by Tricia Duke '19
Knox College's Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency will welcome five-time Grammy award-winning composer Maria Schneider to campus in November.
Schneider will guest-conduct her award-winning original compositions with the Knox College Jazz Ensemble, Illinois State University's Jazz Ensemble I, and Western Illinois University's Jazz Studio Orchestra at a free, public performance on Thursday, November 9. The performance takes place at 7 p.m. in the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg.
The Knox Cherry Street Combo will open the show with original student compositions, which Schneider will workshop as part of her week-long residency. The performance also will feature guest soloists Chip McNeill and Todd Kelly.
On November 7, Schneider will also give a presentation on "Music and the Creative Arts in a Digital Economy." The event, which is free and open to the public, will be Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Recital Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts.
In her talk, Schneider will engage the audience in a conversation about the role of the arts in today's society, and the complex issues of intellectual and creative rights. This talk will not be specific to jazz; rather, it will address issues central to the professional and creative lives of artists across genre, style, and medium. The Jerome Mirza Foundation, the Knox Jazz Year, and the Knox departments of Creative Writing, Music, and English have come together to sponsor this presentation, which addresses all forms of artistic expression.
As an advocate, Schneider has spoken before Congress promoting copyright protection and legislative fairness. She was also one of the original participating artists in Artistshare, the first Internet crowd-funding platform for musicians. Her 2005 album Concert in the Garden, funded solely through Artistshare support, was the first recording in history to win a Grammy without being sold in retail stores.
The Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency is part of the Knox Jazz Year, a year-round series of festivals, speakers, and performances culminating in the Rootabaga Jazz Festival during spring term. The Jazz Year aims to enrich the student body and Galesburg community with increased knowledge of the craft and spirit of jazz.
Critics hail Maria Schneider's music as "evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization." Schneider and her orchestra emerged into the public eye when they released their first recording, Evanescence, in 1994.
Her current 18-member collective includes some of the finest jazz musicians today, and she tailors her writing specifically to the style and strengths of each member of the close-knit group. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at a wide range of concert halls and festivals worldwide. Schneider continues to receive numerous commissions and guest-conducting invitations, making Knox one of more than 85 groups from more than 30 countries to benefit from her uniquely creative expertise.
About the Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency
The Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency at Knox College is made possible by generous support from the Jerome Mirza Foundation of Bloomington, Illinois. The residency program is designed to benefit Knox students, jazz practitioners, and audiences of jazz lovers from the Galesburg and surrounding communities by bringing world-renowned jazz artists to campus for a week of intensive and collaborative jazz activities with Knox College students, culminating in a free public concert.
The Jerome Mirza Foundation supports programs in education and the arts and was created by a bequest from Jerome Mirza, an attorney who served as president of the Illinois State Bar Association and Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, wrote several books on personal injury law, and founded the Jerome Mirza College of Advocacy at Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois. Mirza was a passionate jazz aficionado, and Knox College is pleased to have this opportunity to honor his memory by sharing the love of jazz with the campus and Galesburg communities. Mirza's daughter, Candace Mirza, is a 1981 Knox graduate.