Maria Schneider MM 85

Well known jazz composer, arranger, and conductor, Maria Schneider has become one of the most versatile and respected musicians in jazz today. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ms. Schneider received her master's degree in jazz and contemporary media in 1985.


After graduating from Eastman, Ms. Schneider moved to New York City, where she received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study composition with Bob Brookmeyer. She also became an assistant to Gil Evans and formed her own 17-piece ensemble - the critically acclaimed Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra. In addition to performing every week for five years (1993-1998) at Visiones, a well-known jazz club in Greenwich Village, the orchestra has performed in Brazil, China, and throughout Europe. It was the first jazz group invited to the esteemed Macao International Music Festival, and was featured at the prominent Monterey Jazz Festival premiering a work the festival commissioned.


Ms. Schneider herself has conducted concerts of her own compositions with many American and European orchestras. She also has conducted the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra twice in commissioned premieres. A Doris Duke Foundation commission for a dance work for the Pilobolus dance group, premiered at the 1998 American Dance Festival, had several performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington - all with Ms. Schneider conducting her own orchestra. Among other awards and honors, she was named Critics' Choice - Best Composer at the 1998 New York Jazz Awards at Lincoln Center and has won many Down Beat and Jazz Times critics and readers polls. Both of her recordings, Evanescence and Coming About, were nominated for Grammy Awards.


For her many accomplishments and her significant contributions to the world of jazz, the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester is proud to honor Maria Schneider with its Alumni Achievement Award.

Rochester, New York
May 16, 1999