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Tom Schnabel

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Tom Schnabel

Thomas Daniel Schnabel (born February 5, 1947, Los Angeles County) is program director of world music at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall and a music consultant and DJ working out of Los Angeles. He was former music director of music station KCRW.

Early career

Tom Schnabel attended USC, The Sorbonne, and UCLA. He later taught high school and college level English and literature courses in Los Angeles, and later ESL in Paris. Schnabel began producing radio for station KCRW in 1977. During his tenure as music director of KCRW (1979-90), KCRW grew from an obscure college station to become one of the most influential public stations in the United States. He developed the eclectic music format and introduced World Music to public radio. During this time KCRW twice won CMJ's "Best Noncommercial Station" award (1986, 89). Schnabel left KCRW as Music Director in 1990 to broaden his career as a record producer, music consultant, and teacher.

Music producer, consultant, teacher

According to the biography of Schnabel posted on the KCRW website [1]

Schnabel has taught World Music and other courses at UCLA Extension and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He consults on World Music with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as well as producing World Music CDs: Trance Planet, 5 volumes (Triloka Records) and Quango World: Voices (Quango/Island). He has consulted for the Palm Pictures/National Geographic series, Palm World Voices.

Schnabel has also consulted for various films including "Groundhog Day," "O Quatrilho", "Dinosaur" and was music supervisor of John Sayles' Spanish-language feature film Men with Guns.

Journalist and author

Schnabel has written extensively about music for various publications, including The Los Angeles Times, Jazz Magazine (France), Cashbox, Down Beat, Esquire Magazine, Buzz Magazine, and LA Style. He also authored two works of music history and culture: Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians (Acrobat Books 1988), and Rhythm Planet - The Great World Music Makers (Universe/Rizzoli. 1998).

Disc jockey

Schnabel continues to deejay musical events around Los Angeles. He also hosts a weekend program on KCRW's Cafe L.A., which plays a mix of international, new and exotic sounds.

Music program director

Schnabel is currently program director of World Music at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall. He continues to help direct KCRW’s World Festival series, whose featured artists have included Thievery Corporation, Willie Nelson, Gotan Project, Zero 7, Gilberto Gil, A.R. Rahman, Carlinhos Brown, Youssou N’Dour, The Buena Vista Social Club, Cesária Évora, Femi Kuti and Baaba Maal. His Walt Disney Concert Hall series has featured Ravi Shankar, Miriam Makeba, Alison Krauss, Osvaldo Golijov and Gustavo Santaolalla. Many new and undiscovered world musicians and composers have found international recognition through Schnabel's efforts, through his recordings, airplay, and productions of live concerts in the vibrant Los Angeles music community.


In July 1998, Schnabel was honored by the French Ministry of Culture with the prestigious French Medal of Arts Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Des Lettres, for his work in "furthering knowledge of World Music in America." He has also been awarded several citations from the City and County of Los Angeles.

Published works

  • Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians, Acrobat Books (1988), ISBN 0-918226-13-9
  • Rhythm Planet - The Great World Music Makers, Universe/Rizzoli (1998), ISBN 0-7893-0238-1

External links


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