Death of Glimmerglass founder

Death of Glimmerglass founder


norman lebrecht

October 11, 2020

The conductor Charles Schneider who founded Glimmerglass Opera in 1975 has died of pulmonary fibrosis. He was also music director of the Utica and Catskill Symphony Orchestras. Other credits include conducting the US premiere of Weill’s “Mahagony” with San Francisco Opera.


  • Tristan says:

    Damn. That is sad. Played under him at NYSMF 2007, was an inspiring person the learn from.

  • William Safford says:

    He was a kind man and a fine conductor.

    Here is an anecdote, something that I witnessed in one of the last rehearsals I played under him.

    The program was a compilation of short works, so musicians (mostly) were not leaving stage when they didn’t play in a particular piece.

    At one point, Schneider, while conducting, called out to a wind player something like “Play here,” or “You missed your entrance,” or something like that–not rude, not nasty, but just delivering information.

    The player replied that she wasn’t given a part, that she wasn’t told to play in that piece.

    Now, we can all guess how a mean and nasty conductor might have responded.

    A businesslike conductor might have said something like: “Librarian, please get a part for her.”

    Schneider, while conducting, apologized, and said that the problem would be fixed.

    Then, during break, I watched him go up to the player and personally apologize to her.

    That is the sort of man who he was.

    He was on oxygen for the rehearsals and concert–that was his level of dedication to conducting.

  • Fenway says:

    Chuck was the person that got me to pursue music as a profession. He named me timpanist of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra in Oneonta, NY when I was 16. He was a wonderful artist and human being.

  • Patricia says:

    Glimmerglass Opera is a wonderful company in Cooperstown, New York, right near the lake. The hall is intimate so they don’t do the big $$$ productions. I saw Jonathan Miller’s production of “Traviata” there some years ago. The house is built on farmland and occasionally the smell of little cows drifts through the house. Great place.

  • Hanne Bock Andreasen says:

    I’m saddened to learn of his passing. Chuck was such a fine person and conductor, a treat to work with, at Glimmerglass Opera as well as Catskill Symphony and Orpheus Theater. As a beginning singer I learned so much, and received needed encouragement, and went on to a career, thanks largely to those experiences. May he rest in
    peace. His memory is a blessing to all of those who knew
    and worked with Maestro Schneider. Thank you for all you have done.

  • Marshall says:

    It’s nice to see that Chuck is being remembered. Although he was the first conductor/music director at Glimmerglass, more correctly he was not the founder-that was the late Peter Macris. Although Schneider’s name remained associated with the company and was a fine credit for him as the company became more well known, it should be pointed out (to the best of my knowledge) the later management of the company never invited him back to conduct anything. In fact they gave him little credit for his early efforts, and they could have at least had him back  to conduct  a musical which they often performed. 
    He was the kind of essential provincial musician that sustained the musical culture in the US (now mostly gone) that provided experience and inspiration for young musicians. A decent guy, a fine musician and teacher.

  • Brian Ure says:

    Chuck and Rayna were dear friends to me and son! As a professional photographer, I photographed Chuck several times in musical situations. A treasure that Central New York will miss!

  • David Ross says:

    Chuck was a real gentleman who encouraged music making in several generations of musicians in Upstate NY. He is certainly missed.