Some people say to me, 'You should have been born fifty years earlier', conductor/saxophonist/scholar Loren Schoenberg told John Robert Brown in an interview found on The Jazz Museum in Harlem's website. Of course I would have grown up to the great music of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. And I'd have probably spent my life interviewing the widow of Scott Joplin! A historian by nature, Loren Schoenberg became a fixture in the jazz world with his encyclopedic knowledge about the genre and passion for preserving its past while making it eminently contemporary. Today, in addition to his work performing, conducting, writing, and teaching, Schoenberg has been named Executive Director of The Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Loren Schoenberg was born July 23, 1958 in Fairlawn, New Jersey. His father worked for the New York Telephone Company. His mother, a children's librarian, began teaching Loren the piano when he was three. A year later, she found a neighborhood piano teacher to take her son beyond simple scales. Schoenberg's love of old films led him to Benny Goodman, and his love of Goodman's music made Schoenberg a jazz fan in the early 1970s. Jazz's heyday as a popular music form was over by that point, and while Schoenberg was collecting classic 78 rpm records by jazz originators like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Fats Waller, most of his peers were busy listening to rock and roll and folk music.