"Quietly Present in the Land and the Wind": Maria Schneider's Musical Land Ethic
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Despite the common association of jazz with urban environments, contemporary large-ensemble jazz composer Maria Schneider has written numerous programmatic pieces in which she and her ensemble celebrate and represent wildlife and exurban places/spaces. In this thesis, I analyse three of Schneider’s pieces—“The Thompson Fields”, “Nimbus”, and “Cerulean Skies”—through an ecocritical lens, exploring the compositional and performance techniques used to represent these subjects. I argue, moreover, that these pieces act as a musicalization of early twentieth-century conservationist Aldo Leopold’s ‘land ethic’, which advocates for an expansion of the boundaries of our community-concept to include “soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land”.