Percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. Hailed by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as, “one of our supreme living virtuosos, not just of percussion but of any instrument,” he has championed contemporary percussion music by commissioning or premiering more than one hundred-fifty new works. The most important of these have become core repertory for solo percussion.
Steven Schick is music director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and the artist director Breckenridge Music Festival. He is artistic director emeritus of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. As conductor, Schick has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, Ensemble Modern, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble.
In 2020, Steven Schick won the Ditson Conductor’s Award, given by Columbia University for commitment to the performance of American music.
Schick’s publications include a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and numerous recordings including the 2010 “Percussion Works of Iannis Xenakis,” and its companion, “The Complete Early Percussion Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen” in 2014 (Mode). For the latter, he received the Deutscheschallplattenkritikpreis for the best new music release of 2015. He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2014.
Steven Schick is committed to using music as an agent for positive change in people’s lives. In 2018, he curated and was conductor and percussion soloist in, “It’s About Time,” a festival of the San Diego Symphony designed to highlight the musical dimensions of the cross-border area. In 2021, also with the San Diego Symphony, he will curate “In the Name of the Earth,” a festival dedicated to understanding the impact of the climate crisis in the San Diego region. With his wife, Brenda, he has established the “Brenda and Steven Schick Commission,” for an annual new orchestral work, responding to themes of “social and environmental optimism.”
Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music and is the inaugural holder of the Reed Family Presidential Chair at the University of California, San Diego.