Arts & Culture
1:41 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Maria Schneider: Bridging the Jazz-Classical Divide

Composer, arranger, band leader Maria Schneider talks about her life in jazz. She also speaks of her passion for birdwatching.
Composer Maria Schneider talks about her new song cycles, Winter Morning Walks, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories.

  Maria Schneider has emerged over the past several decades as one of our most original composers and arrangers for jazz orchestra. She studied music theory and composition at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1983, then earned a Masters of Music in 1985 from the Eastman School of Music, studying for one year as well at the University of Miami. Upon leaving Eastman, Gil Evans hired her as his apprentice arranger, and she collaborated with him for the next several years, producing arrangements commissioned by Sting and scoring the films "The Color of Money" and "Absolute Beginners." Schneider went on to study with Bob Brookmeyer from 1986 to 1991, as she concurrently worked as a freelance arranger in New York.

She formed The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra in 1993, appearing weekly at Visiones in Greenwich Village for five years. Her orchestra has also performed at many jazz festivals and toured Europe.

Fast forward now to 2013 and a more classical voice is emerging from Maria Schneider with the issue of a recording of two song cycles, both written for Dawn Upshaw. The album, callled "Winter Morning Walks" is getting rave reviews across the country. Time Magazine wrote: “To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz is missing the point … She is a major composer–period.”

Maria Schneider will be in Austin the weekend of April 13, performing with the UT Jazz Orchestra, part of the 2013 Longhorn Jazz Festival. The Saturday evening concert will be at Bates Recital Hall, on the campus of UT's Butler School of Music. Ticket information is at 800-982-BEVO.