Eric Pazdziora (b. 1981) is a composer, author, teacher, and pianist. A listener once described his music as “whimsical songs about death,” which was fairly accurate. Other reviewers have described it as “fresh, exciting, and well-crafted” (Pastoral Music, 36:5) and “an instant classic” (Global Christian Worship, July 2015). The Chicago Sun-Times reviewed his blog and simply said, “Move over, Andrew Lloyd-Weber. No. Really. Please move over, Mr. Weber.”
As a composer, Eric combines folk-inspired modal melodies with unexpected rhythms and harmonies, striking a balance between ancient traditions and contemporary concerns. For his M.M. thesis, he collaborated with award-winning author Jane Yolen on a dramatic setting of poems from her book Ekaterinoslav, using an eclectic mixture of musical styles and improvisatory techniques to tell the story of her father’s family’s immigration to America from a Jewish village in Ukraine. He has also composed song cycles to texts by Padraic Colum, John Patrick Pazdziora, Peter McIntyre, George MacDonald, and the Brothers Grimm.
Orchestras, instrumental ensembles, choirs, and soloists have performed Eric’s music in a wide variety of venues. Recent commissions have included choral works, instrumental pieces, art songs, film scores, and musical theatre. Two of his choral arrangements have been published: “Mick McGuire” (TTBB + piano) by Alliance Press, and “Angels We Have Heard on High” (SATB acapella) by GIA. His orchestral work “Fanfare: With Great Rejoicing” was selected as a winner in the DuPage Symphony Orchestra “Fanfare for our Fiftieth” composition contest.
Eric is a doctoral student in music composition at the University of Maryland, where he studies with Dr. Mark Wilson. He also holds a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, where he studied with Dr. Mark Engebretson and Dr. Alejandro Rutty, and a Bachelor of Music in composition from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where he studied with Dr. Edwin T. Childs. He has participated in master classes with Liviu Marinescu, Sebastián Zubieta, Martin Gendelman, and Samuel Adler. Additionally, he is a graduate of the European American Musical Alliance summer composition program in Paris, studying with pupils of Nadia Boulanger.
Eric has performed as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for the Folk-Americana band Thornfield, including two CD recordings. He has also worked as a church musician and worship leader in a variety of traditions, most recently at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. His experience as a teacher includes all ages and skill levels from preschool to college, with topics and classes including music theory, ear training, music technology, piano, and composition.
A freelance author as well as a composer, Eric has published several articles and short fiction on subjects including theology, fairy tales, and humor. His writings have appeared in publications and books including New Fairy Tales, Quivering Daughters, Precepts for Living, and Journal of Ethnodoxology.
He has also worked as a singer, a copyeditor, a worship leader, a typographer, an accompanist, an arranger, an orchestrator, a conductor, a tutor, a teacher, a blogger, a software tester, an audio engineer, a voice actor, and a circus clown.
Oh, and since you were probably wondering: it’s Polish, and you pronounce it pahzh – DJOR – uh . (Or, if you want the Americanized version, Paz – di – OR – a.)
Short Bio (160 words)
Eric Pazdziora (b. 1981) is a composer, author, teacher, and pianist. His music, striking a balance between ancient traditions and contemporary concerns, has been published by GIA and Alliance, recorded by several choirs and ensembles, and performed throughout the world. Most recently, he collaborated with award-winning author Jane Yolen for a song cycle and a music drama. Eric is a doctoral student in music composition at the University of Maryland under Dr. Mark Wilson. Additionally, he holds an M.M. in composition from the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, where he studied with Dr. Mark Engebretson and Dr. Alejandro Rutty, and a B.Mus. in composition from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where his primary teacher was Dr. Edwin T. Childs. He has participated in master classes with Liviu Marinescu, Sebastián Zubieta, Martin Gendelman, and Samuel Adler, and is a graduate of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, studying with pupils of Nadia Boulanger. For more information, visit www.ericpazdziora.com.