Welcome to my website. I make music in a wide variety of styles from experimental music in concert halls to fiddle tunes in the subways. You can listen to examples by clicking on the "mp3" link to the left. See below for upcoming events, links to purchase cds and watch videos, and (down at the bottom) my artistic statement.

You can now download my first CD, 7th Ave, from bandcamp by clicking here. Or if you would prefer a hard copy you can click here.

Until July 7, 2014, I will be the in-house violinist and pianist at the historic Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone Park playing from 6pm to 10pm Thursday through Monday evenings. I played at the Inn in 2012 and 2013. It was an incredible experience playing at such a beautiful and amazing place and I met many wonderful people there.

July 11, 2014 at 8pm in the Chapel Performance Spaceat the Good Shepherd Center, Seattle WA, I will be performing with butoh dancer Vanessa Skantze, percussionist Eveline Muller and sound artist noisepoetnobody. I've collaborated with these folks for many years and I'm excited to perform with them again.

July 27, 2014, 8pm, 119 Gallery in Lowell, MA, I will be performing with my friend and artistic collaborator for over 21 years, Lee Todd Lacks.

August 7, 2014 at 9pm at The Tea Lounge (837 Union St., Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY) I'll be performing with Aram Bajakian's Kef with Aram Bajakian (Lou Reed, Diana Krall), guitar, and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (Cyro Baptista, John Zorn), bass. We made a great self titled CD in 2011 and I'm looking forward to playing some new material with these rising stars of the jazz world.

In the fall of 2014, I will be bringing String Power back to The Tea Lounge (837 Union St., Park Slope Brooklyn) for a residency every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 9 to 11pm. I'm working on new material for this 10 piece string ensemble and we will be bringing back some of our classics hits including covers of music by the Velvet Underground, Charles Mingus and more!
To hear samples of String Power and become a fan click here!

Click here to watch my concert Becoming Human on youtube. I was very lucky to have such great musicians joining me on this project. The show took place May 20, 2012 at PS217 in Brooklyn and was funded, in part, by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council Creative Arts Fund.

I'm very excited about Brood of Bau, a collaboration I did with the amazing $.99 Dreams. It is out now after nearly a year in the making.

In 2010 I edited and recorded the music for my family's home movies from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
Click here to watch that project.

In May 2011 at The Stone I presented an eclectic concert of (mostly) solo pieces written for 9 fantastic musician friends of mine. Click here to watch it on youtube.

I played on guitarist/composer Aram Bajakian's great new album, Aram Bajakian's Kef, which is out now on Tzadik and is getting great reviews. Click here to read one.

Click here to watch a funny promotional film from the '60's that I composed new music for.

Click here to watch a video about my life as a subway musician.

Click here to watch a video of a performance of my new piece Suspensions of Disbelief, by the Detour New Music Ensemble at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn.

We had a very successful second performance of my concert, The Real (?) Me at Roulette on March 19, 2010. Gelsey Bell did an outstanding performance of This is the Real Me, which I wrote in collaboration with Gelsey. Lee Todd Lacks did a bang up job with the hatemail piece, Your (so called) 'Music' and Matt Crane and I tore it up on some improvised duo extrapolations of themes from This is the Real Me. Click here to read an interview about that concert. Click here to read program notes and see videos from the November 15 performance of this concert.

I perform with folk musician Andrew James Jr., my own 12 piece group String Power (to hear samples and become a fan click here!), the violin/percussion duo Golden Crackers and in various other solo and ensemble contexts. I can also be heard busking in the NYC subway stations.

My Artistic Statement:
My goal is to create clear music that communicates directly and genuinely. I don't like slick music that has been edited and perfected artificially. I like all the subtle nuances, scratches, 'mistakes' that happen naturally and I think that this is a big part of what makes music expressive.

I am continually searching for my own way to combine all of the vastly different types of music I have played into one personal style. But music is about much more than any individual person. For me, music is about connection between musicians, between musician and composer, between musician and audience and between every person that has created music throughout human existence. Music is organic. A tune takes on increasing layers of meaning every time it is played. People may have completely opposing interpretations depending on what associations they have with a particular piece or style. Any assessments of the quality of a musical style are subjective. Everyone values music differently, depending on their experience.

I want people to feel as though they have been taken somewhere when I play. I want to challenge people; this is when they are moved. Otherwise the music becomes like wall paper, in the background and not really noticed. But at the same time, music can be like a foreign language; you might appreciate the sound of it for a moment but you tune it out after a while because you cannot understand. Either way nothing is being communicated.

I know what is like to move people with music. This feeling is immensely rewarding and when this happens, when people are genuinely affected by music, it is because both musician and audience are so engaged that they forget their egos and tap into something greater. The person in the audience, the musician on stage and the composer are all joined together and become part of music's endless stream.-Tom Swafford 2007

Copyright © 2007 Tom Swafford All rights reserved. Designed by Tony Greaves