill. Indeed, listening to Zaimont's music, one often thinks that if a common musical language could exist in the late 20th century, it might sound like this."
-- Baltimore Sun

"A dramatic brilliance suitable for its stage origins. ...Each scene is complete within itself."
-- Fanfare

"Fascinating renditions of visual images... Right away it grabs our attention with its clanging bells, hot and cool woodwinds ... it flaunts its tight structure and jazziness."
-- Classical disCDigest

Lazy Beguine (2007) - For Society Orchestra, arr.  David ReffkinView discography entry

For:  clar., cornet, piano, drums, vln, vla, cello, bass (4:30)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
American Ragtime Ensemble, San Francisco CA.

“Lazy Beguine is hauntingly beautiful”
-- Jack Rummel, RAGTIMERS.ORG - June 2007.

Même (1993)

For flute, B-flat clarinet, violin and 2 cellos ( 11:00 )
Publisher: C. F. Peters
Commissioned by Sigma Alpha Iota
First Performance: SAI National Convention, Cincinnati, OH, August 1993

Music For Two (1971)
various pitch levels - tailored per duo

For any two treble or bass wind, string, wind/brass instruments (14')
Revised version for two bass-clef instruments, 1985
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
First Performance: September 1971
Revised Version First Performance: (for bass instruments): Peabody Conservatory, February 1985

PARALLEL PLAY for Saxophone Quartet (1998)

I: Fanfare
II: Folksong
III: Folderol

For soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
Commissioned by University of Wisconsin - River Falls - "1999 Commissioned Composer"
First Performance: Resident sax quartet - Univ. of WI
Other performances: Fiuggi Festival 1999 (Italy); Adolphe Sax Quartet - NY; Zagreb Quartet; Presidio Quartet; CASE Quartet

Recording by Presidio Saxophone Quartet:   February  2008.

Piano Trio: Russian Summer (1989) - View discography entry

For piano, violin and cello (30')
Commissioned for the 10th Anniversary of the Skaneateles Festival
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
First Performance: Skaneateles Music Festival, August 1989
Other Performances: International Congress on Women in Music; Eaken Trio, National Public Radio; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; National Museum of Women in the Arts

"The music is handsomely turned with flashes of brilliance from the keyboard. There are no arid passages, nor is there any padding at all. Zaimont has enriched the literature."
-- Syracuse Post-Standard

"'Nocturne' offers gorgeously dissonant melodies, paid out over melancholy piano droplets, while the 'Romp' is just that -- a wild, fiddler-spurred dance."
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Exceptionally well written for its instruments, it explores an attractively wide range of materials without being unduly dominated by any of them. The composer's flexibility in managing always interesting textures, in fact, is one of this piece's chief charms. Another is the way Zaimont integrates wide-ranging instrumental colors into the music's structure. The net result is an exceptionally ingratiating work, pleasing without ever being merely 'eager to please.' It was full of variety and engaging ideas, and it fully deserved the warmth with which it was received by the large audience."
-- Syracuse Post-Standard

"Adroitly balanced..., a powerful indication of Zaimont's compositional abilities."
-- Classical Pulse! Number 23, Tower Records

Prelude (1992)

For flute, oboe and cello (6')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by the Huntington Trio

Reflective Rag (2001) View discography entry

For  flute and piano, arranged by the composer  (4')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
*Commissioned for premiere at the 2001 convention of the National Flute Association
First Performance: Nat’l Flute Assoc., Dallas TX August 2001: Mary Lee Cochran, flute, Wesley Beal, pno.
Other Performances: College Music Society annual convention, Nov. 2001 (Santa Fe), and fall 2001 tour Cochran/Beal; National Flute Association - Karen Moratz, 2005  others

“[Reflective Rag] is wistful, lyrical - a beautiful remembrance of ragtime that moves me.”
-- AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE ~ November / December 2007

Reflective Rag (2003)

For clarinet and piano, arranged by the composer (4:20)

Publisher:  Subito Music Corp. / Jeanné, Inc.

Reflective Rag  (2007)   -  For Society Orchestra, arr.  David Reffkin View discography entry

For  fl, cl, cornet, trbn, piano, drums, 2 vln, vla, cello, bass.( 4:00)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
First Performance:  American Ragtime Ensemble, San Francisco CA.

SERENADE (arranged for Violin and Organ) (2007)
View discography entry
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
First Performance: April 2008 (Carson Cooman, organist)

SERENADE (arranged for Violin, Cello and Piano) (2008) View discography entry

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
*Awarded First Prize, Third Millennium Ensemble competition, April 2012

First Performance: Cincinnati College Conservatory
Melissa White, violin, Paul  Wiancko, cello, Awadagin Pratt, piano
December 2010.
Other performances:  Darmstadt  May 2011

“Serenade, a lovely 5-minute piece that demonstrates just how capable Zaimont is of writing a straightforwardly pretty, lyrical, tonal melody. “ -   Simmons. FANFARE

Sky Curtains: Borealis Australis (1984) - View discography entry

For flute, clarinet, bassoon, viola, cello (22')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
* Winner Georgia State University Centennial Competition
First Performance: North/South Consonance, November 1984
Other Performances: Georgia State University Contemporary Ensemble, University of Kansas Ensemble, American Chamber Ensemble

"Sky Curtains is full of kaleidoscopic color. Particularly memorable was Zaimont's idiomatic and highly effective wind writing."
-- Atlanta Constitution

"An impressionist tone poem depicting the two polar Auroras with shimmering lines that shift in and out of focus, a La Mer for the atmosphere. Close your eyes and you will see it."
-- Classical disCDigest

"Winds and strings play as an united ensemble, as a pair of contrasting sonorities, and in solo roles. This music has an ecstatic spirit. "
-- Fanfare

Sonata-Rhapsody (2010)

1. Nocturne (Romantic)
     - Thinking 1 -
2. Aria (Sad)
    - Thinking 2 -
3. Dance (Twisted)

For violin and piano ( 24:00 )
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.

A fully-rounded work for two strong players. Three large movements in differing modes, atmospheres are separate by two free, short, astringent intermezzi - the traditional and the exploratory flourish side-by-side. Nocturne’s theme grows from the motif of a rising second. The Aria is a full-throated lament, unresolved. In Dance sharp corners and multi-meters abound, and the piano’s accents include knocking on the instrument case.

SPIRALS for String Trio (2000)

I: The Spiral (Ancient Song)
II: Whirligig
III: A Closed Fist
IV: Entropy
V: The Rose
VI: Chambered Nautilus

For violin, viola and ‘cello (30:00)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
* Millennium commission from Chamber Music America.
First Performance: Ensemble Capriccio at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Apr. 2000.
Other: “A Closed Fist” reproduced as emblematic work in the College Music Society’s Reflections on American Music - The Twentieth Century and The New Millennium, Pendragon Press, November 2000.

"Based on the image of movement inherent in the spiral, the music coils and uncoils through six movements. The serpentine motif winds its way through tonal movements that are juxtaposed with a wealth of tone clusters and chromatic inflections. It is not easy music, but it held the audience captivated."
-- William Randall Beard, St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 8, 2000

String Quartet – The Figure (2007) - View discography entry
I:  In Shadow II: In Bright Light (16:30)

Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
**Commissioned by the Anderw W. Mellon Foundation
First Performance: Harlem Quartet, Syracuse University.
Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, September 15-17, 2007.

The Figure” (2007), Judith Lang Zaimont’s quartet, is concerned with the way a musical line — the “figure” of the title — can waft through a work, sometimes varied, sometimes without variation but with different character and coloration. The figure itself, graceful and consonant, is inviting enough to sustain this kind of exploration, and Ms. Zaimont makes the most of it: in relatively quick succession she takes her theme through driven, rhythmically involved, darkly introspective and sweetly lyrical episodes, often weaving textures around it that are more fascinating than the figure itself.“
 -- Allan Kozinn, NY Times  July 2011

“Achieves a brilliant blend of the dramatic, the emotional, the philosophic, the quixotic and the lyrical.”                        – Canfield, FANFARE

'TANYA' - Three Poems for Cello (1998) - View discography entry

I: Couplet
II: Sestina
III: Envoi

Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Tanya Remenikova
First Performance: Ted Mann Hall, Minneapolis - Feb. 2000
Other Performances: National Cello Congress, San Francisco
Sound files on the Internet at

“Compelling and consistent.”     
-- All Music Guide

“Grandeur and power, finely articulated.”  
--MusicWeb International

Valse Romantique (1972) - View discography entry

For solo flute (4'40")
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
First Performance: Great Neck Library, NY - May 1975
Other Performances: CUNY Graduate Center; Univ. of Wisconsin - Steven's Point; Eau Claire; Adelphi University; Agnes Scott College

“Charm and elegance.”    
--MusicWeb International

Verse   (2006)
For violin solo   (2:00)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
First Performance:  New York Miniaturist Ensemble

When Angels Speak (1987) - View discography entry

Fantasy for woodwind quintet (11')
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
Commissioned by the Vox Nova Woodwind Quintet
First Performance: Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, February 1988
Other Performances: Roerich Museum; American Symphony Orchestra League; Manhattan School of Music

"The piece begins and ends with imposing octaves, but at its heart seems to be a kind of heavenly gossip, with the angels graciously, sometimes lyrically, nattering on about this and that. It is well conceived for the instruments and goes down pleasantly; the final impression stronger than pleasantness: there is feeling in the discourse as well, but it is not insisted upon."
-- The New York Times

Wind Quintet No. 2 - " Homeland " (2001)

I: Forest into Fields
II: Echo (Intermezzo)
III: Meditation and Dance

For flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon (16:50)
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
*Commissioned for the Bergen Wind Quintet (Norway) by the Minnesota Commissioning Club
First Performance: Ted Mann Hall, Minneapolis October 2001
Other Performances; Greig Hall, Bergen (Norway)

One hears a wonderful flow of imagination... A French sensibility and sense of play and color can be discerned throughout her music in addition to an American strong dramatic profile, rhythmic exuberaqnce, and a wonderful sense of color -- both timbral and harmonic. This is a work recommended for both college-level and professional ensembles.
-- Bruce Creditor, Quintessence in The Clarinet, No. 26

Winter Music (1985)

For brass quintet (2 trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba) (5')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by the University of Kansas at Lawrence
First Performance: Kansas University Brass Quintet, March 1985
Other Performances: Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania

ZONES [Piano Trio No. 2] (1994) - View discography entry

For piano, violin and cello ( 32')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by the University of Alabama - Huntsville for its Silver Anniversary
First Performance: Huntsville Chamber Music Society Recital, November 1994 The Contreras Trio
Other Performances: Manhattan School of Music, Network for New Music (Philadelphia), University of Minnesota

"Beautiful music, enthusiastically recommended... The opening of ZONES, a piano trio based on the idea of cold, warm and temperate climates, is virtually a reverse trip through the major developments of twentieth-century harmony, starting with a spicy, dissonant, severely angular music that becomes gradually more consonant until it reaches the tonal lushness of Zaimont's own chosen idiom, one rich in flowing, evocative melody. It all happens in under a minute and the effect is remarkable..."
-- John Story, High Fidelity, Volume 20 No. 5

"Ear-tickling sonorities, bristling with ideas; ... passionate energy and commitment [in] music aware of the past and building on it in a post-modern way."
-- The Huntsville Times

"This mini-epic incorporates sudden mood shifts, lengthy solo excursions, juiced with surprisingly ripe and unexpected lyricism ... a wild spectrum of instrumental colors and textural juxtapositions."

-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune


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