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La Jolla Music Society

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Prelude interview with Maria Schneider hosted by Robert John Hughes · 5 PM

Part of

Composer, bandleader and NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider makes a highly anticipated La Jolla Music Society debut with her genre-defying 18-piece orchestra. Her latest album, Data Lords, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a winner of two GRAMMY Awards, and was named Jazz Album of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.
In 2023, Maria Schneider was named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Known as a breakaway jazz orchestra leader and composer, Minnesota-born Maria Schneider is a multiple GRAMMY winner and the 2019 recipient of the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for her work in classical, jazz, and even pop with the late David Bowie. Under her baton, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has brought big-band composition into the 21st century, developing the art form into an imaginative and beautifully fluid medium.

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 more than 90 groups in over 30 countries.

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 the late 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 fourteen GRAMMY nominations and seven GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company ArtistShare. Her 2004 album Concert in the Garden became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales; even more significantly, it blazed the crowdfunding 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. ASCAP awarded her their esteemed Concert Music Award in 2014. And in 2019, the National Endowment for the Arts bestowed on Schneider the nation’s highest honor in jazz, naming her an NEA Jazz Master.

Schneider’s collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single, “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” and brought Schneider a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals). Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album). Their recording project, Data Lords, Was released on July 21st, 2020. Data Lords garnered 2 GRAMMY awards in 2021 for Best Instrumental Composition (“Sputnik”) and Best Large Ensemble album. Data Lords was also a recent Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Grand Prix De L’académie Du Jazz and NPR Jazz Critics Poll Album of the Year.

“Data Lords…is her magnum opus, a riveting, remarkably intense double album, as profound as modern-day instrumental music gets.” — Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune


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Data Lords and Beyond

The Maria Schneider Orchestra

Maria Schneider – composer/conductor

Steve Wilson – alto, soprano, flutes and clarinet

Dave Pietro – alto, flutes and clarinet

Rich Perry – tenor

Donny McCaslin – tenor

Scott Robinson – baritone and bass clarinet

Greg Gisbert – trumpet

Michael Dudley Jr. – trumpet

Nadje Noordhuis – trumpet

Mike Rodriguez – trumpet

Keith O’Quinn – trombone

Ryan Keberle – trombone

Tim Albright – trombone

George Flynn – bass trombone

Julien Labro – accordion

Ben Monder – guitar

Gary Versace – piano

Jay Anderson – bass

Johnathan Blake – drums

Fred Vogler – sound engineer


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