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Maria Schneider
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Biography
Maria Schneider, born in Windom, Minnesota, was studying music by age five. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in theory and composition at the University of Minnesota, studied at the University of Miami, and received a Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music. After moving to New York City, she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to study composition with the legendary trombonist and composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer.

In 1985 she became an assistant to famed arranger and Miles Davis collaborator Gil Evans. Her work with him included assistance for the movie 'The Color of Money,' and Sting’s 1987 European tour. At the 1993 Spoleto Music Festival and the 1996 JVC New York Jazz Festival, Maria conducted the Gil Evans Orchestra in a concert of selections from 'Miles Ahead,' 'Porgy & Bess,' and 'Sketches of Spain.'

In 1994 she was commissioned to write music for and conduct concerts with Toots Thielemans and the Norrbotten Big Band (Sweden). Maria and Toots continue to work together with various orchestras in Europe. She has also conducted the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Bohuuselan Big Band (Sweden), the UMO Orchestra (Finland), the Espoo Big Band (Finland), the Blechschaden Big Band (Germany), the Sunday Night Orchestra (Nurmberg), the Danish Radio Big Band, the Metropole Orchestra (Holland), Orchestre National de Jazz (Paris), Jazz Balitca (Germany) and the Cologne and Frankfurt Radio Orchestras in concerts of her music as well as for various television and radio broadcasts.

In 1994 Maria conducted the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in the commissioned premier of 'El Viento.' She was commissioned to compose 'Scenes From Childhood' premiered by her own orchestra at the 1995 Monterey Jazz Festival. Her orchestra has given televised performances at the opening of the 1995 Macau International Music Festival and the 1996 Berlin Jazz Festival. Maria was the recipient of a Doris Duke award to compose a dance work for the Pilobolus dance group. The project premiered at the American Dance Festival in June of 1998.

Maria has placed in several of the 'Downbeat' and 'JazzTimes' Critics and Reader’s Polls. The 1997 Critics Poll placed her seven times, including first place Arranger and first place Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition in Composer and Arranger categories. Her orchestra placed second, and her album 'Coming About' placed amongst the best Jazz albums of the year.

The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra performed at Visiones in Greenwich Village every Monday night for five years in the mid-'90s, establishing themselves as one of the finest larger ensembles in Jazz. They have also performed in Macau, Brazil, and extensively in Europe. Maria’s debut recording 'Evanescenece' was nominated for two 1995 Grammy Awards: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance, and for its title piece, Best Instrumental Composition. She was a nominee for Copenhagen’s Jazzpar prize in 1995. Her second recording, 'Coming About,' released in June of 1996, received five stars from 'DownBeat' and was also nominated for a Grammy Award. Maria received the Critic’s Choice – Best Composer Award at the 1996 Jazz Awards at Lincoln Center.


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