Judith Lang Zaimont was born on November 8th, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee. She started piano lessons with her mother, but by age 12, was accepted into the Julliard School of Music where she studied piano with Rosina Lhevinne from 1958 to 1964.
She started composing for the piano at age eleven and won first place from the National Federation of Music Clubs for a piece written when she was only twelve.
Zaimont continued her education and received a bachelor's degree from Queens College in 1968 and a master's degree in 1978 from Columbia University. She has taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Adelphi University, and the University of Minnesota. She is currently retired from teaching, but continues to compose.
Much of Zaimont's compositional style is rooted in Romanticism and Impressionism, as well as including 20th century techniques. She has been influenced by several well-known composers, including Berlioz, Chopin, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, Stravinsky, and Copland. She states, "I prefer textures where there's a lot of 'stuff.' And since I do write melodies, the textures need to be lucid, with surfaces worked sufficiently to characterize the materials. I've been called a Romantic Modernist, and that's pretty accurate."
Zaimont has also done much to draw attention to the challenges of female composers. Although she persistently promotes women composers, she does not like being referred to as a woman composer. "I never heard the term 'adjective-composer' until 1972, when I was on Bob Sherman's radio show in New York, and he asked me what it was like to be a 'woman composer.' There was dead air on the tape right at that spot, because I'd never thought of myself as any kind of adjective composer. I have special observations about being labeled a woman composer, but I keep them to myself."
Many of her 120+ works are prize-winning compositions; these include four symphonies, chamber opera, oratorios and cantatas, music for wind ensemble, vocal-chamber pieces with varying accompanying ensembles, a wide variety of chamber works, solo music for string and wind instruments, and of course, solo piano compositions.
Among her many earlier honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, artist’s grants from both National Endowments (Arts and Humanities), and First Prize in the international 1995 McCollin Competition for Composers (for “Symphony No. 1”, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1996).
Her music has been widely documented (12 doctoral papers to date), and her biography is found in most standard reference works (e.g. New Grove’s). Zaimont works are cited on two “Best of the 20th Century lists” (Chamber Music America; Piano & Keyboard Magazine), and she is the subject both of individual chapters in specialist volumes and major articles in professional journals.
The Banana Song (2003) - The Banana Song is part of Zaimont's piano suite In My Lunchbox, which was commissioned by the Friends of Today's Music program of the Music Teachers' Association of California. This lovely little tune has a definite Caribbean lilt. The melody came to Zaimont one morning as she was whistling out loud.
Central Park (1957) - Central Park is the 4th movement from Zaimont's piano suite titled American City: Portrait of New York. The entire piano suite is notable since it was written when she was only 12 years old. Central Park is a beautifully flowing piece with a unique syncopated middle part.
Reflective Rag (1974) - This piece is part of the suite “Two Rags for Solo Piano.” Zaimont definitely stretches the boundaries of the ragtime form in this composition, but does so with an intense reflective & lyrical beauty.
Locating the Music
List of Piano Compositions
American City - Portrait of New York (1958; revised 2010)
- Rush Hour
- Harbor Fog
- Coffee House
- Central Park
- Garment Factory
Snazzy Sonata (1972)
- Moderate Two-Step
- Lazy Beguine
- Be-Bop Scherzo
- Valse Brilliante
Two Piano Rags (1974)
- Reflective Rag
- Judy's Rag
Calendar Collection (1976)
Solitary Pipes (1977)
Nocturne: La Fin de Siècle (1978)
Black-Velvet Waltz (1983)
Suite Impressions (1994)
- Folk Song
- Jazz Waltz
- Pop Song
Hesitation Rag (1998)
Sonata for Piano Solo (1999)
- Impronta Digitale
Jupiter's Moons (2000)
- The Moons Swim in Orbit
In My Lunchbox (2003)
- Swimming Tuna (Arabesque)
- Celery Stalks!
- The Banana Song (A Whistlin' Tune)
- Mandarin Orange
- Sugar RUSH! (Rondo)
Wizards - Three Magic Masters (2003)
- Spell Caster (Rhetorical)
- Spell Weaver (Lyric)
- Magister - Sorcerer (Energetic)
Hitchin' - A Travellin' Groove (2007)
Cortège for Jack (2010)
The Croquet Game - Complete Chaos! (2015)
The Pure Impure - Three Abstracts for Piano (2015)