In Tuesday’s (5/5) Wall Street Journal, Barrymore Laurence Scherer writes, “Tonight, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet will be performed at Washington’s Kennedy Center (and at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Va., tomorrow). Written for the famed Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet, the work is possibly the first written for this kind of instrumental grouping, and as such attests to the inventiveness that has made Ms. Zwilich one of America’s most respected composers. Last week’s world premiere performance, in New York, was deeply satisfying. … These and other Zwilich performances are part of the composer’s 70th birthday season (her birthday was April 30), a fact belied by her astonishingly youthful appearance. The first woman composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, in 1983, Ms. Zwilich—a professor at Florida State University—has long been able to live off her royalties and commission fees because her music is not only widely performed, recorded and broadcast, but has achieved genuine popularity among concert audiences. This is because of her music’s honest emotional quality.”

Posted May 6, 2009