Born in 1963 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Gilson Schachnik started music instruction when he was eleven at The Yamaha Organ School. Later on he studied piano with Hilton "Gogo" Valente and Antonio Bezzan. His professional career began when he was 22 years old, playing at nightclubs in Sao Paulo. A few years later he was performing with BMG/Ariola artist Patricia Marx and touring throughout Brazil with Polygram recording artist Rosa Maria. During this same period Gilson composed jingles for BASF cassette tapes and Playboy magazine, among others. He composed music for the soundtrack of the children¹s television program Ratimbum, which aired on the State of Sao Paulo TV Network and was awarded Best TV show by the New York Film Festival.
In 1990, Gilson won a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated with a diploma in jazz composition. Since that time he has made the United States his home. Gilson has played or recorded with some of the most important names of the jazz and Brazilian music scenes, such as Claudio Roditti, Bill Pierce, Romero Lubambo, Yoron Israel, Jerry Bergonzi, Luciana Souza, Mick Goodrick, John Lockwood, Paulo Braga, Peri Ribeiro, Antonio Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, and Cafe. In addition, Gilson has studied with Danilo Perez, Charlie Banacos, and Bob Durso.
Gilson¹s debut CD, Raw [make this a hotlink to discography page], appeared in 1998, and received rave reviews. Bob Young, of the Boston Herald and Jazziz Magazine, wrote, "Gilson Schachnik creates the kind of all-encompassing jazz mix that fans of the music's new world order now demand: entertaining, uncliched and flavored with tastes from around the globe." Raw was nominated for the 1999 Boston Music Awards.
Gilson has worked as an accompanist for the Berklee vocal department, and currently is the accompanist for Wellesley College¹s jazz choir, Body and Soul
Gilson¹s next CD, yet to be released, features an all-star Latin Jazz ensemble: drummer Antonio Sanchez, saxophonist Miguel Zenon, bassist Fernando Huergo, guitarist Guilherme Monteiro, and percussionist Sula da Silva.