OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – If you closed your eyes and listened to Winston Schneider play the piano, you would never know the award-winning composer is just 14 years old.
Not only can the teen play the famous works of Brahms flawlessly, but he can create original music, much of which has already been requested by some of the most respected professionals in the classical music industry.
Schneider started playing at age five and never looked back.
He won first place nationally at all three major pre-college student composition competitions: MTNA (2022), NFMC (2022), and NAFME (2018), and at age 10 was selected internationally as a MATA Jr. composer.
Perhaps most notably, in 2021, Schneider received a prestigious American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a competition for composers up to 30 years of age, with 400-500 applicants each year.
His original works have been performed by the New York Youth Symphony and he was the youngest student ever to be included in the Curtis Institute of Music’s esteemed Summerfest composition program at age 12.
Despite his impressive resume, the home-schooled pianist and cellist are quite humble.
He credits the love and support from his parents, piano teacher, composition instructor, and Omaha Conservatory of Music school — where he’s studied for nearly a decade — with his continued success.
“Most instruments you can only play one part at a time, sometimes two, but with the piano, you have the whole range of an orchestra at your disposal,” said Schneider, describing his passion for piano.
Recently, his focus and dedication have taken him to new heights.
Omaha classical music station KVNO commissioned Schneider to create an original piece for their 50th-anniversary celebration.
Schneider’s new work, a 10-minute composition titled “Anniversary Overture,” is a celebratory piece that will also be performed by the Omaha Symphony at the “Elgar and Bolero” season-opening concert.
This is Schneider’s Masterworks debut and world premiere.
“I’m very honored and I’m very appreciative that I get this opportunity. It’s amazing!” he shared.
The young talent says he believes writing music you love is the key to success. “Chances are if you like it, others will too.”
If you’d like to support Schneider and the Omaha Symphony, you can buy tickets to their “Elgar and Bolero” show for Friday night and Saturday, September 24th.
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