SUNY Oswego music professor Eric Schmitz composed a CD with his brother and father, titled “ACE Composers Ⅱ,” which also features work fellow music faculty members Robert Auler and Daniel Wood.

This CD was released earlier this year and includes tracks composed by Eric, Christopher and Alan Schmitz. The “ACE” is a compilation of their first names. They compiled their first album together in 2016. 

Wood helped Schmitz with recording two pieces in the Tyler Hall recording studio. Schmitz wrote a piece specifically for Auler –- an internationally award-winning pianist -– to perform, leaving spaces for him to improvise as well. The three of them met up to record the piece at the end of the spring 2021 semester.

‘Really talented musicians’

“We set up in one of our new recording studios that we have, and for me, it was a real treat,” said Wood, who coordinates the department’s audio design and production major and minor. “I remember I was setting up, getting everything ready and Eric and Rob were working together. It was really great to see two really talented musicians working together at that level.”

Schmitz and Auler have known each other for over 15 years and know each other’s music well. Auler said Schmitz let him know he was working on the album and asked if he would be willing to play a piano piece. 

“I was extremely happy to work with him and to play his wonderful piece,” Auler said. 

This project was split between the three Schmitzes, who each live in different states. Eric Schmitz said they each wrote their music individually for the album because they have different musical preferences. They did not collaborate as composers.

Variety of influences

“Rather than producing a project with a unified sound or approach, this diversity in influences and preferences resulted in a CD with pieces representing a wide variety of ensembles, styles and moods,” Schmitz said. 

Not only were Schmitz’s father and brother involved in the composing of this CD, but his other siblings, Lee Schmitz and Emily Schmitz Madonia, were featured as performers. 

“Having all four of us siblings involved made this a really special experience,” Schmitz said. 

Other performers on the CD include Charles Pillow, Bob Washut, Josh Hakanson and Christopher Merz. In addition to Wood, some of the people involved in the production included Robert Blackburn and Tom Barry.

Schmitz said producing this CD was different from the first album because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We had initially planned to release the CD in 2020, but when everything shut down in March of that year, we were forced to postpone indefinitely,” Schmitz said. “The pandemic added about two years to the process before everything was completely and ready for release.”

Schmitz received funding from SUNY Oswego’s Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee (SCAC) for two of the recording sessions. 

“I am very grateful for the SCAC grant that funded the recording sessions for two of my pieces,” Schmitz said. “I have been lucky to receive funding from this on-campus source a number of times over the past several years.” 

The CD is available via iTunes for purchase, Spotify for streaming and other sources for those looking to hear it.

-- Written by Gabrielle Kroeger of the Class of 2023