Winston Schneider, composer

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Meet Winston

Winston performs on Show 446.

Winston F. Schneider (composer/piano), 16, from Omaha, Nebraska, is an international award-winning young American composer. His works span a broad range: a 60-minute symphony, a septet with spoken voice about the summer of Covid-19 from the perspective of a 17-year-old girl, an orchestra piece involving scent envelopes for the audience to mimic the stink of a threatened stinkbug, a chamber piece reflecting the dire urgency of saving children from child abuse situations, and “Arachnida,” a 21-minute tone poem for orchestra, featuring six types of Arachnids. He’s written over 90 works.

Winston has received an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and now has 35 composition wins to his name across the U.S. and Europe, including MTNA, NAfME, and NFMC. He was a MATA Jr. composer, which the New Yorker calls “the most exciting showcase for outstanding young composers from around the world.” He had his debut of an 11-minute full orchestra work with a professional orchestra when he was 12, a work he wrote at age 10. He was the youngest composer ever to be in Curtis Institute of Music’s summer program.

He has written music that’s been premiered in NYC, Philadelphia, Dallas, Cleveland, Omaha and more. He’s had commissions and premieres by the Grammy-nominated Omaha Symphony, the Grammy Award-winning New York Youth Symphony, the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, Face the Music (NYC’s premiere youth ensemble), Ars Futura (Cleveland based contemporary music ensemble), as well as other orchestras, ensembles, and soloists, including virtuosic flutist, Mimi Stillman.

With early abilities of perfect pitch, transposing in his head, and sometimes, for fun, simultaneously playing piano with each hand in a different key with his eyes closed, Winston began composing at age 5. He’s been featured on PBS News Hour’s “Arts Canvas,” as well as two Nebraska Public Media feature stories, one which won a “Heartland Emmy.”

Insects inspire some of his music. He’s caught, studied and released over 100 different species of insects, arachnids, and other arthropods.

Winston studies at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, and is a three-time MTNA Nebraska Piano Performance winner, and a pianist with the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra. He also plays cello. His beloved music teachers and mentors over the years include Dr. Ken Meints, Anne Madison, Dr. Ira Taxin, Jackson Berkey, Earnest Richardson, Micah Fusselman, Anne Marie Kenny and Dr. Paul Barnes.

With a firm belief that all kids should have access to music education, Winston co-founded Music Marathon for Music Education, a fund-raising event that raises money for programs that provide music education to kids at little to no cost to families. He’s an experienced speaker, advocating for music education access.

He is a home-schooled sophomore and also enjoys competitive debate, playing football with friends, fantasy football, the Green Bay Packers, swimming, and his two cats, Meowth and Glamour.

Listen to Winston

Show 446
Salt Creek Tiger Beetle Quintet - I. Allegro con brio by Winston Schneider (b. 2007)