|Juilliard School of Music|
Schwantner began his musical study at an early age in classical guitar; this study also incorporated the genres of jazz and folk. He also played the tuba in his high school orchestra. His first compositional aspirations were noticed by his guitar teach who consistently experienced Schwantner elaborating on pieces he would be studying. From this, Schwantner’s teacher suggested he collect these ideas and create his one musical composition. One of his earliest compositions was in the jazz idiom. The piece Offbeats won the National Band Camp Award in 1959. Remaining in Chicago, he continued his musical study in composition to the city’s American Conservatory, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1964. Here, Schwantner studied with Bernard Dieter. He was exposed to and closely explored the music of Debussy, Bartók, and Messiaen. His graduate study also occurred in Chicago, obtaining master of music and doctorate of music degrees in composition from Northwestern University in 1966 and 1968 respectively. At Northwestern, he was guided under the tutelage of Alan Stout and Anthony Donato.