Music with Minnesotans: Nick Schneider

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
March 2, 2011
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St. Paul, Minn. — Nick Schneider is a tall, lanky and thougtful person who in spite of his lean appearance reassures me he eats plenty of food.

He certainly prepares plenty of meals - and very special meals. As the collaborating chef for Mixed Precipitation's Picnic Operetta - he is in charge of the food-infused portion of this annual summertime community-garden production.

While many of us listen to music while we eat and have been to at least one fancy restaurant or party with live music, Nick's work gets to the essence of the music - perhaps it's the setting of the opera that inspires the palette or a particular emotion or just the visceral feeling we get that determines what should be served.

In the winter, Nick offers a kind of underground private dining experience that is far more intimate - and the food reflects that.

Take Bach for instance which calls for veal medallions and risotto infused in a kind of beet juice.

Nick is a music lover and carefully chose the specific performers for his playlist. His "desert island" piece is a tender and transparent performance of Prokofiev played by Frederic Chui.

One of Nick's missions as a chef is to develop fruitful cross-pollinations between the kitchen, garden, and public health. It would seem the fertile ground has been laid for music to filter throughout all of his projects.

Though the huge exhaust fans in a kitchen can make a din so loud only Latin or jazz are played in his workspace, as an urban agriculture consultant and teacher, I would imagine Nick Schneider hums a little opera aria here and there while he works.

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Nick Schneider's playlist:

Jacques Offenbach, Tales of Hoffmann - Ozawa/ORTF National Orchestra

J.S. Bach, Cello Suite No. 2: Allemande - Rene Berman

Sergei Prokofiev, Lieutenant Kije: Romance - Frederic Chui

Christoph Gluck, Orfeo - Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists

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Next week join Ely Echo publisher Anne Swenson. She was in the audience when Leontyne Price sang Porgy and Bess and still has her souvenir program. One year, Anne lived in Italy and actually walked through the pine forest Respighi writes about. Enjoy a warm and sunny playlist from the far north.

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