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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. There, Schneider began to
develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-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. 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
Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, making her long
list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln
Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborating with David
Bowie. She is among a small few to have received GRAMMYS in multiple
genres, have received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well
as for her work with David Bowie.
Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career
with twelve GRAMMY nominations and five GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of
projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company,
ArtistShare. 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 "crowd-funding" trail
as ArtistShare’s first release. She’s been awarded many honors by the Jazz
Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT and JAZZTIMES Critics and Readers Polls.
In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, presented Schneider
with an honorary doctorate, and in 2014, ASCAP awarded her their esteemed
Concert Music Award.
Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014,
testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
about digital rights. She has also appeared in CNN, and has been quoted
in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, digital rights and
music piracy. Most recently, she and concerned colleagues in New York
have launched a widespread campaign on behalf of music-makers, MusicAnswers.org.
Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted
in his single called, "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” and brought
her a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals). Schneider
and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for their latest work, The
Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).