Composer, pianist, improviser and arranger Elliot Sneider’s music has been performed in concert halls across the United States, including Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater (chamber orchestra) and Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix, AZ, as well as in films (The Neighbor, Brando from the Neck Down), and on TV (IFC channel and the Style Network). Elliot’s music has been performed by groups such as Simply Three, the early-music choir Solis Camerata, members of the Paradise Winds, and the ASU Wind Ensemble.
Elliot composes music that reflects his experiences with jazz, classical, rock, afro-beat, hip-hop, and Jewish music, an amalgamation of growing up in Syracuse, NY, surrounded by urban sounds and fueled by obsessions with the music of George Gershwin, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Debussy, DJ Shadow, Nas, and Phish to name a few. This broad spectrum of inspiration provides Elliot with the versatility to compose in a variety of styles. His musique concréte piece “Adventures in Shoes,” was featured at the 2013 SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music) conference. The Butcher of Plainfield, a musical written with playwright Steven Charles Nicholas, was performed at the Actors Studio in New York City in April 2009. His composition for wind ensemble, “Summer Lullaby,” was the winner of the 2013 ASU Concerto Competition for composers.
An in-demand pianist, Elliot has played with the afro-beat ensemble Asiko, the 1920’s style dance band, “The Dreamland Orchestra,” the Americana group “Sunroom,” among many other freelance jazz and classical ensembles. An expert at early “traditional” jazz and blues piano, he is a “regular” playing at Michael Arenella’s annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island for the past 7 years. His one-man show My Brother George about the life and music of George Gershwin has been described as “phenomenal,” and “thrilling.” He plays off-broadway theater and music directs for theater companies in Syracuse, New York City, and Phoenix.
Elliot began his musical career at the age of 15, playing professionally in jazz groups and musical theaters in Syracuse, NY. His love of blues, jazz, and improvisation led him to New England Conservatory to study with Paul Bley, the great free-improvisation pianist. While completing his undergraduate degree in jazz piano and composition at NEC he was inspired by mentors Danilo Perez, Hankus Netsky, and Michael Gandolfi, who first exposed him to the sounds of modern classical music. Before long, the works of Elliott Carter, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Anton Webern completely changed Elliot’s outlook on the world of music. Elliot went on to earn a Masters degree in Music Composition and Technology from New York University, where he studied composition with Marc-Antonio Consoli. During his time at NYU he composed a number of pieces for short films. Elliot is presently a doctoral student at Arizona State University, studying composition with James DeMars, Roshanne Etezady and Rodney Rogers.
As a scholar, Elliot is fascinated with the intersection of improvisation and composition and is developing a new analytical model in which the improvisational elements of a composition are discussed as part of an eclectic analysis. Other areas of intellectual interest are early blues music and the music of George Gershwin. Elliot enjoys teaching, and currently teaches ear-training classes at Arizona State University and music technology classes at Collins College.