The Swiss American composer and soloist Daniel Schnyder was born 1961 in Zurich, Switzerland and lives in New York City.
He studied saxophone, arrangement and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He subsequently finished his classical Flute studies at the conservatory in Zürich.
Originally Daniel Schnyder grew up playing the cello.
Among his credits as a composer are commissions to write new works for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York, the Tonkuenstler Orchestra in Vienna, the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, The Norrlands Operan in Sweden, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Vienna Art Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Opera of Bern, the NDR Orchestra in Hannover, the NDR Big Band in Germany, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the New York based new music group “Absolute Ensemble” under the direction of Kristjan Jaervi, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Postclassical Ensemble in Washington DC, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia besides many others.
The Album “Absolution” (Enja Nova) featuring Daniel Schnyder’s Trombone Concerto received a Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Small Ensemble Recording” in 2002.
He frequently performs with his special chamber music project for saxophone and string quartet, combining composition and improvisation, jazz and traditional chamber music.
The extended catalogue of his chamber music works gets performed and recorded all around the globe.
Many of his chamber music and solo works are featured in and commissioned by major international competitions like the MURI COMPETITION for Oboe and Bassoon, the AEOLUS COMPETITION for Trombone and the Maurice André Competition in Paris as well as the 2021 ITA Competition, just to mention a few.
As an arranger/composer he produced albums for jazz artists Abdullah Ibrahim (“African Suite”), Lee Konitz (“Tribute to Billie Holiday”) and Paquito D’Rivera (“Habañera”, Enja Records). He also worked with Simon Shaheen, Peter Herbert, Burhan Öcal, Bassam Saba, Jing Jang, Min Xioa Fen, Marcel Kalife and Jamey Haddad on a variety of projects, merging Arab music and Chinese music elements with jazz and classical music.
Daniel Schnyder’s Opera “Abraham” was premiered in Duesseldorf in November 2014. The Opera “Charlie Parker’s Yardbird”, a commission by Opera Philadelphia, was premiered in June 2015 with Laurence Brownlee as Charlie Parker. The New York premiere of the work took place at Harlem’s legendary “Apollo Theater” in June 2016. Subsequently the work was played in more than 8 major US cities celebrating the legendary music icon ‘BIRD’.
Two concerti for ethnic instruments, his Pipa Concerto and his Alphorn Concerto, were premiered in the 2005/06 season to great acclaim. Daniel Schnyder wrote also a concerto for the Libanese Nay virtuoso Bassam Saba, that became the centerpiece of Daniel Schnyder’s special festival program: “Arabian Night”.
His symphonic work “Sundiata Keita” for Large Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and 4 soloists from Mali playing traditional instruments was successfully premiered at the ‘Berliner Philharmonie’ during his stay as composer in residence with the RSO in Berlin.
He also toured with the program “Around the World” featuring the Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Stefan Schulz and worked closely with the Scharoun Ensemble as composer in residence and chamber musician.
In projects and recordings with Stefan Schulz (‘Haendel in Harlem/ Worlds Beyond), Kristjan Jaervi and David Taylor (Art of the Duo) Daniel Schnyder explores new ways to play and reinvent classical music in our time.
Daniel Schnyder won first prize at the 1996 International Trumpet Guild’s Composition Contest. His Trumpet Sonata was selected as one of the official pieces for the Concours Maurice André pour Trompette 2003 (Paris). He won also numerous awards for his chamber music by the International Flute Association, the International Clarinet Association, the City of Zurich, Pro Helvetia, the National Art Council of Switzerland, the American Symphony League and Meet the Composer.
Daniel Schnyder gave master classes in composition, chamber music, improvisation and saxophone at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart under the guidance of Ingo Goritzki, the Baltic Youth Philharmonic and the Bruckner University in Linz.
He also works as a consultant with major festivals, promoters and ensembles, trying to bridge the worlds of classical music, jazz and ethnic music in innovative ways.