|Born||November 22, 1925|
|Died||June 21, 2015 89)(aged|
|Occupation(s)||president of New England Conservatory|
|Instruments||French horn, flute|
|Associated acts||Modern Jazz Society, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra|
Gunther Alexander Schuller (November 22, 1925 –June 21, 2015) was an American composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian and jazz musician.
The French horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B♭ is the horn most often used by players in professional orchestras and bands. A musician who plays a French horn is known as a horn player or hornist.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Schuller was born in Queens, New York City,the son of German parents Elsie (Bernartz) and Arthur E. Schuller, a violinist with the New York Philharmonic. He studied at the Saint Thomas Choir School and became an accomplished French horn player and flute player. At age 15, he was already playing horn professionally with the American Ballet Theatre (1943) followed by an appointment as principal hornist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1943–45), and then the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, where he stayed until 1959. During his youth, he attended the Precollege Division at the Manhattan School of Music, later going on to teach at the school. But, already a high school dropout because he wanted to play professionally, Schuller never obtained a degree from any institution. He began his career in jazz by recording as a horn player with Miles Davis (1949–50).
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens also shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Coterminous with Queens County since 1899, the borough of Queens is the second largest in population, with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017, approximately 48% of them foreign-born. Queens County also is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, which is coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City's boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City's boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation's fourth most populous, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Saint Thomas Choir School is a church-affiliated boarding choir school in Manhattan, New York, founded in 1919. The school is supported by the nearby Saint Thomas Church, an Episcopal church, continuing the Anglican tradition of all-male choral ensembles. Saint Thomas is one of three choir schools that exclusively educate boy trebles of the choir, and where all boys are required to board at the school.
In 1955, Schuller and jazz pianist John Lewis founded the Modern Jazz Society,which gave its first concert at Town Hall, New York, the same year and later became known as the Jazz and Classical Music Society. While lecturing at Brandeis University in 1957, he coined the term "Third Stream" to describe music that combines classical and jazz techniques. He became an enthusiastic advocate of this style and wrote many works according to its principles, among them Transformation (1957, for jazz ensemble), Concertino (1959, for jazz quartet and orchestra), Abstraction (1959, for nine instruments), and Variants on a Theme of Thelonious Monk (1960, for 13 instruments) utilizing Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman. In 1966, he composed the opera The Visitation. He also orchestrated Scott Joplin's only known surviving opera Treemonisha for the Houston Grand Opera's premiere production of this work in 1975.
John Aaron Lewis was an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger, best known as the founder and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Brandeis University is an American private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston. Founded in 1948 as a non-sectarian, coeducational institution sponsored by the Jewish community, Brandeis was established on the site of the former Middlesex University. The university is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the U.S Supreme Court.
Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr. was an American jazz alto saxophonist, bass clarinetist and flautist. On a few occasions, he also played the clarinet and piccolo. Dolphy was one of several multi-instrumentalists to gain prominence around the time that he was active. His use of the bass clarinet helped to establish the instrument within jazz. Dolphy extended the vocabulary and boundaries of the alto saxophone, and was among the earliest significant jazz flute soloists.
In 1959, Schuller gave up performance to devote himself to composition, teaching and writing. He conducted internationally and studied and recorded jazz with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie and John Lewis among many others.Schuller wrote over 190 original compositions in many musical genres.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Schuller was president of New England Conservatory, where he founded The New England Ragtime Ensemble. During this period, he also held a variety of positions at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home in Tanglewood, serving as director of new music activities from 1965 to 1969 and as artistic director of the Tanglewood Music Center from 1970 to 1984 and creating the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five major American symphony orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at Tanglewood.
Tanglewood is a music venue in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. It has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937. Tanglewood is also home to three music schools: the Tanglewood Music Center, Days in the Arts and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Besides classical music, Tanglewood hosts the Festival of Contemporary Music, jazz and popular artists, concerts, and frequent appearances by James Taylor, John Williams, and the Boston Pops.
The Tanglewood Music Center is an annual summer music academy in Lenox, Massachusetts, United States, in which emerging professional musicians participate in performances, master classes and workshops. The Center operates as a part of the Tanglewood Music Festival, an outdoor concert series and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO).
Schuller recorded the LP Country Fiddle Band with the Conservatory's country fiddle band, released by Columbia Records in 1976. Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "Why do I love this semiclassicized perversion when country fiddle and bluegrass music that strives for authenticity leaves me cold? It's all in the candor of the striving; as usual, I'm put off by the way so-called folk groups formalize a tradition that had spontaneity and unselfconsciousness at the root of its attraction. This silly symphony is something else. The melodies are fetchingly tried-and-true, the (unintentional?) stateliness of the rhythms appropriately nineteenth-century, and the instrumental overkill (twenty-four instruments massed on 'Flop-Eared Mule') both gorgeous and hilarious. A grand novelty."
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was first published in October 1981 by Ticknor & Fields.
Robert Thomas Christgau is an American essayist and music journalist. One of the earliest professional rock critics, he spent 37 years as the chief music critic and senior editor for The Village Voice, during which time he created and oversaw the annual Pazz & Jop poll. He has also covered popular music for Esquire, Creem, Newsday, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, Blender, and MSN Music, and was a visiting arts teacher at New York University.
Schuller was editor-in-chief of Jazz Masterworks Editions, and co-director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestrain Washington, D.C. Another effort of preservation was his editing and posthumous premiering at Lincoln Center in 1989 of Charles Mingus's immense final work, Epitaph , subsequently released on Columbia/Sony Records. He was the author of two major books on the history of jazz, Early Jazz (1968) and The Swing Era (1991).
His students included Irwin Swack, See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#Gunther Schuller .Ralph Patt, John Ferritto, Eric Alexander Hewitt, Mohammed Fairouz, Oliver Knussen, Nancy Zeltzman, Riccardo Dalli Cardillo and hundreds of others.
From 1993 until his death, Schuller served as Artistic Director for the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane, Washington state. Each year the festival showcased works by J.S. Bach and other composers in venues around Spokane. At the 2010 festival, Schuller conducted the Mass in B minor at St. John's Cathedral, sung by the chamber choir from Eastern Washington University, accompanied by the Spokane Symphony.Other notable performances conducted at the festival include the St Matthew Passion in 2008 and Handel's Messiah in 2005.
Schuller's association with Spokane began with guest conducting the Spokane Symphony for one week in 1982.He then served as Music Director from 1984–1985 and later regularly appeared as a guest conductor. Schuller also served as Artistic Director to the nearby Festival at Sandpoint.
His modernist orchestral work Where the Word Ends, organized in four movements corresponding to those of a symphony, premiered at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
In 2011 Schuller published the first volume of a two-volume autobiography, Gunther Schuller: A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty.
In 2012, Schuller premiered a new arrangement, the Treemonisha suite from Joplin's opera. It was performed as part of The Rest is Noise season at London's South Bank in 2013.
Schuller died on June 21, 2015 in Boston, from complications from leukemia. He married Marjorie Black, a singer and pianist, in 1948. Their marriage produced two sons, George and Edwin, and lasted until her death in 1992.His sons survive him, as does his brother Edgar.
Schuller was the recipient of many awards, including the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for his composition written for the Louisville Orchestra, Of Reminiscences and Reflections , the MacArthur Foundation "genius" award (1991),1st place in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards (1987), the William Schuman Award (1988), given by Columbia University for "lifetime achievement in American music composition", and ten honorary degrees. He received the Ditson Conductor's Award in 1970. In 1993, Down Beat magazine honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to jazz; the BMI Foundation bestowed another Lifetime Achievement Award on him the following year. In 2005, a festival of Schuller's music directed by Bruce Brubaker involved the Boston Symphony, Harvard University, and New England Conservatory. Mr. Schuller was awarded The Edward MacDowell Medal in the Arts from the MacDowell Colony in 2015. "As a composer and teacher," the composer Augusta Read Thomas, the chairwoman of the selection committee for the MacDowell award, said at the time, "he has inspired generations of students, setting an example of discovery and experimentation."
Grammy Award for Best Album Notes :
Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance :
With John Lewis
With Joe Lovano
With The New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble
On Birth of the Third Stream
With The Modern Jazz Quartet
With Gerard Schwarz (cornet) and the Columbia Chamber Ensemble
With Dizzy Gillespie
With Charles Mingus
With Frank Sinatra
With Mitch Miller
With Gigi Gryce
With Johnny Mathis
With Miles Davis
With Dizzy Gillespie
With John Lewis
With Gerry Mulligan
With Julius Watkins
Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock.
Epitaph is a composition by jazz musician Charles Mingus. It is 4,235 measures long, takes more than two hours to perform, and was only completely discovered during the cataloguing process after his death. With the help of a grant from the Ford Foundation, the score and instrumental parts were copied, and the work itself was premiered by a 30-piece orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller and produced by Mingus's widow, Sue, at Alice Tully Hall on June 3, 1989, 10 years after his death, and issued as a live album. It was performed again at several concerts in 2007.
Attilio Joseph "Teo" Macero was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and record producer. He was a producer at Columbia Records for twenty years. Macero produced Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, and Dave Brubeck's Time Out, which are two of the best-selling and most influential jazz albums of all time. Although the extent of his role has been disputed, he also has been associated with the production of Davis' 1959 album Kind of Blue, jazz's best-selling record.
Ran Blake is an American pianist, composer, and educator. He is known for his unique style that combines blues, gospel, classical, and film noir influences into an innovative and dark jazz sound. His career spans over 40 recording credits on jazz albums along with more than 40 years of teaching jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he started the Department of Third Stream with Gunther Schuller.
Andrew Welsh Imbrie was an American contemporary classical music composer and pianist.
Treemonisha (1911) is an opera by African-American composer Scott Joplin, who is most noted for his ragtime piano works. Though it encompasses a wide range of musical styles other than ragtime, and Joplin did not refer to it as such, it is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "ragtime opera". The music of Treemonisha includes an overture and prelude, along with various recitatives, choruses, small ensemble pieces, a ballet, and a few arias.
Edwin Barker is an American double bass player who graduated from the New England Conservatory. He is Principal Double Bass with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Associate Professor of Music at Boston University College of Fine Arts.
Paul Seiko Chihara is an American composer.
Kenneth A. Radnofsky is an American classical saxophonist. He specializes in the alto saxophone, but plays the soprano and other sizes as well. He currently teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music, the Longy School of Music, and Boston University.
"Prelude to a Kiss" is a 1938 ballad composed by Duke Ellington, with lyrics by Irving Gordon and Irving Mills.
Edwin Gunther Schuller is an American jazz bassist and composer. His father is Gunther Schuller, a composer, horn player, and music professor, and his younger brother is drummer George Schuller.
Irwin Swack was an American composer of contemporary classical music.
Third Stream is a synthesis of jazz and classical music. The term was coined in 1957 by composer Gunther Schuller in a lecture at Brandeis University. Improvisation is generally seen as a vital component of third stream.
The New England Ragtime Ensemble was a Boston chamber orchestra dedicated to the music of Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers.
While the horn is primarily used in classical music pieces, in the mid-20th century the French horn broke into the jazz world. While the instrument remains relatively rare, the role of the horn in jazz has developed from its beginnings in the 1940s through to the 2010s. Note that the expression "horns" in jazz is often used colloquially to refer to all brass instruments used in jazz. This article focuses on the use of the French horn.
Of Reminiscences and Reflections is an orchestral composition by the American composer Gunther Schuller. It was composed on a commission from the Louisville Orchestra as an elegy to Schuller's wife Marjorie, who died in November 1992. The composition was written over a 17-day period in September 1993 and has a duration of roughly 20 minutes. The piece was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Tibor Józef Pusztai was a Hungarian violinist, composer, conductor, and teacher. He directed and performed with various orchestras around the world, winning multiple awards thanks to his performances and compositions. Tibor Pusztai died on January 10th, 2016.
Michael Brockman (DMA), is an American saxophonist and educator at the University of Washington School of Music.
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