Originally from Fairfax, IOWA, pianist/composer Jon Snell began playing piano at age 5.
Since relocating to New York, Snell has performed with a variety of groups at some of the city's most esteemed venues, including Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, and Cornelia Street Cafe. He has worked on a diverse range of projects including performances with jazz trombonist Luis Bonilla, Ethan Helm’s avant-garde ensemble Wet Electric, and a monthly performance series at the 55 Bar with the jazz vocalist group Vinyl Live, under the direction of Theo Bleckmann, Gretchen Parlato, and Kate McGarry. In addition to performances on the East Coast and in the midwestern United States, Snell has performed internationally in Thailand.
In addition to a collection of over 50 original works for small ensembles, Snell composes for studio orchestra and big band. (A few of these works can be viewed on the “Listen” page.) He is a past recipient of ASCAP’s Young Jazz Composer’s Award and is a sought-after composer for both large and small ensembles.
Snell is passionate about teaching, which lead him to found Jazz Lessons NYC in 2015, an organization which provides individualized instruction, via Skype, to highly motivated students, primarily at the collegiate level. Snell has served on the faculty of jazz camps for middle and high schoolers and has been a guest artist, speaker, and clinician at the collegiate and high school levels. He also serves as a teaching artist for Manhattan School of Music’s Distance Learning Program where students, faculty, and alumni are invited to present videoconferencing classes and workshops worldwide.
Upon moving to New York, Snell attended the Manhattan School of Music where he completed his master’s degree in jazz performance and received the William H. Borden Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Jazz. In addition to full time studies at MSM, Snell served as a teacher’s assistant and tutor for undergraduate and graduate courses in jazz harmony / counterpoint, ear training, and improvisation. He studied jazz piano with Garry Dial, classical piano with Lisa Yui, and was mentored in an ensemble setting by Phil Markowitz. Prior to this time, Snell completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa where he received the Purple and Old Gold Award for Conspicuous Achievement in Music. He studied jazz piano with Bob Washut and classical piano with Sean Botkin.