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NYWC Spotlight: Faye-Ellen Silverman

We are excited to continue our collaboration with the New York Women Composers. This month, we spotlight Faye-Ellen Silverman.

Faye-Ellen Silverman

Faye-Ellen Silverman. Photo courtesy Faye-Ellen Silverman.

Bio and other notes from Faye-Ellen:

Faye-Ellen Silverman began studying at the Dalcroze School of Music shortly before her fourth birthday. At age 13 she won the Parents’ League Composition contest, judged by Leopold Stokowski, resulting in her Carnegie Hall debut. Her compositions (about 100) are published by Seesaw Music, a division of Subito Music Corp., and recorded on several music labels, including Albany records. She has received awards from UNESCO, the National League of American Pen Women, and ASCAP, and has been awarded residencies at the Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), the Macdowell Colony, Villa Serbelloni (Italy), VCCA, VCCA Le Moulin å Nef (France), and Yaddo.

She has received numerous commissions including those from the Greater Lansing Symphony and the American Brass Quintet. Silverman is a Founding Member of Music Under Construction, a Founding Board Member of the International Women’s Brass Conference, and is Secretary of the Board of NYWC (New York Women Composers).  She is currently on the faculties of Juilliard (Extension Division) and New York University (Steinhardt) and teaches privately. Further information is available at

My works draw inspiration from a variety of sources. Many of my compositions incorporate aspects of my Jewish heritage, such as my opera The Miracle of Nemirov (my doctoral dissertation). Knowledge of Jewish secular music goes back to my childhood. Other works have evolved from my commitment to free speech, as seen in my work A Free Pen, written in 1990, and an early work for female chorus, “For Showing Truth,” written in 1972.

My service as a founding Board member of the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) has inspired the creation of several brass works. Many of my compositions are for solo, chamber, and vocal genres, but I also enjoy writing for choir, orchestra, and other large mediums, and always like the challenge of composing for ensembles that are new to me.” – Faye-Ellen Silverman

Featured Work: “Translations” for violin and cello


  • Title: “Translations”
  • Composer: Faye-Ellen Silverman
  • Year of Composition: 2004
  • Instrumentation: violin and cello
  • Movements: 1
  • Duration of Work: 6′
  • Number of Measures: 148
  • Number of pages: 8
  • Tempo: varies with each section
  • Difficulty Level: Advanced/Professional
  • Highest Position Reached: thumb
  • Techniques Employed: 6/4, 5/4, 4/4, and 3/4 time signatures; bass, treble, and tenor clefs; triplets; harmonics; glissandos; double- and triple-stops; col legno battuto; con sordino; pizzicato
  • Publisher: Seesaw, a division of Subito Music
  • Where to Purchase the Score: (entire online store)
  • Cost of Score*: $17.95


You can purchase a recording here.

Program Notes

Philip A. De Simone commissioned Translations in memory of his friend Linda J. Warren. He chose the title as a tribute to her talent for linguistics. The title, one of whose meanings is transformation, is reflected in the work in several ways.

This short, multi-sectional work opens with the instruments in octaves, but their usual order is reversed. The cello is above the violin, in an intense range, while the violin begins with a passage on its lowest string. This gives the simple, lyrical melody an unusual coloring.

The cello adds a mute towards the end of the section, subtly transforming the color. Throughout, the violin and cello exchange material (but with variations – translations). At the work’s end, the C#, which opened the work by moving up a half step, now resolves down to C.

This uses the idea of translation (in the archaic sense of the word) from life to death, from the frenzy of this world to peace. It is hoped that this composition, meant as a living memorial, expresses the warmth and complexity that was the essence of Linda, as well as the ongoing love of and by her friends.” – Faye-Ellen Silverman

Faye-Ellen Silverman’s Other Works with a Prominent Cello Part

  1. Azure Skies for violin, cello, and harp (1993) c. 7 1/2’
  2. Connections for clarinet, cello, and marimba (1994) c. 11’ Based on a Passover melody
  3. For Him for flute, cello, and vibraphone (1975) 10’ For Otto Luening on his 75th birthday
  4. Let’s Play for string quartet (2007) c. 11’
  5. Paula’s Song for string quartet (1996) c. 9’ Dedicated to my mother
  6. Reconstructed Music for violin, cello, and piano (2002) c. 7 1/2’
  7. String Quartet (Untitled) (1976) c. 9’
  8. Obsessions for cello and piano (1999) c. 9′
  9. Yet For Him for flute, cello, and piano (1980) c. 10’ For Otto Luening on 80th Birthday

How to Contact Faye-Ellen Silverman

A Collaboration with the New York Women Composers (NYWC)

The NYWC series at the Cello Museum was created to showcase its members who have composed various pieces for cello, informing cellists seeking new music to add to their repertoire, and helping listeners find new favorites. Many thanks to the NYWC for this wonderful collaboration.

Read other installments in the series here.

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*Prices are accurate at the time of article publication, but the Cello Museum cannot take responsibility for subsequent price changes.