Daniel Schnyder. composer. saxophonist.

Biography english | german

The Swiss American composer Daniel was born 1961 in Zurich, Switzerland and lives in New York City.

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 Bass Trombone Concerto received a Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Small Ensemble Recording" in 2002 and his 'Brass Trio' won 1st Prize at the International Trumpet Guild Competition Composition Competition 1996

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.

As a composer he produced albums for jazz artists Abdullah Ibrahim ("African Suite"), Lee Konitz ("Tribute to Billie Holiday") and Paquito D'Rivera ("Habañera", Enja Records). Schnyder also worked with Simon Shaheen, Peter Herbert, Burhan Öcal, Bassam Saba, Jing Yang, 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 and in Jerusalem. "Charlie Parker's Yardbird", a commission by Opera Philadelphia was premiered in June 2015 with Laurence Brownlee as Charlie Parker. Subsequently the work got played in more than a dozen American cities and in London UK.

Three unique concerti for ethnic instruments, his Pipa Concerto, his Nay Concerto for Bassam Saba, and his Alphorn Concerto for Arkady Shilkloper got played a lot to great acclaim.

His symphonic work "Sundiata Keita" for Large Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and 4 soloists from Mali playing traditional instruments was successfully premiered at the Berlin Philharmony during his stay as composer in residence with the RSO in Berlin 2010.


He also toured with the program "Around the World”, featuring the Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic and Stefan Schulz on Bass Trombone, with whom he recorded for the BIS label.

The album, entitled "Art of the Duo” features legendary bass trombone virtuoso David Taylor and Daniel Schnyder on saxophones.

Daniel Schnyder's 'Trumpet Sonata' was selected as one of the 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. His Trumpet Concerto, played by Reinhold Friedrich and Manuel Blanco is considered to be one of the most advanced concertos for the instrument.

He holds master classes in composition, chamber music, improvisation and saxophone at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, 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.

Absolute Ensemble released a CD in 2014 on Sony Classical with Daniel Schnyder's "ToopART Reinventions", a new work reflecting on Bach's Two Part Inventions, featuring Simone Dinnerstein on piano.

The Oratorio 'Revelation of St John' (UE), written for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 2000, got played in 2020 in Budapest and 2022, for the first time in Japan, at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, conducted by Sebastian Weigle.

Daniel Schnyder got featured in an anthology of Clarinet music by Daniel Ottensamer on DECCA ('A Friday Night in August' for Clarinet Trio) and his trumpet Sonata just got recorded by Simon Höfele in 2022.

He wrote competition chamber music pieces for the International Rostal Competition, The Aulos Competition, The Muri Competition and many others.

At the opening concert of the 'Allegro Vivo Festival 2022’ in Austria Daniel Schnyder played his new concerto for Tenorsaxophone, Violin and Orchestra.

Lately Schnyder founded the WORLDS BEYOND ORCHESTRA featuring some extraordinary young musicians. The Ensemble is expanding the world of the classical concert music experience. The orchestra will be featured at the Lucerne Festival 2023.

Daniel Schnyder is one of the most versatile and prolific composers alive, who works also as an improvisator, soloist and chamber musician. He wrote music in almost all genres combining them in new surprising and exciting ways.