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 written a number of books and articles and has made numerous recordings and videos. 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. 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, Meet the Composer and I-Park.
He has performed with many major symphony orchestras in the U.S, many different chamber groups, 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 and The Argento Ensemble). In addition, he has appeared on numerous radio programs as a guest performer and commentator, and now hosts 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 twentieth season.He has served on the faculties of numerous colleges including The Juilliard School, Brooklyn College CUNY, 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 one son who is a visual artist.
- 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