Betsy Schramm’s music has been cited for its “visionary quality”,“impressive lyricism” and has been called “expansive, daring, and unpredictable” (Boston Globe, Buffalo News, Boston Herald). Schramm’s compositions have received numerous professional awards and has been played and broadcast in the U.S. and Europe, in London, New York City, and Boston. The music of Betsy Schramm has been commissioned/premiered by Jane Manning and Jane’s Minstrels, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Ballet, New Millennium Ensemble, Boston Music Viva, Lontano, Ricardo Odriozola, Terry Everson, Carly Johnson, Andrew Sorg, Charles Blandy, Rafael Popper-Keizer, Robert Schulz, Hardwick Chamber Ensemble, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Amelia Hollander Ames, Jill Dreeben, Solar Winds, Mark Ponzo, John Aley, the Craft Ensemble, Cambridge Chamber Players and others. Schramm grew up in a house filled with music. Her mother played the piano, organ, and sang. Her father had a classical record collection which he often played. Every Sunday in church she was drawn to the Bach organ preludes. She studied piano from a young age, sang in church choirs, and took up percussion as a teen. She was drawn to becoming a composer by the music that was always playing in her head.
The Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Hector Guzman, will premiere Schramm's Fantasy for the Dance on the 2023-24 season. Lowell Chamber Orchestra with Maestro Orlando Cela will premiere a new work December 2023 in Lowell and Arlington. Duo Amie, Julie Reimann and Elysses Kuan, will premiere a new work for cello and piano, time and venue TBA. The 2021 Music by Women Festival included Carly Johnson performing Schramm's Suite for Flugelhorn. Schramm’s 1915 Grammy Nominee Eligible CD, Arrays of Light, Mark Records 51731-MCD, features Mark Ponzo performing the brass music of Betsy Schramm, with Greg Beyer, percussion, JeongSoo Kim, piano, David Gauger, trumpet, and Chicago Gargoyle Brass, with Stephen Squires, conductor. The CD Release Concert, at Tsai Performance Center, Boston University, featured Mark Ponzo and Terry Everson. Arrays of Light was funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Ricardo Odriozola premiered her Fantasia and Dances for Solo Violin. Sonata for Viola was premiered by Amelia Hollander Ames. Yelena Beriyeva premiered The Persistence of Memory for solo piano on the Menotomy Concert Series. Drew Ziemba performed Arrays of Light on a Boise Symphony Gala. Betsy Schramm was a member of Lumen Composers and conducted premieres of her works on the Lumen Composers Concert Series. Betsy Schramm currently manages the Menotomy Concert Series at Arlington Town Hall.
BBC Radio3, with Jane Manning and Jane’s Minstrels, produced broadcast recordings of Betsy Schramm’s two song cycles on Hear and Now: and birds are wings (Brian Israel Prize) and while east deserves of dawn. The Naumberg Award-winning New Millennium premiered and leap into the ripe air (an e.e.cummings cycle) at Miller Theatre in New York City. The Minnesota Ballet with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra premiered American Mosaic to critical acclaim: “Comparisons with Aaron Copland were inevitable” (Duluth News Tribune.) The Boston Globe hailed Betsy Schramm’s Alice and the White Rabbit’s Opera as “a highly professional undertaking, and a child who owned a CD of it would benefit from such musical and literary sophistication.” Additional commissions include Sedna: Images of the Alaskan Eskimo, a Barlow Endowment commission premiered by Boston Musica Viva; Q’eros, commissioned by Lontano/ London Arts Board, premiered in London; Arrays of Light, Light Excelleth Darkness, Boston Inspires, Transformations, Suite for Flugelhorn, and Restless Airs for trumpeter Mark Ponzo; The Quickening of a Summer’s Morn, premiered by the Eastman Wind Ensemble; Wings of the Wind, premiered by the Music Fix.
Betsy Schramm earned the Ph.D. in Composition at the Eastman School of Music and received a Fulbright Scholarship for study at Cambridge University and at the English National Opera. Schramm studied composition with Joseph Schwantner, Samuel Adler, and Warren Benson at the Eastman School of Music and Alexander Goehr at Cambridge University. Betsy Schramm earned the Master of Music from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied composition with Karl Korte, Donald Grantham, and played percussion in the New Music Ensemble. Betsy Schramm has been a visiting composer at Harvard University, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Boston College, Northern Illinois University, University of Connecticut and has worked with students of all ages in the local public schools.
Many of Schramm’s works address current issues that are of concern to her. Words of War/Letters of War was written in response to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and uses war poems of American poets Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Carl Sandburg, and narrations of war letters from American soldiers from the Revolutionary War to modern times. In response to 9/11, Schramm’s The Second Coming, uses prayers and chants from four major religions, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam and intertwines these with Yeat’s post WWI poem The Second Coming.
Betsy Schramm has received the Gold Medal Award by the Massachusetts Cultural Council; the Brian Israel Prize; Artist-In-Residence at Harvestworks, Inc./Studio PASS; first prize in the International Trumpet Guild Solo Composition Competition; second prize in the International Trumpet Guild Brass Quintet Composition Competition. Festival performances include the Mars Hill New Music Festival, the International Society of Music Educators 20th New Band Music Symposium, British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, June in Buffalo, International Trumpet Guild, Bowling Green Music and Art Festival, International Trombone Association, Washington State Young Artists Tour, and Summit Brass. Her music has been performed throughout the US and Europe.