14-year old Composer
“…inventive and original.
The array of orchestral gestures
is, frankly, stunning.
...impressive and masterfully done."
“Congratulations on your bold ideas and
I hope you keep them coming,”
“An ambitious and satisfying creation!
I feel like I just enjoyed a delicious feast. So much imagination!"
"...extremely adept at moving through harmonic landscapes."
Shawn Jaeger, composer, MATA Jr. mentor
Wynn-Anne Rossi, composer, over 100 publications, presenter
Albert Mendoza, composer, editor and author, Alfred Music
Deanna Walker, composer,
Winston F. Schneider was bound to be a composer from the beginning. As a very young child, he seemed connected to music and would become emotional and weep whenever the choir would sing or the organ would play in church. He began piano lessons at a young age, or as he says, "twenty-nine days after my fifth birthday." Early on, he was able to play pieces in any key, in different styles, sometimes simultaneously playing each hand in a different key with his eyes closed.
Schneider soon began writing down musical ideas on paper as they would "pop in his head," making the leap from his first piano lesson to creating music of his own seemingly overnight. A rare ability of absolute pitch was discovered. The language of music came as naturally to him as colors and shapes.
Fast forward a few years, and Schneider's received considerable acclaim for his musical works, and is the recipient of over thirty composition awards, including multiple national and international awards. At age 10, Schneider was one of six pre-college composers selected internationally to compose a new piece for MATA Jr. Festival in New York, which the New Yorker calls “the most exciting showcase for outstanding young composers from around the world.” The same year, Schneider was also NAfME's Composition Competition national first place winner. At age 12, he was the youngest composer ever to be included in Curtis Institute of Music's summer program. The same year, he was a member of the New York Youth Symphony Composing Program and Conducting Program. At 14, he won the national MTNA composition competition, as well as the national NFMC composition competition. In September, he had his Masterworks debut with the Omaha Symphony with a world premiere orchestra work, which received standing ovations both nights. He'll make his debut on NPR’s From the Top in 2023.
Perhaps most notably, Schneider received a prestigious American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a competition for composers up to 30 years of age, with 400 - 500 applicants each year.
Schneider has written works that have been performed across the country, including by the Omaha Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Face the Music (NYC’s premiere youth ensemble), Ars Futura (Cleveland based contemporary music ensemble), Orchestra Omaha, SoundWaves String Orchestra, Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory ensemble, numerous string quartets and ensembles, as well as renowned musicians including Mimi Stillman, Jessica Meyer, Benjamin Fingland, Philip Sheegog and Hanna Landrum.
Schneider's received commissions from notable organizations, including the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Conservatory of Music, the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory, KVNO classical music station, and Project Harmony.
Schneider’s also a pianist and cellist. He’s the current and three-time MTNA state piano performance winner.
ARTSCANVAS.ORG (PBS NEWSHOUR)
"Bugs and books become inspiration for this 11-year-old composer." Story about Schneider.
"There's nothing like playing a Beethoven Sonata on my black 1960 Yamaha upright piano while my cat Meowth curls up underneath the bench in an Amazon Prime cardboard box and falls asleep. There’s nothing like being engrossed in a new composition and depicting the array of sounds I hear in my head on staff paper.
"My passions inform my music. I love to catch, study, and release insects, arachnids, and other arthropods in the summer. To me, they're like little aliens, and are fascinating to observe. Throughout my lifetime, I've caught, studied, and released over 100 species. The second piece I wrote when I was little was 'Cicada named Fada,' so I guess I’ve been writing about insects since the beginning.
"I carry pencils (and an empty insect container in the summer) with me wherever I go, in case a musical idea pops in my head or I spot an intriguing arthropod. When we cleaned out our silver Honda, we found 34 pencils.
"For every emotional impact a piece has, there’s always something technical that combusts it. My musical journey is a never-ending quest to achieve a certain level of refinement in my work. My goal for each piece is when the technical parts are so refined that they can clearly communicate the music or concept of the piece in the most effective way.
"Some of my pieces are essentially music for music’s sake, as in my symphonies. Others are programmatic music, where the music describes or depicts something, such as insects.
"Musical ideas, like insects, can be found anywhere." ~Winston