Maria Schneider (musician)

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Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider.jpg
Maria Schneider at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, 2008
Background information
Birth name Maria Lynn Schneider
Born (1960-11-27) November 27, 1960 (age 56)
Windom, Minnesota, U.S.
Genres Jazz, big band, avant-garde, contemporary classical
Occupation(s) Composer, bandleader, musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Enja, ArtistShare
Associated acts Dawn Upshaw

Maria Schneider (born November 27, 1960) is an American composer and big-band leader who has won multiple Grammy Awards.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Schneider was born in Windom, Minnesota. She 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. Upon leaving Eastman, Gil Evans hired her as his copyist and assistant.[7] Schneider collaborated with Gil 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. She studied with Bob Brookmeyer from 1986 to 1991.

In 1992, Schneider formed The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, which appeared weekly at Visiones in Greenwich Village from 1993 until it closed in 1998. Her orchestra has also performed at many jazz festivals and concert halls, playing Europe, South America and Asia. Schneider has performed with over 80 groups in over 30 countries, and taught at universities worldwide. In 2013, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Schneider's Concert in the Garden (2004) was the first award-winning album produced by ArtistShare, a fan funded platform that has produced (as of 2014) eighteen Grammy nominations and nine Grammy Awards.[8]

Winter Morning Walks (2013) featured soprano Dawn Upshaw, the Saint Paul and Australian Chamber Orchestras, bassist Jay Anderson, pianist Frank Kimbrough, and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson. The album was written to poetry by U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and was funded by ArtistShare. It won Schneider a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Upshaw won a Grammy for her vocal performance, while the Best Engineered Album, Classical award went to David Frost, Tim Martyn, and Brian Losch.[9]

Schneider is an avid birdwatcher and enlisted band members to contribute bird calls on "Cerulean Skies" on her recording Sky Blue.

Advocacy for musicians[edit]

Schneider has been a strong advocate for musicians’ rights and copyright. She has testified before Congress, and has been asked to participate in several roundtables conducted by the US Copyright Office. Schneider has been outspoken against YouTube, and the “freemium” streaming models, and has published several open letters and white papers on these topics, including:

Schneider has been a Board member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for the New York local chapter, and has been actively involved in many of the NARAS advocacy initiatives, including Grammys on the Hill. In April of 2014, on behalf of NARAS, Schneider testified on Section 512 of Section 17, before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. Schneider’s advocacy against big data companies and the impact upon music and culture is reflected in her recent music, including a piece entitled “Data Lords” commissioned by the US Library of Congress (2016).

Awards and honors[edit]



  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Ninth edition, edited by Laura Kuhn, New York: Schirmer Books, Vol 5 (of 6) (2001); OCLC 44972043
  3. ^ The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz and Blues, edited by Howard Mandel, New York: Billboard Books (2005); OCLC 61771061
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Contemporary Musicians. Profiles of the people in music. Volume 48. Detroit: Thomson Gale (2004) (biography contains portrait); OCLC 19730669; ISSN 1044-2197
  6. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Second edition, Vol. 3 (of 3 three), edited by Barry Kernfeld, London: Macmillan Publishers (2002); OCLC 46956628
  7. ^ Big Bands & Great Ballrooms: American is Dancing ... Again, by Jack Behrens & John C. Behrens, AuthorHouse (self-published), pg. 155 (2006); OCLC 80936539
  8. ^ Making Fans a Part of the Inner Circle, Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2008 Retrieved October 8, 2011
  9. ^ 56th Annual Grammy Awards Winners & Nominees, January 27, 2014
  10. ^ "The DownBeat Critics Poll Archive",
  11. ^ 2005 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, @
  12. ^ "2004 Grammy Award Winners – Jazz". The Recording Academy. 
  13. ^ 50th Annual Grammy Awards Winners, @
  14. ^ "2013 Grammy Award Winners – Classical". The Recording Academy. 
  15. ^ "2015 Grammy Award Winners – Jazz". The Recording Academy. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  16. ^ "2015 Grammy Award Winners – Arranging". The Recording Academy. 
  17. ^ Ivan Hewett, jazz critic (11 June 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields, album review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 

External links[edit]