4/20/2014 9:38:44 PM - 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, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative 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 become quite varied: the Norrbotten Big Band and Danish Radio Orchestra with Toots Thielemans and Ivan Lins, the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra (El Viento), Monterey Jazz Festival (Scenes from Childhood), 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 most recently, the Ojai Festival, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Cal Performances (Winter Morning Walks), featuring soprano, 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. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare®. For these projects, she documents her creative process for participating fans, who "fan-fund" her recordings through pre-orders. She's now composed four works for her own orchestra with the participation of commissioners coming directly from her ArtistShare® website fan base. Her album, Concert in the Garden (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales. Even more significantly, it blazed the "fan-funding" trail as ArtistShare's® first release. Her albums, Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue were both named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT Critics Poll, and received wide critical acclaim.

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.” –TIME MAGAZINE
Bio Feb 2014
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