Friends of Rochester Symphony,
As you may have heard, Tom Schneller--who has been with us as timpanist and percussion section leader for more than forty years--passed away Sunday evening in an auto accident. He had just played timpani in a concert with the Dubuque Symphony and was driving back to his home in Appleton, WI when the accident occurred.
No one in my time with Rochester Symphony has been more dedicated or committed than Tom Schneller. His knowledge of the use of percussion in the orchestral repertoire was encyclopedic. He took great care to be sure that at each moment we were using just the right instrument with the right sound to make our performances authentic and effective.
Tom put more miles on the road to be able to perform with musical colleagues than anyone else I know. After Dubuque this past weekend, he was going to play timpani with the La Crosse Symphony this weekend before returning to be with us a week later. His major musical commitment for the past four decades has been Rochester Symphony.
We will miss Tom as the anchor of our percussion section. Personally, I will miss his knowledge and insights about scores through all of music history. There are few of us for whom RS has meant as much as it did to Tom. Our deepest condolences to his family.