William Schimmel (born 1946) is one of the principal architects in the resurgence of the accordion, and the philosophy of "Musical Reality" (composition with pre-existing music). He holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Science and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School, along with a diploma from the Neupauer Conservatory of Music in performance/composition. He performs music in many genres, has commissioned and premiered hundreds of new works, has composed over 4000 works in every medium, has written a number of books and articles and has made numerous recordings and videos. He has composed over 4000 works in every medium including opera which have been performed by leading performers, ensembles and conductors including the Late Leopold Stokowski. His music has been featured in a number of films, most notably Scent of a Woman starring Al Pacino, where he appears in the famous Tango Scene with The Tango Project which he is a founding member and television shows.
He received a Composers' Citation from The American Accordionists' Association in honor of his composition, "The Spring Street Ritual", which was the test piece for the 1979 Coupe Mondiale World Competition. He received The Confederations Internationale Association Merit Award for his contributions as a composer, performer and philosopher on the international accordion scene. He received a Merit Award from the American Accordionists' Association for his contributions spanning fifty years plus the "Accordionist of the Year" Award in 1988. He received the Keyboard magazine readers' poll award in 1992 as "Best Accordionist". He has served and continues to serve as Artist in Residence of The American Accordionist's where he also serves as Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and member of the Governing Board. National Public Radio called Schimmel the world's greatest accordionist. New Yorker Magazine called him Gotham's Happy Warrior of the Accordion. Accordion Star Illustrated Magazine called him the World's most important accordionist and inducted him into the American Accordion Hall of fame. Schimmel won the Stereo Review Album of the year award, and was nominated for a Grammy award. While at Juilliard, Schimmel was awarded two teaching fellowships and twice awarded the Rodgers and Hammerstein Scholarship in composition. Schimmel is also the recipient of Grants from The American Music Center, International Society for Contemporary Music, Meet the Composer and I-Park.
He has performed with most major symphony orchestras in the U.S, including The Kirov, has been performing with the New York Philharmonic for 45 years, has a long performing and recording relationship with the Minnesota Orchestra, virtually every chamber group in New York, The Met and City Opera as well as with rock (most notably Tom Waits), jazz (most notably Ted Nash's Odeon and The Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra), and avant-garde groups (including ICE, Talea, The Absolute Ensemble, North South Consonance, Composers Concordance and The Argento Ensemble). In addition, he has appeared on numerous radio programs as a guest performer and commentator, including New Sounds with John Schaffer and Fresh Air with Terry Gross (as well as Best of Fresh Air) and now co - hosts, with Brian Dewan, his own internet radio show, The Old In and Out, on WS Accordion Radio.
Schimmel conducts a yearly three-day Master Class and Concert Series (The Seminars) sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association, dedicated to the exploration and establishment of an accordion culture, which is in its twenty sixth season. He recently curated a six day accordion event, Accordion Mixology, at Lincoln Center in celebration on the acquisition of his archives. He has served on the faculties of numerous colleges including The Juilliard School, Brooklyn College CUNY, Dean of Neupauer Conservatory, New York University, New School University and many others.
He is married to dancer, choreographer, director and filmmaker, Micki Goodman. Together they founded the Studio Muse Dance/Music/Theatre Troup and produced concerts in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia area. They have collaborated on numerous videos which can be seen on You Tube. They have one son who is a visual artist.
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With Ted Nash
- Sidewalk Meeting (Arabesque, 2001)
a complete listing of his recordings are available on www.billschimmel.com
- Kozinn, Allan (27 August 2004). "Accordionist On a Mission In the Age Of Guitars". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Jane Rubinsky (March 2008). "William Schimmel: A Bellows-Pleated World". The Juilliard Journal.
- "Biography". Bill Schimmel.com.
- Playbill Arts Staff (November 7, 2009). "Accordionist William Schimmel Discusses Discord-Accord; Salzman Work Plays NY Dec 2-4". Playbill Arts.
- Anthony Tommasini (August 16, 2013). "Squeezebox and Strings as Charmers, Coaxing New Magic From Beethoven". The New York Times.
- Rachid (November 9, 2009). "The Old In and Out". Bill Schimmel.
- William Schimmel. "The 2014 Accordion Seminars" (PDF). Accordion USA.
- Schimmel's official website
- Beethoven: Egmont Overture performed by William Schimmel at International Contemporary Ensemble
- Sinfonia Da (Doo Ron Ron) Requiem performed by William Schimmel at Time Out New York
- What Constitutes a Classical Accordionist in America An essay by William Schimmel at The Free-Reed Journal
- William Schimmel video recordings, 1995-2013 Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts