Oliver Schneller

Oliver Schneller

Professor of Composition

Director, Eastman Computer Music Center



Photo © Manu Theobald / Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

Born in Germany, Oliver Schneller grew up in Africa, Europe, and Asia and studied in Germany and the United States, and his works reflect his interest in all aspects of interculturality in music. He is the recipient of such honors as Harvard University’s Paul Fromm Award, the Tanglewood Music Center’s Benjamin Britten Memorial Fellowship, the Rome Prize Fellowship, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation’s Composers’ Prize, and more.  

Schneller’s music has been heard at numerous international festivals, including the Festival Agora Paris, Maerzmusik Berlin, Wien Modern, Munich Biennale, Alternativa Moscow, the International Computer Music Conferences (ICMC) in Singapore and Göteborg, Musicaaaoustica Beijing, EXPO 2010 Shanghai, Indaba South Africa, Aspen, and Tanglewood. His works have been performed by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Percussions de Strasbourg, Ensemble Mosaik, Antares, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, SWR Radio Orchestra, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and other ensembles. 

Schneller developed and expanded the Computer Music Studio at the City University of New York. As a composer-in-research at IRCAM, a French institute for science about music, sound, and electro-acoustical art music, he worked on “Jardin des Fleuves,” a work for ensemble and live-electronic spatial processing. He has taught seminars and master classes on composition, orchestration, and compositional applications of acoustics and psychoacoustics at Cornell University, the University of the Arts in Berlin, the Norwegian Theatre Academy, and Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, and has served as professor of composition at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart and at the Hannover Conservatory of Music. 

In 2004, Schneller was the artistic director of the “Tracing Migrations” Festival in Berlin, which featured the works of contemporary composers from Arab countries. The following year, he curated the “The Musical Moment” at Berlin’s House of World Cultures, a project that explored Eastern and Western concepts of musical beauty involving composers Toshio Hosokawa and Helmut Lachenmann. In addition, Schneller designed the 48-channel sound installation that was part of an exhibition on Islamic and modern worlds prepared by TASWIR Projects. 

Schneller is a co-founder of the SinusTon Festival for Experimental Music, for which he also serves as artistic director, and of the composers collective “Biotope.” 

As a saxophonist, Schneller has performed with ensembles such as the George Russell Big Band, the Gustav Mahler Youth Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a soloist in Tan Dun’s Red Forecast. He also has worked with various jazz and improvisation ensembles in Cologne, Paris, Amsterdam, Boston, and New York. 

Schneller earned degrees at the University of Bonn and the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as the Doctor in Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University.