At the age of 7 a door to door accordion salesman came to Douglas Schmidts’ house selling accordions. The choice offered was a red or a white instrument. Douglas chose the red one and tentatively began his music career. At the age of 12 he became also interested in the clarinet, bought an instrument for 20 dollars and began to play on it. Two years later at the age of 14 he started winning many instrumental competitions on the accordion but soon became frustrated with the lack of good arrangements and repertoire available for the instrument at that time. So began a career of composing and arranging his own music.
Much later while completing a Doctorate of Music degree at the University of British Columbia, Douglas had a meeting with the legendary bandoneonist and composer Astor Piazzolla, an experience that eventually changed his musical direction. Piazzolla stated that finding and keeping ones identity through personal experience as a musician is crucial but not easy to achieve. Schmidt now plays and performs on the German bandoneon and also composes music. The bandoneon is an incredibly complicated German type of concertina designed to play church music as a substitute for the organ and was adopted by Argentineans for their tango music. It seems to have become a cultural icon in that country. Schmidt believes that the instrument chose him, the sound and feel of playing it becoming part of his mental and physical essence. Playing music on it is a little like a relationship with a temperamental girlfriend, there are bad days and good days. Since meeting Piazzolla Schmidt has performed with many symphony orchestras including the Buffalo, London, Montreal, Esprit, Nova Scotia, former CBC, Victoria, Montana, and at the Berlin Philharmonie etc..
As a composer he wears many different stylistic hats but strives to maintain an individual voice of uniqueness. Allowing his immediate environment and experiences to directly influence his musical creativity is crucial. As a Canadian citizen Douglas has lived in Dusseldorf and Berlin Germany for six years and now resides in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) South Vietnam teaching International Baccalauriate Music. He is also currently an examiner for the Oxford University International Baccalauriate music program.
© 2016 Douglas Schmidt