Jacqueline has played piano for as long as she can remember and loves telling stories and creating moods with her music, as well as inspiring people to dance. She has specialized in improvising or composing meditative, spirited arrangements on traditional and vintage tunes from America, England, Scotland and beyond—spinning out stories, in her variations on the themes.
In Ken Burns’ words, “Jacqueline Schwab brings more feeling and intensity to music than anyone I know. Her playing is insistent, physical, heartfelt and ... unusually moving.” Jacqueline Schwab has been heard on over a dozen of Burns’ documentaries, including the Civil War, Baseball, Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and the recently-premiered Dust Bowl. She has also been heard on other PBS documentaries. She has performed at the White House for President Clinton, and also, with singer Jean Redpath, on Minnesota Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman.
Schwab has performed her solo arrangements concerts and festivals throughout the US, including at the Savannah Music Festival and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, in Cincinnati. Her performances draw on a wide repertoire—Stephen Foster and Civil War song tunes from North and South, Victorian ballroom dance tunes, Scots and Irish songs and dance tunes brought over by settlers, hymns and spirituals, ragtime—plus Latin waltzes and tango and Billie Holiday blues, as well as contemporary-style Celtic and English traditional music. Jacqueline’s arrangements of American heart songs honor the community and improvisational spirit of music making reported in Twain’s times but also link to the present day.
She has recorded with Scottish fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Laura Risk, Scottish singer Jean Redpath, the English dance music quartet Bare Necessities and others. She has three solo recordings: Mad Robin, Down Came an Angel and Mark Twain’s America. Recent recordings include three CDs of Civil War-era music. An upcoming solo CD of waltzes and airs in many styles, True Blue Waltz, is in production (see her successfully-funded kickstarter video,at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/133109880/true-blue-waltz-solo-piano...
A dance musician for many years, Jacqueline plays for many different types of dancing and also leads English country dancing. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, where she majored in piano improvisation. She is married to Edmund Robinson, the minister of the UU Meeting House, in Chatham, and she lives on Cape Cod. For more information, see Jacquelineschwab.com, or listen to sound clips on myspace.com/jacquelineschwab.