Associate Professor Music Theory
Office: (478) 301-2132
Christopher Schmitz was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. Before focusing on composition, he earned a Bachelor's degree in trombone at Arizona State University with Gail Eugene Wilson, and a Master's degree in jazz pedagogy at the University of Northern Iowa. At UNI, Schmitz studied jazz arranging and composition with Bob Washut and Chris Merz, and played lead and section trombone in the nationally recognized UNI Jazz Band One. He taught music theory and composition at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas from 2003-2013. Schmitz has received numerous commissions from both professional and academic organizations, and has released commercial publications through Walrus Music (sheet music), Cimarron Press (sheet music), Sea Breeze-Vista (sound recordings), and Beauport Classical (sound recordings). In 2007, Schmitz won the Sammy Nestico Award in jazz composition, resulting in a special commission from the Airmen of Note in Washington, D.C. In 2010, his original composition Rhapsody (for two violas and piano) received its premiere in Carnegie Hall, New York City. Schmitz's original scores accompany feature films including Dance with the One (2010 South by Southwest Film Festival Selection) and Between Kings and Queens (REMI Winner, 43rd Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival). Schmitz holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied composition with Donald Grantham, Yevgeniy Sharlat, and Bruce Pennycook, and music theory with Byron Almen and Edward Pearsall.