As a composer and bandleader, five-time GRAMMY winner Maria Schneider deploys her peerless seventeen-piece Maria Schneider Orchestra to test the boundaries between classical music and jazz. Hailed as a “major composer” by Time and a “national treasure” by NPR, Schneider draws some of the world’s best musicians to her ensemble, reshaping the way a big band works, much as Duke Ellington did before her. A protégé of jazz giant Gil Evans and a collaborator of David Bowie, Dawn Upshaw, and the Kronos Quartet, Schneider comes to Duke Performances having recently won a GRAMMY for The Thompson Fields, her sublime ode to her rural Minnesota upbringing. Schneider’s dazzling orchestra includes the likes of North Carolina-born pianist Frank Kimbrough — seen earlier this season in MONK@100 — and GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist Donny McCaslin. “The orchestra, as a single breathing organism, is Ms. Schneider’s instrument,” proclaimed The New York Times. The Christian Science Monitor called the members of the Orchestra “musicians of tremendous technical sophistication and emotional energy [who] channel their talents through the direction of the most significant big band jazz composer of our time.” Don’t miss this rare local appearance of one of the world’s great large jazz ensembles.