Svard has performed throughout the US and in Europe and has recorded for Lovely Music, Ltd., and Composers Recordings, Inc. Her performances often celebrate the avant-garde in piano music, whether in the music of Franz Liszt in the nineteenth century, or in more recent works using multimedia, prepared piano, digital keyboard or microtonal tunings.
Svard holds a doctorate in piano performance from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. She is a tenured member of the faculty at Bucknell University where, in addition to teaching piano, she has also designed and taught interdisciplinary courses on the creative process and on cities and the culture of creativity.
Composer Annea Lockwood writes: "Ear-Walking Woman (1996) is for prepared piano and exploring pianist and uses the classic piano preparations: dimes (to detune strings), screws, wiring insulation sheathing (to create a wood-block like sound when inserted between strings), bubble wrap, a rubber ball and cedar wood mothballs, a ceramic pestle, two round small stones (found on a beach in Greece), a bowl gong, mallets and a glass water tumbler.
The interior of the piano is a rich source of sounds, as many twentieth-century musicians have found. When I started experimenting on my own piano with these objects, I found that even slight changes in the way of producing the sound evoked striking variants in the details of that sound. For example, rocking one of the stones between two sets of strings brings out several pitches and their overtones; a gentle push evokes just a few. Getting the stone to really rock hard brings out those plus higher pitches which gradually fade away as the stone comes to rest, and at times the stone will turn over, setting off a new set of strings and new pitches.
Rather than creating a finished piece for Lois to learn and perform, I have set up the work as an open-ended exploration for her. I have determined the sound sources to be used in each 'phrase', and in performance, she is working with the variations of hand-angle, timing, pressure, etc., and changes which these produce in the sound. I think of this experience as "ear-walking," like a hiker exploring a new landscape and with this piece I am returning to the approach I took with glass, in the Glass Concerts (1966-72)."
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3. Preparation Demos
4. Audio Recording
6. Notes and Bios