Gloria Wilson Swisher was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1935. She holds music degrees from the University of Washington, Mills College, and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Her composition teachers were John Verrall, Darius Milhaud, Bernard Rogers, and Howard Hanson. She is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Swisher's compositions include works for solo instruments, solo voices and small ensembles, as well as concerti and compositions for band, wind ensemble, orchestra, and chorus, both accompanied and a cappella. She has written two musicals and three operas, as well as settings of the Service of Holy Communion and choir anthems for church services.
Her music is strongly tonal in its overall harmonic language, with clear rhythmic organization and contrapuntal lines. Many of her compositions were written on commission, and she worked closely with the soloists and/or conductors to ensure that the resulting music was performable as well as challenging.
Swisher's compositions have been published by C. F. Peters, Carl Fischer, Hinshaw and others. She has taught at Washington State University, Pacific Lutheran University, Shoreline Community College, and most recently at the University of Washington. For many years Swisher performed regularly as a duo pianist with Nancy Matesky. Swisher is a founding member of Ars Nova Press, Inc.