Maria Schneider is a composer, conductor, and educator who has been breaking boundaries writing for her own jazz big band for the past few decades. I saw Maria Schneider’s band three years ago at the Newport Jazz Festival and was enchanted by her sound, as was my fellow composer friend Cassie Shankman, who once played Ms. Schneider’s work “Gumba Blue” in high school band. Ms. Schneider was in town the weekend of April 13th, teaching clinics and leading the UT Jazz Orchestra in a concert of her works.
Cassie and I sat down with Ms. Schneider on the morning of the concert, on a picnic table outside the Butler School of Music in the beautiful sunshine. Of course, an interview outside means busses and airplanes in the background, but Cassie and I felt it was worth it to capture the birds and the laughter and the spirit of one of the first gorgeous Austin weekends of Spring. We talk about health, fear, feminism, trees, and how to find your musical voice.
For more on Maria Schneider, visit her website.
Music featured (all compositions by Maria Schneider and performed by her Jazz Orchestra):