Born: November 27 Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
Maria Schneider, born in Windom, Minnesota, arrived in New York City in 1985 after studies at the University of Minnesota, the University of Miami and the Eastman School of Music. She immediately sought out Bob Brookmeyer to study composition. At the same time she became an assistant to Gil Evans, working on various projects with him, but most notably, the film The Color of Money and music for the Gil Evans/Sting tour in 1987. In the latest years she’s been invited to conduct Evans’ music extensively featuring such musicians as Jon Faddis, Wallace Roney, Miles Evans, Ingrid Jensen and David Sanborn.
The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra came into being in 1993, appearing at Visiones in Greenwich Village every Monday night for a stretch of five years. Subsequently, her orchestra received invitations to perform at many jazz festivals and concert halls across Europe as well as in Brazil and Macau. She’s received numerous commissions and invites for guest conducting her music with American and European orchestras. Countries with groups that she’s guest conducted include Italy, Portugal, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Canada, Scotland, Australia, Greenland and Iceland, as well as across the U.S. Commissions include the Norrbotten Big Band’s and Danish Radio Orchestra’s commission to arrange and conduct concerts with Toots Thielemans. Other commissioning organizations include the Metropole Orchestra, Stuttgart Jazz Orchestra, Orchestre National de Jazz (Recapitulation), Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra (El Viento), Monterey Jazz Festival (Scenes from Childhood), University of Miami Concert Jazz Band (Three Romances), Hunter College (Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue), Jazz at Lincoln Center (Buler�-a, Soleá y Rumba), Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (Aires de Lando) and Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival (Cerulean Skies). Maria was also the recipient of a Doris Duke award to compose a dance work (Dissolution) in collaboration with the Pilobolus dance group. It was performed with her orchestra at the American Dance Festival and Kennedy Center. She arranged a concert of Ivan Lins' music for Ivan Lins, Toots Thielemans and the Danish Radio Orchestra for an extensive European tour in 2003.
Concert in the Garden, released only through her website (an ArtistShare site), won a 2005 Grammy Award and became the first Grammy winning recording with Internet- only sales. It received Jazz Album of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Awards and the DOWNBEAT Critics Poll. Both also awarded Maria Composer of the Year and Arranger of the Year, and the Jazz Journalists also named her group, Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year.
Maria’s debut recording Evanescence, was nominated for two 1995 Grammy Awards: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording, and for its title piece, Best Instrumental Composition. Her second and third recordings Coming About and Allégresse were also both nominated for Grammys as well. Maria had two compositions from Concert in the Garden nominated. Her third album, Allégresse was chosen by both TIME and BILLBOARD in their Top Ten Recordings of 2000, which was inclusive of all genres of music. Her newest recording, Sky Blue, is scheduled for release from her ArtistShare website, mariaschneider.com, June 14th, 2007.