Welcome! 

Program notes are essays about classical composers and their works, how those works came to be the way they are, and how one can most readily enjoy and understand the music.  I have been writing program notes for about twenty years, drawing upon two decades of experience as a classical radio announcer, pre-concert/pre-opera speaker,  and a university professor of music. 

My current clients include Encyclopedia Britannica, the Cleveland Orchestra, Mainly Mozart of San Diego, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, the Huntsville Symphony, and various other organizations both in the US and abroad.  I'd be pleased to add you to my client list.  Contact information is below and also on the last page of this website.

On this website, you'll find samples of my work, as well as the current full list of notes in my catalog, including keys and opus/Koechel numbers.  For your amusement, I've also added a 2000 word synopsis of the entire 17-hour-long Ring Cycle by Wagner:  a masterpiece of condensed and focused writing.

At this writing, my program note files contain over 2700 works, ranging from the Renaissance to newly commissioned works.  Although the majority of the listings are for the usual classics, I do not shy away from modern music, and you'll find many works by less familiar composers, both old and new.  I regularly write new notes and have a large research library, so if you don't see the one you need listed, please ask anyway.

The length of the notes that I write varies according to the client's preferences and program space.  One of my clients usually asks for about 850 words per concert; another prefers at least 2800 words. 
I can work with your requirements. 

Fees also vary according to the client, and to the amount of material that is needed.  The client described above that requests about 850 words pays $100 per concert; the 2800 word client pays $250-$300.  Repeat clients who have me write up entire performing seasons get a discount.

Incidentally, current and recent students of the Aspen Music School can contact me about special discounted rates.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Betsy Schwarm

betsy.schwarm@earthlink.net or schwarm@msudenver.edu