|Country||United States of America|
Christopher Schmitz was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. Before focusing on composition, he studied trombone at Arizona State University with Gail Eugene Wilson, then earned a master’s degree in jazz pedagogy at the University of Northern Iowa. At UNI, Schmitz studied jazz arranging and composition with Bob Washut and Chris Merz. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. Schmitz has taught music theory and composition there since 2003, and is the director of Southwestern’s newly established Center for Music Composition. He has received numerous commissions from both professional and academic organizations, and has released commercial publications through Walrus Music (sheet music), Sea Breeze-Vista (sound recordings), and Beauport Classical (sound recordings). In 2007, Schmitz won the Sammy Nestico Award in jazz composition. This resulted in a special commission from the Airmen of Note in Washington, D.C. the following year. In 2010, his original composition Rhapsody (for two violas and piano) was premiered in Carnegie Hall, New York City. Schmitz’s original scores accompany feature films including Dance with the One (2010 South by Southwest Film Festival Selection) and Between Kings and Queens (REMI Winner, 43rd Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival). Schmitz is currently finishing work on his dissertation for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas in Austin, where his primary teachers have been Donald Grantham, Yevgeniy Sharlat, and Bruce Pennycook.