Jackson Berkey and Winston F. Schneider Release Second Holiday Piano Duet
Jackson Berkey and Winston F. Schneider release their second holiday duet, “The Good King,” a Berkey arrangement of the the classic carol “Good King Wenceslaus.” Best-known nationally as a pianist and recording artist, Berkey was a featured keyboardist and collaborator with Mannheim Steamroller, which he co-founded with Chip Davis. Mannheim Steamroller has sold over 41 million albums. In the classical world, Berkey’s published catalog offers over 400 titles. Berkey is a Steinway Artist.
Schneider met Jackson Berkey in 2015 when he was 7 years old. They were guests of a symposium featuring composers, “Inside the Mind of the Artist.” Schneider, a young composer, shared his piano work, “Attack of the Jabberwock,” inspired by the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Berkey and Schneider formed a long-standing friendship and mentorship. Schneider says, “We both have the same sense of humor. In 2018, when I was playing one of his piano pieces, 'Bernadette’s Salsa Egg Dish,’ he was telling me about how I should be sure to feel the constant hemiola throughout the piece. A hemiola is a sophisticated rhythmic device that occurs when two conflicting rhythms are played simultaneously, but at the time, I didn’t know what it was, so I asked him. He responded by saying that he actually just got out of the hospital with a hemiola.”
Their first recorded duet, “Christmas Day in the Morning,” is a Berkey arrangement of “I Saw Three Ships,” and was released in November, 2020.
Omaha Symphony offers world premiere by 14-year-old Omaha composer
Omaha World Herald: The Omaha Symphony’s season-opener this weekend is more than just a concert. It’s an event, with a world-premiere piece by local prodigy Winston Schneider and the appearance of visual artist Christina Narwicz, who will create a painting as the orchestra plays a popular classical work. It will also mark the Omaha debut of guest cellist Gabriel Martins.
The program, “Elgar and Bolero,” will be Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Omaha radio station KVNO commissioned Schneider’s composition, “Anniversary Overture,” to celebrate its 50th birthday.
Schneider, 14, has been composing since he was 5 and has won more than 30 awards for his work, which has been performed by such ensembles as the New York Youth Symphony and Face the Music, New York City’s premiere youth ensemble. He’s home-schooled in Omaha, and also studies at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, playing piano and cello.
Composer, editor and author Albert Mendoza of Alfred Music said Schneider’s work is “impressive and masterfully done … the array of orchestral gestures is, frankly, stunning.”
Schneider said he’s thrilled to help KVNO celebrate its landmark. He was a KVNO Classical Kid at age 8.
“I’m very happy with how (the overture) turned out,” he said, “and I can’t wait to hear it performed.”
Martins, known for his mesmerizing sound, will play the “Cello Concerto in E Minor” by Edward Elgar at the concerts before leaving for a tour of the United Kingdom.
And Narwicz will paint a work in real time to the orchestra’s rendition of Claude Debussy’s “La Mer.”
Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” will round out the concert. The evening’s conductor will be Omaha Symphony Music Director Ankush Kumar Bahl.
14-year-old Omaha Composer Will Have Omaha Symphony Masterworks Debut and a World Premiere
Broadway World: 14 year old composer Winston Schneider will have his Omaha Symphony Masterworks Debut and a World Premiere for "Anniversary Orchestra" on September 23 and 24th. This commissioned new work celebrates 50 years of programming for Omaha's classical music station, KVNO. It will be performed at the "Elgar and Bolero" concert, and conducted by Maestro Ankush Kumar Bahl.
Winston Schneider wins national NFMC Young Composers Contest
Young Omaha composer Winston F. Schneider won the Young Composers Contest for NFMC (National Federation of Music Clubs) in his age division of 13 - 15, with his piece “Symphony in B-flat Minor, ‘Revelation.’” National Federation of Music Clubs was founded in 1898, and has grown into one of the world’s largest music organizations. The NFMC is chartered by the Congress of the United States and is dedicated to finding and fostering young musical talent. Schneider won the state round, then won the Oscar Valentin Regional Award, and then nationals this week.
Winston Schneider wins national MTNA Junior Composition Competition
Composer Winston Schneider wins first place in the National MTNA Junior Composition Competition. "The MTNA National Competitions are the most successful and prestigious student competitions in the country. Each year, thousands of students compete for top prizes and national recognition. MTNA is a collaborative community of music-teaching professionals, and has been a respected organization for well over a century. Its mission is to advance the value of music study and music making to society and to support the professionalism of music teachers.” Schneider won the state round in November, the regional round in December, and nationals in January.
Schneider’s piece, “Salt Creek Tiger Beetle,” a quintet for two violins, two violas and cello, is inspired by the endangered insect, which is one of the rarest insects in the world, and is only found in Nebraska. His piece will be premiered at the MTNA National Conference in March, 2022.
Premiere of Winston Schneider's latest, a musical composition based on the children's book, "The Big Umbrella," as a part of the "Stories from Childhood" series.
Schneider’s latest, a musical composition based on the book “The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates, will premiere at the Arts Block Party on Saturday, August 14, and be performed again at the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s 20th Anniversary Gala that evening. The Spanish version, “La Sombrilla Grande” will also be performed.
The Stories from Childhood series is an experience that combines children's books with musical compositions based on the works to captivate and inspire the child in all of us. The series features unexpected characters who dare to be themselves, and the books and compositions will connect listeners of all ages through the power of imagination.
Omaha World Herald: Saturday, a composition by 13-year-old student Winston Schneider will premiere at a 1 p.m. concert during an Arts Block Party. The conservatory is sponsoring the event with the Omaha Academy of Ballet. The two schools are near 72nd and Cass Streets.
Schneider, who has been hailed as a prodigy, based his piece on “The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates, a children’s book that celebrates diversity.
Winston Schneider receives one of the top two types of awards, an "Honorable Mention," in the ASCAP 2021 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards
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. There are typically 400 - 500 applicants each year. The ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams says, "The young composers recognized by The ASCAP Foundation are taking concert music in new and exciting directions. They are the future of the genre and it gives us great pleasure to support and empower them to further their talents."
Established as The ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Awards in 1979, the program grants cash prizes to concert music composers up to 30 years of age whose works are selected through a juried national competition.
Winston Schneider selected to be a part of Dolce Suono Ensemble's new project “COMPOSERLAB FLUTE: YOUNG AMERICAN COMPOSERS.”
Dolce Suono Ensemble (DSE) is delighted to announce the launch of our new project “COMPOSERLAB FLUTE: YOUNG AMERICAN COMPOSERS.” Our goal is to bring compelling new works by young composers before a global online audience and provide an enriching professional experience for developing composers, assisting them in having their musical voices heard. We are honored to have been awarded a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University for this project. ComposerLab will provide an online platform to disseminate excellent works by American composers under 30.
Beethoven Septet Program Features Innovative and Classic Chamber Music: Young Omaha Composer Winston Schneider to Premiere New Work, Summer of COVID-19
Omaha Symphony Press Release: Throughout history, composers have interacted with and been influenced by each other in ways that are often not obvious upon first reflection. Do Beethoven’s Septet in E flat Major and 12-year-old Omaha composer Winston Schneider’s new work, The Summer of COVID-19 (from the perspective of a 17-year-old-girl) share a direct musical connection? That’s the question answered by the Omaha Symphony’s upcoming chamber music program, Beethoven Septet. Both pieces, plus a menagerie of other chamber works, will be featured at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Hall.
Repertoire will feature a mix of chamber music from the nineteenth century through 2020, with instrumentation employing the musicians in varying and exciting combinations. In addition to the world premier of Schneider’s newly commissioned piece, audiences will also see two Omaha premieres of work by living composers: Caroline Shaw’s Boris Kerner for cello and flower pots, and Robert Honstein’s Patter.
Audiences may remember 12-year-old Schneider from his previous collaboration with the Omaha Symphony – the young composer’s Insect Suite was performed by the orchestra in February of 2020 as part of the orchestra’s Buzzing About Bugs family programming. His new work, which was commissioned by the Omaha Symphony, utilizes the same instrumentation as Beethoven’s Septet plus one violin. It speaks to this moment in a pronounced way as it utilizes a recording from the Durham Museum’s “Stories of the Pandemic” project as an artistic anchor.
“COVID-19 affected everyone’s lives worldwide,” said Schneider. “We heard and continue to hear about it every day. This is one particular story – a 17-year-old girl living in Omaha in the summer of the pandemic. One story out of the 7.5 billion people in the world. Her story is not a viral headline story. It’s a story like many of ours, a melancholy realization that life is not like it was before and each person has a different story.”
In a time when we continue to make sense of the new world around us, Schneider used music to help make sense of a collective experience through someone else’s eyes: “The piece started to take a musical shape after the main melodic motive came to me while riding in the car,” he reflected. “I liked the idea of using a solo bassoon to begin the piece, because, to me, it sounds lonely, almost like standing in the middle of nowhere all by yourself. This feeling of loneliness, to me, reflects the isolation we all felt during the pandemic summer. As the piece nears the end, there is even more of an introspective and melancholy texture that I felt would fit the text."
NET's story "Winston, Young Composer" wins Heartland Emmy
The story "Winston, Young Composer" produced by NET Television's Mike Tobias (producer/writer), Justin Cheney (videographer/editor) and Emily Kreutz (field audio) won the 2020 Heartland Emmy for Arts/Entertainment Program Feature/Segment.
12-year-old Omaha composer's musical piece featured by Omaha Symphony: Omaha World Herald
Omaha World Herald: An Omaha Symphony concert for kids this weekend will feature a piece written by a kid.
"Buzzing About Bugs," part of the orchestra's Family Series, will include "Insect Suite," composed by Omahan Winston Schneider. It has three movements: The Stinkbug, The Whistling Tarantula and Fireflies.
Winston, 12, wrote the piece when he was 10 years old as a participant in MATA Jr., a program that selects young composers to write a new work. He was among six participants from around the world who participated. The 11-minute "Insect Suite" debuted in November 2018.
The young composer also won the 2019-220 junior piano performance competition sponsored by the Nebraska chapter of the Music Teachers National Association and won the junior music composition prize in the group's regional west-central division.
He was the subject of a story on the PBS "Arts Canvas" website and was featured on NET's "Nebraska Stories" program. He plays cello with the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra and studies at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.
The symphony concert is at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Kiewit Concert Hall of the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St. Families can learn about insects in their own backyards in the program, co-sponsored by the Henry Doorly Zoo. Tickets, $15 general admission, are available at omahasymphony.org or 402-345-0606.
Omaha Symphony to Perform INSECT SUITE by Child Composer, Winston Schneider: Broadway World
Broadway World: On Sunday, February 23, the Omaha Symphony will perform Winston Schneider's "Insect Suite," as a part of the Family Concert Series.
The concert, titled "Buzzing About Bugs," will feature the 11-minute full orchestra composition. Schneider wrote "Insect Suite" when he was 10, for the MATA Jr. Festival, when he was one of six pre-college composers selected internationally to compose a new piece. It debuted in New York in November, 2018. The piece includes three movements: I. The Stinkbug, II. The Whistling Tarantula, III. Fireflies.
Winston Schneider was nominated for Best Youth Actor in a Musical for the Broadway World Regional Awards for his role of Les in Newsies in 2018, at the Rose Theater in Omaha. Schneider also played the role of Slightly Soiled in the Rose Theater's production of Peter Pan in 2017, and Sammy in the Rose's Prancer in 2016.
Additionally this month, Schneider was named the grand prize winner in the Lowell MasonHouse national competition for Music Education Advocacy, with a video submission about the importance of a musical education. The Lowell Mason House is a music education and advocacy organization.
Schneider is also 2019-20's Nebraska state MTNA Junior piano performance competition winner, and the Regional West Central Division MTNA Junior music composition winner. He's been featured nationally on the PBS "Arts Canvas" website in a story called: "Bugs and books become inspiration for this 11-year-old composer."
Schneider has a rare ability of absolute pitch. He's studies music at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, and plays cello with the Omaha Area Youth Symphony. He enjoys drawing, studying chemistry, music theory and insect biology, being in plays and musicals at the Rose Theater, reading, writing fiction, swim team, tennis, Tae Kwon Do, and spending time with his two cats, his sister, cousins and friends.
Schneider Wins National Lowell Mason House Music Education Advocacy Competition
The Lowell Mason House is a music education and advocacy organization. During the autumn of 2019, participants were asked to submit a video, song, presentation or paper that expresses their ideas on an important issue - the future of music education advocacy in the 21st century. Schneider was the Grand Prize Winner with a video essay.
"Wunderkinder," Orchestra Omaha
Orchestra Omaha's first concert of the season will feature the works of three composers who all wrote works while very young:
Schneider: The Jocund Overture
Mozart: Symphony No.38 “Prague” in D Major, K.504
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.64
September 28, 7 PM, Omaha Conservatory of Music
In the fall of 2018, young composter Winston Schneider was commissioned to write a melody and string trio for the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s fall fundraising annual appeal. The melody was revealed notes at a time on Facebook, as donations rolled in. Schneider’s “The Jocund Melody” helped to raise $68,800 for the OCM, $38,800 over their $30,000 goal.
Since that time, 11 year old Schneider has turned “The Jocund Melody” into “The Jocund Overture.” “When I was in the first meeting and asked to write a melody to reflect the vibe of the OCM, I immediately thought of the OCM on a busy day, with people coming and going and happy. I wanted a happy vibe for the song. The main motive of the piece came to me then, and I wrote it down in the meeting. That initial motive is the basis for this piece. I hope you find some element of joy in ‘The Jocund Overture.’”
Buzzing About Bugs: Omaha Symphony Performance Announced
GET TICKETS! Just announced: Omaha Symphony will play Winston's "Insect Suite," an 11 minute piece composed for full orchestra. Holland Performing Arts Center, Sunday, February 23, 2019.
"Learn about the incredible insects in your own back yard in this musical adventure, presented in partnership with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, featuring an original work by 11-year-old Omaha composer Winston Schneider."
Omaha Conservatory of Music's melody reveal fundraiser campaign: "The Jocund Melody"
In the fall of 2018, Schneider was commissioned to write a melody and string trio for the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s fall fundraising annual appeal. The melody was revealed notes at a time on social media, as donations rolled in. Schneider’s “The Jocund Melody” helped to raise $68,800 for the OCM, $38,800 over their $30,000 goal.