Kurt Schneider: from chess to music

by André Schulz
6/22/2016 – One of the most popular youtube video channels is run by Kurt Hugo Schneider. The young US-American can boast of seven million followers which makes him more popular than the NBA. Schneider is also an excellent chessplayer and was once one of the most promising talents in the US. But he then decided to use his creativity to change modern music.

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Schneider's technically and artistically sophisticated video clips have stunned critics and public alike. Schneider, who was born in 1988 in Baltimore, grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and visited the Wissahickon High School where he met Sam Tsui with whom he later started to make music. Tsui sang cover versions and medleys, Schneider accompanied him on piano and made videos of these sessions. In the following video Schneider's technical tricks turn singer Sam Tsui into a band of four Sam Tsuis. 

Can I have this dance

In 2010 Schneider, whose grandparents on his father's side are both from Vienna and whose older sister studied classical piano, finished his studies at Yale with a "magna cum laude" degree in mathematics.

But in his youth Schneider's passion was not music nor mathematics but chess. With 15 Schneider became National Junior Champion and was one of best junior players in the USA. During his time at Yale he was part of the chess team and competed in the Pan-American Championships. Here's a wild game he won against WFM Yulia Cardona from Cuba.

Yulia Cardona - Kurt Schneider



But around 2006 Schneider reconsidered his chess career. He felt that to become one of the very best he would have to focus exclusively on chess - which he did not want to do. Schneider again turned to music. With great success.

Kurt Schneider

He published his musical productions on his own youtube channel which attracts more than seven million followers. On the popularity scale of all music channels Schneider is currently on place 34 and in the popularity scale of all youtube channels he is on place 121.

Kurt Schneider is considered as an outstanding example how the internet and the new platforms have radically changed the music business. Previously, the artists had to pursue music publishers to beg for a contract and these contracts were often to the artist's disadvantage. Today, music publishers are keen to work with artists such as Schneider who in this cooperation still keeps the right to his artistic freedom. 

Kurt Schneider's video channel...

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Kurt Schneider at the USCF 2010...

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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