Dietrich Schnabel was born in 1968 in Schorndorf, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He learned piano and double-bass during his childhood and before he left school was leading several church choirs and smaller vocal groups. From 1991 to 1997 he studied orchestral conducting, musical theory and the history of art in Weimar and Köln.
Towards the end of the 1980s, Dietrich turned to work with recorder orchestras, and since then has been engaged in educating adults. He is very much involved in the conducting of recorder orchestras and smaller groups, and directs various musical weeks, and gives seminars and courses. He is the permanent conductor of four recorder orchestras, ranging in size from 25 to 100 players, two of which he founded in 2006
Dietrich has undertaken guest conducting and exchange project with a number of recorder orchestras, including the Scottish Recorder Orchestra, the Taipei Recorder Orchestra (Taiwan) and the Phoenix Recorder Orchestra. He also collaborates with many other composers for recorders, such as Allan Rosenheck, Steve Marshall, Glen Shannon and Lance Eccles, and with soloists and recorder orchestra conductors such as Pam Smith, Liu Yung-tai, Kuo Kun-chao.
In his orchestral work, Dietrich’s first aim is to broaden the sound spectrum of the recorder orchestra. This involves a progressive musical teaching of the players, and a step by step professionalization of the sound picture. This is against the background of his the ideal of a large, colour-rich orchestra, which has available to it old works allowing a wide range of performance styles, as well as the works of contemporary composers.
His compositions are gaining popularity, some being performed more outside Germany than at home! His compositions include two symphonies, a sinfonietta and other works for recorder orchestra, as well as some works for smaller ensembles, including a number of chorale preludes and chorale partitas. In 2014 he wrote a melodrama “The Booted Cat” based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale, for speakers, recorder orchestras, piano, marimba, percussion and contrabass.
Dietrich lives with his wife Susanne (an artist) in Gudensberg, near Kassel. They have four children.