Maria Schneider named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for latest album Data Lords

Maria Schneider has been named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in music for her album Data Lords, adding to the long list of accolades for the accomplished jazz composer and bandleader.

Data Lords previously won the Grammy Award for best large jazz ensemble album, while the track Sputnik won the Grammy for best instrumental composition. In total, Schneider has won seven Grammys out of 14 career nominations. Data Lords also won Schneider four JJA Jazz Awards for composer, arranger, large ensemble and record of the year.

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Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, imaginative, revelatory, riveting, daring, and beyond categorization.” Blurring the lines between genres, her varied commissioners include Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the American Dance Festival and David Bowie. In 2019, she was named an NEA Jazz Master, the United States’ highest honour in jazz.

A strong voice for music advocacy, Schneider has testified before a U.S. congressional committee on digital rights, participated in roundtables for the United States Copyright Office, and has written extensively about the digital economy as it relates to musicians’ interests. Data Lords was largely inspired by her immersion in those issues.

Data Lords is “the most daring work of Schneider’s career, which sets the bar imposingly high,” Nate Chinen wrote for NPR.

This year’s Pulitzer winner in music was Stride, an orchestral composition by Cuban-American composer Tania León. The other finalist was Ted Hearne’s oratorio Place. 

Previous winners include Anthony Davis’s The Central Park Five (2020), Ellen Reid’s p r i s m (2019) and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN (2018).

The jurors were Regina Carter, the New Jersey-based violinist; Christopher J. Washburne, a trombonist, composer and Columbia University professor; Ellen Reid, a New York-based composer and previous Pulitzer winner; John V. Brown, vice-provost of arts at Duke University; and John Schaefer, a broadcaster at WNYC Radio.