|5/20/2013 8:35:55 AM - Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, 'Evanescence.' With that recording, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for her 17-member collective, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the unique voices of the group. Subsequently, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America.
Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, and as a result, her long list of commissioners have slowly become quite varied. They include: the Norrbotten Big Band and Danish Radio Orchestra with Toots Thielemans and Ivan Lins, the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands (several works), Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra (El Viento), Monterey Jazz Festival (Scenes from Childhood, Willow Lake), The American Dance Festival (for dance company, Pilobolus - Dissolution), University of Miami Concert Jazz Band (Three Romances), Hunter College (Concert in the Garden, Sky Blue), Jazz at Lincoln Center (Buleria, Soleá y Rumba), Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (Aires de Lando), Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival (Vienna’s Mozart Festival–Cerulean Skies), Kronos Quartet (String Quartet No. 1), The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra with soprano, Dawn Upshaw (Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories) and the Ojai Festival, The Australian Chamber Orchestra and Cal Performances (Winter Morning Walks), a work for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Dawn Upshaw, and three musicians long
associated with Schneider: pianist, Frank Kimbrough, bassist, Jay
Anderson, and multi-instrumentalist, Scott Robinson.
Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with nine Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. Her albums. Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT Critics Poll.
Unique funding of projects has continued for Schneider, as she has composed four works for her own orchestra with the involvement of commissioners, not from arts organizations, but directly from her ArtistShare® fan base. For these projects, she documented her creative process for participating fans. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, awarded Schneider an honorary doctorate.
“Maria Schneider’s orchestral jazz is about feeling. Like Wayne Shorter, she somehow expresses compassion through tones.”
–THE NEW YORK TIMES
“To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz is missing the point … She is a major composer–period.”