Beethoven Septet Program Features Innovative and Classic Chamber Music: Young Omaha Composer Winston Schneider to Premiere New Work, Summer of COVID-19
October 13, 2020
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
July 25, 2020
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.
Schneider's "Insect Suite" to be Featured in Omaha Symphony's "Buzzing About Bugs" Concert
Omaha Symphony's concert "Buzzing About Bugs" will feature the Nebraska premiere of "Insect Suite," an 11 minute piece for full orchestra. Also learn about the incredible insects in your own backyard in this musical adventure, presented in partnership with Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
CHECK OUT story about Winston on KETV, "12-year-old Omaha Composers Musical Piece Featured by Omaha Symphony."
CHECK OUT story about Winston in Broadway World, "Omaha Symphony to Perform INSECT SUITE by Child Composer, Winston Schneider."
CHECK OUT story about Winston in the Omaha World Herald, "Omaha Symphony to play young local composer's work."
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.’”
ArtsCanvas.org (PBS NewsHour)
Bugs and books become inspiration for this 11-year-old composer
NET's "What If..." story is picked up nationally and featured on PBS NewsHour's Arts Canvas website.
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.