About the Composer

Niko D. Schroeder’s artistic practices reflect his Midwestern (U.S.) upbringing through rugged joy, community focus, and wry humor. His works draw on regional folklore and extra-musical elements to illustrate issues of environment, identity, and perception (moves, for example, derives formal and musical material from historic chess matches, while bridge sings integrates field recordings of Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge). He is most himself when working with others, whether through co-composition or interdisciplinary collaboration.

Niko’s collaborative spirit is also reflected in his work as a bandleader, performer, and audio engineer. He has toured with rock, jazz, folk, and contemporary classical ensembles, including his polka outfit, the Bierkeller Boys Oompah Band. Cherished past projects include several ensembles dedicated to co-composition, like indie-pop band The Lake Effects and folk/classical quintet Waiting for Niko. Other performers of his music include Sō Percussion, Roomful of Teeth, Alarm Will Sound, the Sinta Quartet, invoke string quartet, Khemia Ensemble, Grand Valley New Music Ensemble, and members of Fifth House Ensemble. His work as a composer, performer, and engineer can be heard on Innova Recordings, Klavier, slashsound, and his own imprint—Wretched Toad Music.

Niko holds a Master of Music from the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he served as an instructor and sound engineer and was awarded the 2019 Sinquefield Prize, the university’s highest honor for a composer. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University, where he was twice named Composer of the Year, won the Concerto Competition, and was awarded the Glenn A. Niemeyer Award—the highest distinction for student contributions to the university.

He lives in the Netherlands with his spouse Julia, where he is pursuing an Artist Certificate at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. They will soon be joined by their cats Johnny Cash and June Carter. He is one of few full-time artists to co-own a professional sports organization.