Gunther Schuller, 1925-2015


Composer, educator, classical / jazz crossover artist and promoter, French horn virtuoso, conductor, writer and historian, indeed musical giant of the widest-ranging sort, Gunther Schuller died last Sunday in Boston, age 89.    [continued]


Gunther Schuller: 19 Commissions and Still Counting


Gunther Schuller at 88 is in the midst of an unprecedented confluence of commissions and creativity. He is still working and in high demand—busy with an unusually high number of commissions, premieres, and conducting and speaking engagements. Last Thursday, for example, NEC premiered his “From Here to There,” and on Sunday February 9th, the Boston    [continued]

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Upcoming Gunther Schuller Tribute


Not only is there to be a concert of poems set to music in honor of the eighty-fifth birthday of Gunther Schuller this coming Tuesday, but also the octogenarian composer, a Boston institution, is to be one of the panelists on a pre-concert discussion moderated by Phoenix classical music critic, Lloyd Schwartz. He will keep    [continued]

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Jazz Propelled into Mainstream Conservatory Education: Gunther Schuller at The Helm of NEC


The BMInt staff’s interview on November 22 with Gunther Schuller lasted two hours. Part 1 was a cut-and-paste of discussions related to two then-upcoming performances of his music. This excerpt deals with Mr. Schuller’s role as president of New England Conservatory (from 1967 until 1977) and his founding of the jazz curriculum. BMInt: Larry Phillips    [continued]


Merging Schuller’s Threads


Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee teamed up last week for “Schuller: A Musical Celebration,” a celebration of Gunther Schuller’s jazz arrangements, classical chamber compositions, and a third-stream work.        [continued]

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Heply Digging Schuller


MIT’s Killian Hall became a jazz club last Tuesday evening as Joe Lovano and kindred souls called forth the great spirit of Gunther Schuller.     [continued]

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BMOP Celebrates Gunther


The Boston Modern Orchestra Project under the direction of Gil Rose celebrated the life and music of Gunther Schuller in a fitting tribute, especially as the concert took place in Jordan Hall, in the heart of the New England Conservatory, where Gunther as President led the school for 10 of its most adventurous and abundantly creative years.     [continued]

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Laudamus Gunther


Though an amazing 50 other concerts seem to be happening between Monday and Sunday, six celebrations planned in celebration of Gunther Schuller’s 90th birthday may constitute the major events for many of us. Schuller’s death five months ago inspired extended looks at his considerable legacy. Gunther’s weekend starts a day early, on Thursday. At NEC,    [continued]

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Yet Another Schuller Facet


History will rightly remember Gunther Schuller as an important composer, conductor, author and teacher. But many organizations he so generously helped will remember him as a wonderful mentor and friend. Pro Musicis is one of these organizations. In 1965 Father Eugène Merlet, a French Capuchin-Franciscan priest and musician (organ and piano), founded Pro Musicis, pioneering    [continued]

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Schuller’s Charming Dreamscape at Tanglewood


Last Sunday evening at Tanglewood, the TMC Orchestra performed Dvořák, Respighi, Schuller, and Prokofiev. After intermission came the premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Dreamscape, a TMC commission conducted by the composer himself, a work of unusual complexity and charm, with a range of mood far wider than most. The great disappointment of the evening was the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet suite.     [continued]

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Schuller with Verve from BoCo Winds


Celebrating Gunther Schuller at 86 was the worthy and ambitious task of Eric Hewitt, saxophonist and conductor of the Boston Conservatory’s Wind Ensemble. Hewitt, Schuller’s former student at New England Conservatory and later his protégé and apprentice, brought the requisite verve, keen ear, and attention to detail to do justice to the esteemed composer’s varied and thought-provoking works for band.      [continued]

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Schuller Thrills with Ives Concert


There aren’t many octogenarians on this planet who have the energy and chutzpah to program and conduct a concert of eighteen challenging Charles Ives compositions a week before turning 86.  Gunther Schuller, however, has made a seventy-year career of initiating and accomplishing the extraordinary, and on Wednesday November 16 at Tsai Performance Center, leading B.U.’s resident contemporary music ensemble, Alea III, accomplishing the extraordinary is just what the iconic American conductor and composer did.       [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Fortunato’s Well Done Tribute to Schuller


Mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato’s recital, her tribute to Gunther Schuller on April 5 in Jordan Hall, was beautifully planned, well executed, and much appreciated. She sang Schuller’s Six Early Songs and songs by John Harbison, John Greer, Andrew List, and Mohammed Fairouz — all present. Fortunato sustained all the demands of traditional folksong melody to more challenging songs in vocal range, harmonic complexity, and rhythmic difficulty, accompanied by different combinations of flute (Renée Krimsier), cello (Rhonda Rider), and piano (John Greer). Seven other instrumentalists joined the final set. Poet and critic Lloyd Schwartz led a pre-concert discussion with the composers plus one more, John Heiss, on questions about choices of poetry for song, to what extent the metrical nature of text might affect musical setting.       [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Brilliant Resurrection of Schuller Piece


On March 26, the Concord Orchestra under Richard Pittman offered a real treat – a magnificent cello concerto by Gunther Schuller, composed in 1945 at age nineteen for close friend Walter Hermann; but he retired before the piece was performed, and it was forgotten. The two performances in Concord with cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws were the third and fourth times the piece was played. Haydn’s Symphony No. 101, “Clock,” was a bit ragged, but Strauss’ Don Juan was more than respectable. But the orchestra rose to the occasion with Schuller’s concerto, and according to him gave it its best performance to date. It brought out the best of the orchestra: first violins together, wind players consistently excellent, and brass exciting. Müller-Szeraws played with precision and passion.         [Click title for full review.]    [continued]


Schuller Shapes Music with BU Orchestra


Gunther Schuller, began his brief residency with the BU Symphony Orchestra on February 2, with a performance in the Tsai Performance Center on February 15, featuring works by Haydn, Schuller, and Brahms. The orchestra was far too heavy for the Prelude to Haydn’s The Creation. Yet Schuller, leading gently with a flick of his expressive fingers, was able to achieve some of the most beautiful pianissimo sounds of the concert. The soloist for Schuller’s Concerto No. 2 for Tuba and Orchestra was Mike W. Roylance, principal tuba for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who performed his difficult virtuosic role with aplomb; but the Concerto was not as lyrical as I expected. Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 opened with some out-of-tune brasses, but the orchestra soon recovered.      [Click title for full review.]    [continued]


Happy Birthday, Gunther


The celebrations for the indispensable Gunther Schuller’s birthdays continue apace. On the occasion of his 85th, readers might enjoy two interviews we did with him on his 84th, when this photo was taken. The first interview deals with Gunther’s harmonic language and his relationship to the Borromeo String Quartet while the second interview discusses Gunther’s    [continued]

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Richard Stoltzman and Borromeo String Quartet Premiere Imbrie, Honor Schuller


The Borromeo Quartet collaborated with famed clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in an exceptional concert on December 11 at Harvard Musical Association. Gunther Schuller, in his String Quartet #4, a piece of elegiac lyricism, carries a single held note past the end of a phrase, particularly in the finale; one could regard this gesture as a synecdoche for the operative structure of the whole piece. The remarkable sostenuto in the cello part was beautifully conveyed by Yeesun Kim. Andrew Imbrie, in his final illness during composition of the Clarinet Quintet on a commission from the HMA, finished writing all the notes but not elements like dynamics, articulation and phrasing. Hi Kyung Kim and her clarinetist husband John Sackett worked with Stoltzman and the Borromeo to put the work in final shape. Although valedictory in the literal sense, this work sounds anything but the work of a dying man: it is light, lively, engaging, and snappy. Even on “off” occasions, the performers can, and did, deliver a solid reading of Mozart’s beloved Clarinet Quintet K.581. [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Is Maelzel the Boss?


Taking on Gunther Schuller’s Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee for something like the 35th time and bringing us a beloved symphony of Beethoven and concerto of Mozart, the BSO under Nelsons with pianist Emanuel Ax played brilliantly last night.    [continued]


Hewitt and BoCo Winds Show High Panache


Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble under Eric Hewitt presented a fully satisfying program of mostly unorthodox works (one a premiere) on September 18th at the BoCo Theater. The concert was also a tribute to the late Gunther Schuller, with whom Hewitt had studied, as did composer Thomas Oboe Lee, whose Octet received its premiere.     [continued]

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Four Commissions, Three Works by Women


The February 9th Jordan Hall performance by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players included four world premieres, sandwiching commissions for BSCP’s 50th anniversary—by Kati Agócs, Hannah Lash, Gunther Schuller and Yehudi Wyner—between works by two notables from the Second New England School, Charles Loeffler and Amy Beach.     [continued]

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