“…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, MTNA adjudicator
Winston F. Schneider was bound to be a composer from the very beginning. As a 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." Soon after, he began playing his pieces in all different keys and styles. Sometimes he'd play one key in one hand, and a different key in the other hand with his eyes closed.
With a rare ability of absolute pitch, Schneider soon began writing down musical ideas on staff paper as they would "pop in his head," making the leap from his first piano lesson to creating music of his own seemingly overnight. 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 twenty-six composition awards, including national and international awards. At 10, he was one of six pre-college composers selected internationally to write a new work for the MATA Jr. Festival, and was also NAfME's Composition Competition national first place winner. At 12, he was the youngest composer ever to be accepted in the Curtis Institute of Music's summer program. During the virtual year, Schneider was a member of the New York Youth Symphony Composing Program and Conducting Program (2020-21). He was selected for “ComposerLab Flute: Young American Composers” for Dolce Suono Ensemble for composers under 30 (2021).
Most recently Schneider won the national 2022 MTNA Junior Composition Competition. His work, “Salt Creek Tiger Beetle,” a string quintet, is inspired by the endangered insect which is one of the rarest insects in the world, and only found in Nebraska.
Perhaps most notably, Schneider received one of the top two types of awards, an “Honorable Mention,” in the competitive and prestigious ASCAP 2021 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, a competition for composers up to 30 years of age, with 400 - 500 applicants each year.
From solo works to chamber music, from atonal pieces to grand symphonies, Schneider's pieces have been played 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 Continuum 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, and KVNO classical music station.
Scheider studies at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and is the current and three-time MTNA Junior 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 upright piano in my room while my tuxedo cat Meowth curls up underneath the bench in an Amazon Prime cardboard box and falls asleep. There's nothing like picking up a pencil and writing down musical ideas on manuscript paper late at night when everyone else is asleep.
"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 staff paper and 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 program music, where the music describes or depicts something, such as insects.
"Musical ideas, like insects, can be found anywhere."