HomeInterviewsComposersOtto M. Schwarz: Inside the Music

Otto M. Schwarz: Inside the Music

Otto M. Schwarz is a renowned composer from Austria who creates fantastic music for a range of ensembles including concert band, brass band, flexible band, and works for woodwind and brass ensemble. His works often tell a story and paint a vivid picture for players, taking listeners on a musical journey.  

Having previously collaborated with De Haske Publishing and Mitropa Music, Otto now owns his own publishing company, Symphonic Dimensions. Founded in 2020, Otto releases not only his owns works under this label, but also those of his partners such as Nico Samitz. They also offer high quality recordings by renowned ensembles, with plans for continuous repertoire expansion, including new orchestra works as well as instrumental play-alongs. We caught up with Otto to discuss his background, exciting projects and more.

Interviewer (“I”): Could you tell us about how you got into music and what sparked your interest in composing?

Otto M. Schwarz (“O”): I come from a family of musicians. My father was a music school director and conducted the local brass band. After studying the trumpet, I started composing when I was about 14 years old, first doing pop songs for my own pop band and pieces for brass quintet.

I: With writing music from such a young age, it seems like you were destined for a career in composing. What inspires you when you compose?

O: I often find myself inspired by the environment and significant events throughout time and history. Away from the associative world, I am interested in creating new sound perspectives for wind orchestra. One of my new works is called When Nature strikes back, influenced by contemporary events. In January 2024 I will be releasing a new work called Cyrano about the Frenchman “Cyrano de Bergerac”. I also try to create unique sounds by adding synthesizers and other unique elements to my music.

Listen to When Nature strikes back!

I: It’s interesting to hear how your inspirations tie-in to your compositions, are there any ensembles or genres you enjoy writing for the most?

O: I can’t say that I find one ensemble any more attractive to write for than another, but since the symphony orchestra is the queen of all ensembles, I always enjoy working on symphonic projects a lot. In terms of types of music, I especially love writing in the genre of crossover. As a film composer, you must be able to work in all genres.

I: How did your publishing company, Symphonic Dimensions, come about?

O: Symphonic Dimensions was founded to better meet my needs. I wanted to go in a new direction, together with other composers, placing a greater emphasis on sustainability and high quality in printing and recording.  In any case, I am very pleased to have Hal Leonard Europe / Hal Leonard on board as distributors. You can’t get any better than that.

Symphonic Dimensions

I: Can you tell us about your most recent work, Fascination Fanfare, and what makes it so special?

O: The Fascination Fanfare was commissioned by the Austrian Wind Music Association. There are multiple versions of the piece including: Two versions for symphonic wind orchestra – one for bands at a grade 4 level and the other grade 2, to give more bands the opportunity to perform the piece. This grade 2 version is also available in a marching book format, to allow bands to play this piece at an outdoor concert or occasion. For incomplete ensembles there is a flexible band version featuring 4 parts that can be played with virtually any instrument combination; and for modern wind orchestras there is a grade 4 rock version. Finally, the piece is also available for brass band and fanfare band. It’s my only piece available in 7 versions – definitely a highlight!

Listen to Fascination Fanfare!

I: It certainly sounds like a highlight, having 7 versions is incredible! Having listened to the piece, we think it’s fantastic – have you got any exciting projects coming up?

O: I am fortunate to have a long list of commissions coming up, too many to go into detail about. All of these are exciting though as it is my job as the composer to make this so. For example, I have an upcoming work about Empress Elisabeth of Austria. A brass band commission is just around the corner and a film composition that you can play live with the orchestra using a click track to synchronize the music with the pictures.

I: Very interesting we can’t wait to hear them! One final question – where can people listen to and find your music?

O: My music can be heard and streamed on a range of platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. Scoreplay videos of my works are available via the Hal Leonard Europe YouTube channels (Concert Band | Brass Band), which let you listen to the music while reading the score on screen. My sheet music is available to purchase as full sets or individual scores on Musicroom.

We’d like to thank Otto for his time and be sure to check out all his music available for a range of band and ensembles here.

About Otto M. Schwarz

Otto M. Schwarz

Otto M. Schwarz is an Austrian born composer whose works are played and distributed across over 80 countries with it estimated that over two million CDs of his music have been sold. Otto composes for a range of ensembles including concert band, brass band, flexible band, and works for woodwind and brass ensemble. He has been collaborating with De Haske, Mitropa Music, and Hal Leonard since many years, and even runs his own publishing company now, Symphonic Dimensions Publishing, to release not only his own compositions but also those of his partners such as Nico Samitz.

We’d like to thank Otto for his time and be sure to check out all his music available for a range of band and ensembles here


Fascination Fanfare

Otto M. Schwarz: Fascination Fanfare

Fascination Fanfare — a hymn to passion, to fascination and to generations of music lovers! This dynamic fanfare is a rousing work full of catchy melodies and enthralling sounds. This opening work and the musical signature tune it contains were commissioned by the Austrian Brass Band Association (ÖBV) and will be heard, among other things, at public events as a musical calling card. Available for: Concert Band | Rock Version | Flexible Band

Interested in reading more interviews with composers and artists? Check out other blog posts here!

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