William Schimmel (born 1946) is one of the principal architects in the resurgence of the accordion, the revival of the Tango in America and the philosophy of Musical Reality (composition with pre-existing music).
He holds Bachelor of Music:. Master of Science and Doctor of Musical Arts
He performs music in many genres, has commissioned and premiered literally hundreds of new works, has written a number of books and articles and has made numerous recordings and videos. He is also the subject of a number of scholarly dissertations, books and articles. He has received grants from the American Music Center, Meet The Composer,1-Park, two teaching fellowships from The Juilliard School, Two Rodgers and Hammerstein Scholarships from The Juilliard School and The Dr.Albert Szmari Scholarship, also from Juilliard. He received a Composers' Citation from The American Accordionists' Association in honor of his composition, The Spring Street Ritual, which was the test piece for the 1979 Coupe Mondiale World Competition. He received The Confederations international Association Merit Award for his contributions as a composer, performer and philosopher on the international accordion scene. He received a Merit Award from the American Accordionists' Association for his contributions spanning fifty years plus the "Accordionist of the Year'' Award in 1988. He received the Keyboard magazine readers' poll award in 1992 as "Best Accordionist" for his extensive stylistic breath. He has served and continues to serve as Artist in Residence of The American Accordionist's where he also serves as Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and member of the Governing Board.
Regarded as The World's Greatest Accordionist by National Public Radio, He is best known for his hit recordings with The Tango Project, number one on the Billboard Charts and winning the Stereo Review Album of the Year Award as well as a Grammy Nomination, who also appears with AI Pacino in the film Scent of a Woman for which Pacino won an Oscar, as well as performances in True Lies, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (trailer), Sex and the Citv, Real Sex, Sesame Street, Law and Order, The Medium, All the King's Men, Equinox, Household Saints, Breaking In, Just a Kiss, Holocaust, The Dane Curse as well as his performances in Kun Dun, State and Maine, Smoke, The Producers, Waiting for the Moon, Strong Medicine, The Baker, New York, I I love you and many others films including composing and performing in a collection of five prize winning films for The Nature Conservancy and other lndie features including Far From Poland, Darrow and the silent film King Vidor classic, The Sky Pilot.
His work with Tom Waits is notable, as well as other greats such as Sting and the late Leopold Stokowski (who has conducted Schimmel's Portrait No 1 with the Juilliard Symphony).
He conducts a yearly three day Master Class and Concert Series (The Seminars) sponsored by the American Accordionists’ Association, dedicated to the exploration and establishment of an accordion culture, which is in its twenty fourth season. These events take place at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York. The Seminar recordings are in process as part of the Lincoln Center Archives.
He has served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Brooklyn College (CUNY), Neupauer Conservatory (dean), New School University, Upsala College, Buffalo Academy of the Visual and Performing Arts, La Guardia High School, New York University and has lectured on accordion related subjects at Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, University Of Missouri at Kansas City, Duke, The Graduate Center (CUNY), Manhattan School of Music, The Janacek Conservatory (Ostrava, Czech Republic), Cornell College. SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oswego, University of Arkansas at Jonesboro and at Microsoft.
He has performed under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Eric Leinsdorf, Roderick Cox, Sir George Solti, Leon Fleisher, Sara Caldwell, Gunther Schuller, Loren Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Dennis Russell Davies, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Andre Previn, Anthony Korf, Michel Galante, Zubin Mehta, Lukas Foss, Max Lifchitz, Gian Carlo Guerrero, Wynton Marsalis, Ted Nash, Lalo Shifrin, Valeri Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Eji Oije, Osmo Vaska, Paul Dunkel, James Baker, Jacob Neupauer
He is a renowned teacher, profoundly influencing a whole new generation of accordionists, composers, performers, teachers, performance artists, musicologists and cross-disciplined artists. He is the director of the Neupauer Conservatory Order of the Shield Program, a private studies program for gifted students on a graduate and post graduate level.
He is an authority of the music of Kurt Weill and has recorded all of Weill's music which includes the accordion. He also served as accordionist and associate conductor of Joseph Papp's production of The Three Penny Opera (Stanley Silverman Richard Foreman version) starring Raul Julia and fur the Chelsea Theatre's production of Happy End, starring Meryl Streep - both on Broadway. He also performed in numerous other Broadway Shows: Bent, Zorba, Three Penny Opera (Sting).Ghetto (Composer/MD), Elephant Man, The Cradle will Rock, Irma la Douce, Juno, Victor Victoria, The Prince of Grand Street,She love Me and others and has served as a composer, musical director and consultant for numerous Broadway, Off Broadway, Opera and Music Theatre projects: Ghetto, Shmulnik's Waltz, Paradise Park,The Tennis Game, Prairie Avenue, Red Eye, Masquerade, Purgatory, Dick Deterred, Man in the House, A little Wine with Lunch, Dreams of Dirty WISdom, Fire Waltz, The Old Man , The Juniper Tree, Smaze, Mothers and Daughters, Fromage Dangereux, Wozzeck, Vanessa, Lost in the Stars, The Floating Box, Jane Avril, Shock Headed Peter, The Fuhrer Bunker. Lazarus, Biographity, The Conjurer, Piaf,a Remembrance, Times and Appetites of Talouse Lautrec, People II, The Special, Will there be Singing?, The Grand Tour, She Loves Me, How do We do, Squeeze Box, The Last Golem Show, A Singer's Journey, TaDaDa, Opera Josephine, Watchman/Newsman, Welcome to Heaven/Hell, The Birds, Dog Logic, Chicago, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, Frank's Wild Years (Tom Waits), Song of Singapore, In Praise of Capital Punishment, Stranger Here Myself, David and Bathsheba, Marie Galante and countless others. He collaborated with distinguished writers such as David Edgar, Scott Burris, John von Hartz, Wendy Kesselman.Charles Mee.W.D. Snodgrass, Timothy S. Mayer, Jane Marla Robbins, Ron Sarno, Anne Randolf, Wallace Shawn, Jeff Wanshell and most extensively George W.S.Trow.
He has appeared on numerous radio programs as a guest performer and commentator: WNYC - Around Town, All Things Considered, and The Next Big Thing (as The Accordion Philosopher starting the series with his title:This is What I live for), National Public Radio's Fresh Air starring Terry Gross- as guest and sometime commentator, The Best of Fresh Air, BBC. WQXR's The Listening Room, Kitchen Classics.WFUV, WFMU. WBAI. WKCR and A Prairie Home Companion. TV appearances include City Arts, The Best of City Arts, MSNBC'S Edge/Wise, What it Takes/Nancy Gold and David Letterman. He now hosts his own internet radio show with Brian Dewan, The Old In and Out, on WS Accordion Radio.
He is married to dancer, choreographer, director and filmmaker, Micki Goodman. Together they founded the Studio Muse Dance/Music/Theatre Troupe and produced concerts in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Dr. Schimmel has made numerous recordings and books.
A short list of albums that contain his “Realities” are:
Two to Tango
Music from the Palm Court
In the Shadows
The Theater of the Accordion
The Vaudevillian Pathetique
Dead End Avenue
Lady of Spain and other Realities
Andy Arcari - A Concerto
Symphony #6 - pathetic/pastoral
Old Manayunk - steampunk reality
Something to sing about
What’s Tango about Classicism?!
The Tango Project in Vermont
Incitation to Desire
His complete discography is available on www.billschimmel.com - as well as his books
Dr. Schimmel’s main collaborator over the past 39 years has been his wife, choreographer,
Their Dance/Music/Theater works consist of:
Anthology for a Spacial Buenos Aires, Rock Suite, Lethe, Looking at Television, The Mind and Itself, Four Tantrick Pieces: O Honey, Call me, Ha, In the Palm of my Hand and Goodbye Hee Hee, Spanish Suite, Adagio in One Place and Soft Core.