Maria Schneider (musician)
Maria Schneider at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, 2008
|Birth name||Maria Lynn Schneider|
|Born||November 27, 1960|
Windom, Minnesota, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, big band, avant-garde, contemporary classical|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, bandleader, musician|
|Associated acts||Dawn Upshaw|
Born in Windom, Minnesota, Schneider studied music theory and composition at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1983, then earned a master's degree in Music in 1985 from the Eastman School of Music, studying for one year as well at the University of Miami. After leaving Eastman, she was hired by Gil Evans as his copyist and assistant.
She collaborated with Evans for the next few years, working with him on music for a tour with Sting and assisting him as he scored the film The Color of Money. Before she became one of the most acclaimed composers and bandleaders of her generation, Schneider received an NEA Apprenticeship Grant to study with Bob Brookmeyer in 1985.
In 1988, Schneider formed her first band in collaboration with her then-husband, jazz trombonist John Fedchock, and that group appeared at Visiones in Greenwich Village. Both that group and her marriage would dissolve, but Schneider followed up in 1992 by forming the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, which would appear weekly at Visiones from 1993 until the venue closed in 1998. Albums by the group have been released as by the Maria Schneider Orchestra since 2000.
Since 2005, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed an annual Thanksgiving week-long gig at the Jazz Standard in New York City. The orchestra has also performed at jazz festivals and concert halls in Europe, South America, and Asia. Schneider has performed with over 80 groups in over 30 countries and has taught at universities worldwide. In 2013, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
Although three of the orchestra's albums had been previously nominated, Schneider's Concert in the Garden (2004) was the first to win a Grammy Award. It was also the first such award-winning album produced by ArtistShare, a fan funded platform that has (as of 2017) received 30 Grammy Award nominations and 10 Grammy Award wins.
Aside from her jazz orchestral works, Schneider's Winter Morning Walks (2013) album featured soprano Dawn Upshaw, the Saint Paul and Australian Chamber Orchestras, bassist Jay Anderson, pianist Frank Kimbrough, and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson. The album accompanied poetry written by U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and was funded by ArtistShare. It won Schneider a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Dawn Upshaw also won a Grammy for her vocal performance, while the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Classical award went to David Frost, Tim Martyn, and Brian Losch.
Advocacy for musicians
Schneider has been a strong advocate for musicians' rights and copyright. She has testified before Congress, and has been asked to participate in several round tables conducted by the United States Copyright Office. Schneider has been outspoken against YouTube and so-called "freemium" streaming models. She has published several open letters and white papers on these topics.
Schneider has been a board member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for the New York local chapter and has been involved in many of the NARAS advocacy initiatives, including Grammys on the Hill. In April 2014, on behalf of NARAS, Schneider testified on Section 512 of Section 17 before the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.
Schneider's advocacy against big data companies and their impact on music, culture and privacy is reflected in some of her compositions of the late 2010s, including pieces entitled "Data Lords", commissioned by the U.S. Library of Congress (2016); "Don't Be Evil"; and "Sputnik". Several of these compositions appeared on the 2020 album Data Lords.
Schneider is an avid birdwatcher and enlisted band members to contribute bird calls to "Cerulean Skies" on her album Sky Blue. Other bird-related songs on her albums include "Waxwing" on Coming About, "Bird Count" on Days of Wine and Roses, and "Arbiters of Evolution" on The Thompson Fields.
Awards and honors
- Best Composer, Best Arranger, Best Big Band, Down Beat magazine Annual Critics' Poll, 2006–2012; 2016
- Jazz Album of the Year, Composer of the Year, Arranger of the Year, Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year, Jazz Journalists Association, 2005
- Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Concert in the Garden, 2004 
- Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition, "Cerulean Skies", 2007
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Winter Morning Walks, 2013 
- Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, The Thompson Fields, 2015
- Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals, Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) (David Bowie) from Nothing Has Changed 2015 
- 2019 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship 
- Concert in the Garden was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2019
- Evanescence (Enja, 1994)
- Coming About (Enja, 1996)
- Live at the Jazz Standard – Days of Wine and Roses (ArtistShare, 2000 [limited edition], 2005 [regular release])
- Allégresse (Enja, 2000)
- Concert in the Garden (ArtistShare, 2004)
- Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007)
- Winter Morning Walks (ArtistShare, 2013)
- The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare, 2015)
- Data Lords (ArtistShare, 2020)
- All Music Guide to Jazz, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, Inc. (1996), Backbeat Books (2002)
2nd ed., ed. by Michael Erlewine (1996); OCLC 35201244
4th ed., ed. by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, & Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002); OCLC 50477109
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Ninth edition, edited by Laura Kuhn, New York: Schirmer Books, Vol 5 (of 6) (2001); OCLC 44972043
- The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz and Blues, edited by Howard Mandel, New York: Billboard Books (2005); OCLC 61771061
- Biography Index, New York: H.W. Wilson Co.; OCLC 8264686; ISSN 0006-3053
Vol. 18: September 1992 – August 1993 (1993); OCLC 59569808
Vol. 22: September 1996 – August 1997 (1997)
Vol. 27: September 2001 – August 2002 (2002); OCLC 865173264
Vol. 30: September 2004 – August 2005 (2005)
Vol. 31: September 2005 – August 2006 (2006)
- Contemporary Musicians. Profiles of the people in music. Volume 48. Detroit: Thomson Gale (2004) (biography contains portrait); OCLC 19730669; ISSN 1044-2197
- The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Second edition, Vol. 3 (of 3 three), edited by Barry Kernfeld, London: Macmillan Publishers (2002); OCLC 46956628
- Big Bands & Great Ballrooms: American is Dancing ... Again, by Jack Behrens and John C. Behrens, AuthorHouse (self-published), p. 155 (2006); OCLC 80936539
- "Celebration: Remembering—A Tribute to Bob Brookmeyer". NewMusicBox. December 23, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- Friedwald, Will (July 12, 1996). "Maria Schneider writes dynamic jazz". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
- Woolfe, Zachary (April 12, 2013). "Prairie Jazz Companion". New York Times Sunday Magazine. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
- Kaplan, Fred (November 23, 2017). "Maria Schneider's Jazz Orchestra: Thanksgiving Week at the Jazz Standard". www.stereophile.com. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
- "ArtistShare: about us". artistshare.com. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- 56th Annual Grammy Awards Winners & Nominees, January 27, 2014
- Schneider, Maria (January 20, 2017). "Protecting the Power of Music - JazzTimes". JazzTimes. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
- Schneider, Maria (March 13, 2014). "Section 512 of Title 17 - House Judiciary Committee". House Judiciary Committee. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
- "Maria Schneider on "Data Lords" Webcast | Library of Congress". www.loc.gov. Schneider, Maria. April 15, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2017.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Things That Caught My Eye: Maria Schneider". Columbia Journal. November 29, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- "Grammy Winner Also Avid Bird Watcher". www.newportthisweek.com. August 23, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- "Radio Swiss Jazz - Music database - Musician". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- "The DownBeat Critics Poll Archive", Downbeat.com
- 2005 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, @ jazzhouse.org
- "2004 Grammy Award Winners – Jazz". The Recording Academy.
- 50th Annual Grammy Awards Winners, @ Grammy.com
- "2013 Grammy Award Winners – Classical". The Recording Academy.
- "2015 Grammy Award Winners – Jazz". The Recording Academy. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- "2015 Grammy Award Winners – Arranging". The Recording Academy.
- "National Endowment for the Arts Announces Newest Recipients of Nation's Highest Honor in Jazz". NEA. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- "National Recording Registry Class Produces Ultimate 'Stay at Home' Playlist"". Library of Congress. March 25, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
- National Recording Registry Inducts Classics by Dr. Dre, Mister Rogers, Cheap Trick — Variety
- Hewett, Ivan (June 11, 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields". The Telegraph. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Maria Schneider | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Open Letter to YouTube, 'Pushers' of Piracy" (May 15, 2016)
- "Content ID is Still Just Piracy in Disguise: An Open Letter to Rightsholders and a Music Industry Ready to Renegotiate with a Monster" (July 31, 2016)
- "What Do Whore Houses, Meth Labs and YouTube Have in Common?" (Sept. 27th, 2016)
- "Lyor Cohen Takes the Cake by Joining the Google Empire" (Oct 7th, 2016)
- Maria Schneider (October 1, 2008). "Navigating Comfort Zones". NewMusicBox (Interview). Interviewed by Frank J. Oteri (published November 1, 2008). (includes video)