11-year-old Omaha Composer Debuts piece in Brooklyn, New York, at MATA Festival


November 18th, 2018

Schneider: “I never want to quit, I want to squeeze all of the goodness out of it.”

Winston Schneider has been composing music since the age of 5. He currently studies piano and composition at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and cello, drums and music theory at the college level. He swept the 2018 NAFME competition’s this year in Composition Competition, the Electronic Music Composition, the Nebraska Juniors Composers Composition and was a national recipient of ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. All of this after just finding out he was the 11-year-old Omaha composer selected as one of the six pre-college composers from around the world to write a piece to be played by NY’s premier teen ensemble, Face the Music. Philip Glass is the executive producer and co-founder of the MATA Festival where Schneider will be hearing the premier of his winning piece, Insect Suite where he incorporates the special effects of sight, sound, and smell.

Schneider: “The first movement called ‘The Stink Bug’ uses the smell effect. He’s just trotting along, sucking plant juices in the main theme and then the Wolf spider comes. The Wolf spider is the faster, more aggressive them in the middle ,then there is a faster, more aggressive them in the middle section. After that, where the orchestra plays all of the random notes, I wanted to get the Wolf spider’s reaction of the stink bug. This is my favorite section of the piece. Before the program, wax envelopes are getting handed out which contain coriander and cilantro which are spices that smell like stink bugs and the essential oil, cedar wood. The conductor will motion to the audience to smell their envelopes to give the effect that the stink bug has sprayed his stinky liquid on them.”

Schneider went on the explain the second movement that uses the special effect of sound.

Schneider: “It’s called the “Whistling Tarantula”, they actually make a rattling, hissing sound by rubbing their fangs together. They use if for mating or for a warning, to back off. He is cooped up in his den, like an old man, and that is the slower, more down theme. Then the lighter, more upbeat theme is the cricket theme, and I use more upbeat sounds for this.”

The third movement is called “Fireflies”

Schneider: “In the first two movements, there will be a jar with a black cover over it,  when you take off the cover of the jar, it will be a jar with twinkling lights, like Christmas lights, and they will be controlled by a remote control to be flashing on and off so it will be the effect that fireflies are in a jar. At a certain moment in the piece near the end, the lights will go off with gobo lights. In the venue, there are two lights called Leko lights, and you can put gobo’s into them. Gobo’s shape the lights, image you have a flashlight and then you put a cloth over it but it has a hole in the middle, it just shines through that hole. My gobo has little dots all around it so it will give the effect that the fireflies have left the jar and are now flying free.“

The OCM recently hired Schneider to compose a melody for the upcoming annual fundraiser. Donors will give to hear each note of the melody come to life. He plans to continue piano lessons, but has a solid idea for his bright future.


Schneider: “What I know I want to do all my life is I want to compose all my life is I want to composer all my life, I want to draw all my life because drawing is another passion of mine and I want to reserve time to be out in nature all of my life because that is something I enjoy, too.”

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