The American organist, harpsichordist and fortepianist, David Dillon Schrader, received a Bachelor of Music in piano and a Bachelor of Music in organ with Spoecial Honours from the University of Colorado in 1974. He received Performer's Certificate in 1974, Master of Music with High Distinction in 1975, and Doctor of Music degree in organ in 1987 from Indiana University. His principal teachers have been Storm Bull, Abbey Simon, Oswald Ragatz, Anthony Newman and Everett Jay Hilty.
Equally at home in front of a harpsichord, organ, piano, or fortepiano, David Schrader is "truly an extraordinary musician ... (who) brings not only the unfailing right technical approach to each of these different instruments, but always an imaginative, fascinating musicality to all of them" (Norman Pelligrini, WFMT, Chicago). A performer of wide ranging interests and accomplishments, he has been invited to perform at the American Guild of Organists’ national convention on three occasions performing as a featured artist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1994), the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (under Neeme Järvi, 1984), and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (1998). He has appeared as a soloist on organ and on harpsichord with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra having performed under the direction of Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez and Erich Leinsdorf. He has also appeared with the Grant Park Symphony under Carlos Kalmar, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and with many other orchestras throughout the USA and Canada.
David Schrader has appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as the repetiteur and principal harpsichordist in Chicago Opera Theater’s highly acclaimed production of Orfeo under Jane Glover. In May 2002 he performed five concerts as the featured performer at the prestigious Irving Gilmore Keyboard Festival, performing concerts on organ, harpsichord and clavichord. And, in the summer of 2002 he appeared as a soloist at the Ravina Festival under the direction of Nicholas McGegan performing all six of the J.S. Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos.
David Schrader has appeared at numerous music festivals throughout the USA and Europe. At the prestigious Irving Gilmore Keyboard Festival, he was the featured performer performing five separate concerts, perfroming on organ, harpsichord and clavichord. He performed as the Artist of the Year at the Oulunsalo Soi Music Festival in Oulu, Finland. In 2000 he was the harpsichord soloist with the Nagaokakyo Chamber Ensemble in a tour of Japan under Yuko Mori and the Canadian Baroque orchestra Tafelmusik in a European tour, He has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the Michigan Mozartfest with Roger Norrington, the Connecticut Early Music Festival, the Manitou Music Festival, and the Woodstock Mozart Festival where he performed as soloist and conductor.
A resident of Chicago, David Schrader leads an active musical life at home. For 20 years, he has been the organist of the Church of the Ascension, whose liturgies command a national reputation for musical integrity. He performs with Music of the Baroque, the Newberry Consort, and Bach Week Festival in Evanston. He has appeared with Chicago Chamber Musicians, Contemporary Chamber Players, Chicago Baroque Ensemble, and The City Musick. He has taken part in numerous live and recorded radio broadcasts, nationally distributed. He is a frequent guest on WFMT radio (Chicago) on recordings and in live broadcasts as part of WFMT's "Live From Studio One" programming.
David Schrader's newest recording with Grant Park Symphony of music for organ and orchestra by American composers is the first recording of the Casavant Frères organ in Chicago's Symphony Center which was described by John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune as a "rich palette of sounds and deft rhythmic interplay ...Schrader's 17th recording for the Chicago-based indie label may be his best yet. Go for it." His other recordings include concerti of J.S. Bach with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, and continuo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for both recordings of Sir Georg Solti's Creation, and the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and Messiah. He has many releases of solo repertoire on the Cedille label, including the music of J.S. Bach, Soler, Franck, Antonio Vivaldi, Dupre and Domenico Scarlatti. His recording of Soler’s "Fandango & Sonatas" was described thus "We have never heard more beautiful, natural, realistic harpsichord sound .. The playing? Excellent ... There is no better recording on CD" (American Record Guide). "The popular ‘Fandango’ has perhaps never received so exhilarating a reading" (Chicago Tribune). "His recording of J.S. Bach "Fantasies & Fugues" "captures the sense of improvisatory, virtuosic energy that is to be found so plentifully in this music." (Continuo) He has also recorded for the Centaur and CRI labels.
David Schrader is on the faculty of Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts - Music Conservatory for performance and academic studies where he has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses since 1986. From 1993 through 1995 he directed the Collegium Musicum at Northwestern University. He has also taught at the Music Institute of Chicago (formerly known as The Music Center of the North Shore.)