The founder and education director of the Cleveland Cello School, Snyder is a nationally known and highly respected chamber musician who has created numerous arrangements, primarily of the music of Dave Brubeck and stor Piazzolla, for cello ensembles. Locally he's also known as the driving force behind the annual Oblivion Project concerts, featuring the Phoenix Ensemble playing Snyder's arrangements of Piazzolla's nuevo tango music. Snyder is passionate about the cello, how it's used in classical music, how it sounds in genres not often associated with it, and its potential with new techniques and technologies not found in cellists' traditional training.
Bach's Suite for Solo Cello no. 3 is the only classical piece on the "Cello Celli!" program. Juxtaposed with it is Massachusetts-based composer-cellist Stephen Katz's Bitterroot Suite for Solo/Looped Cello. The combination ideally demonstrates the striking contrasts and underlying similarities between the two works. Bach's music requires that the cello simulate simultaneously the melody, inner voices, and bass lines, while the different dance rhythms of the suite provide its rhythmic underpinning. Katz accomplishes the same thing with looping. Looping, where a musician records a brief phrase and then plays it back while creating other layers of music above it, is commonly used in rock and jazz but is rarely found in classical music. Katz combines looping with his innovative strumming and pizzicato styles, many of them borrowed from guitar techniques. His compositions also incorporate African and Brazilian rhythms, and several other pieces on the program feature these influences and unusual techniques, independent of looping.