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Maria Schneider comes home with the Minnesota-inspired music of 'The Thompson Fields'

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The Maria Schneider Orchestra is on tour performing the Grammy-winning "Thompson Fields" this month, with six concerts on the West Coast and one in Minnesota. Is that merely a pit stop in Schneider's home state? "No, it's the main event," insisted the Windom-reared, New York-based darling of the jazz world, whose ensemble performs Thursday in St. Paul. "I'm so excited. Some of the Thompsons will be there and my family and some friends"  Schneider said. The Thompson Fields, the composer's fan-funded 77-minute instrumental opus to nature, was inspired by her first 18 years living in southwestern Minnesota. There are pieces about butterflies, birds, clouds and the neighboring Thompson family farm - all specific to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. "I didn't set out to write a lot of music about home," she said recently from her New York City apartment. I never sit down and say ‘I'm going to write a piece about such and such' and try to find the music. I started writing, and these pieces started to conjure up those images for me."

The Maria Schneider Orchestra will perform in concert tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 16 at The O'Shaughnessy, St. Catherine University

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