. . .  
Rick Sowash . . . Eroica
composer & author . . .
books cds sheet music visiting author store contact home
. . .


338 Milton Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
E-mail address: rick@sowash.com

An "Outsider Composer": What sets me apart from almost all other composers is that I am not an academic and until recently have not lived in a major metropolitan area. I have made my way outside the mainstream, and yet I have made my way. One hears of "outsider painters", folk artists who work skillfully and meaninfully outside the world of galleries and museums and academe. I am an "outsider composer."


COMPOSER of ca. 165 musical works of "serious" concert music.

SPEAKER-HUMORIST, performing 100 engagements annually for a wide variety of audiences and publishing short humorous writings in Ohio Magazine and elsewhere. Subject of a 60-minute public television documentary.

AUTHOR of Critters, Flitters & Spitters, Hereos of Ohio, Ripsnorting Whoppers: Humor from America's Heartland, two novels, a book of family reminiscences, a non-fiction book on reading choices and numerous essays, both humorous and serious. Discoverer and EDITOR of a 'lost' book of essays and poems by Connecticut author Odell Shepard, 1884-1967. Also several magazine articles for Ohio Magazine.

SILENT FILM ACCOMPANIST, providing live, improvised film scores on the piano for silent film classics at cultural centers, colleges, resort areas and historic theatres. Performed with Lillian Gish in 1982. Presented festivals of American silent film classics at the Taipei Culture Center, Republic of China in 1988 and 1990.

PRODUCER of compact disc recordings, independently and also with Gasparo Records of Jaffrey NH.


1991- to the present. full-time freelance speaker, humorist, writer and composer.

1994 - author of RIPSNORTING WHOPPERS! HUMOR FROM AMERICA'S HEARTLAND, published by Gabriel's Horn Publishing of Bowling Green, OH.

1987-1990. COUNTY COMMISSIONER, Richland County, Ohio's 15th largest county.

1980-1986. Founding EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of Renaissance Theatre, Inc., a non-profit corporation operatoring the Renaissance Theatre, a 1500-seat movie palace revived as a multi-use entertainment center, in Mansfield, Ohio.

1980-1988. DEVELOPER and CO-PROPRIETOR, with wife, of The Frederick Fitting House, a bed-and-breakfast country inn, in Bellville, Ohio.

1978-1980. BROADCASTING PRODUCER at WOSU-FM, a public radio station with an arts format in Columbus, Ohio.

1976-1978. Part-time LEARNING DISABILITIES TUTOR for Madison Local Schools and Clear Fork Valley Local Schools, Richland County, Ohio.

1973-1976. CHURCH MUSIC DIRECTOR at First English Lutheran Church, Mansfield, Ohio.


Bachelor of Science (1973) in Music Composition and Comparative Literature, a double major, from a prestigious American School of Music which I hated so much that I refuse to name.


Avid husband, father, hiker, traveler, reader, cook, woodworker, flower gardener, juggler, folklorist, actor, play-goer, concert-goer and writer of angry letters to Congress.

Member of The American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers, The American Music Center, The Appalachian Trail Conference, and The Sierra Club.


The name derives from the French word "sauvage", meaning "of the woods" or "natural" or "wild" in the sense of wild strawberries or wild mushrooms. The Sauvage family is one of the oldest in Picardy, France but my Huguenot ancestors fled Catholic persecution in that country, departing first for Holland, and later England. My ancestor Johannes Sauvage immigrated to Boston in 1737. When his descendants moved to Pennsylvania in the 1840's, the name was changed to "Sowash", probably to render pronunciation easier for the Pennsylvania Dutch. The French word "sauvage" also has a long etymology, deriving from the latin word "sylva" and ultimately from the Homeric Greek word "ule" which Homer used to refer simply to "wood" but which Aristotle used to refer to "the primal stuff of the universe."


I appear to be the only American composer ever to be elected to public office.   Until recently, I believe I was, with the sole exception of Ignace Paderewski, who was President of Poland, the only composer of serious concert music ever to be elected to a public office anywhere.  However, now that composer Ivo Josipovic has been elected President of Croatia, there appear to have been three of us in all of human history.   :-)


. . . . .