Schuller, Günther

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The son of German immigrants, Gunther Schuller was born in New York on November 22, 1925. His professional music career began as a horn player, performing with the American Ballet Theater, as principal horn in the Cincinnati Symphony (1943-1945) and with the Metropolitan Opera from 1945-1959. Schuller's jazz career also began as a French horn player on Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool recording (1949-1950). As an educator, Schuller first taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1950-1953. From 1964-1967 Schuller held the position of Professor of Composition at Yale University. At the request of Aaron Copland, Schuller began teaching at the Berkshire Music Center (at Tanglewood) in 1963 and subsequently served as its Artistic Director from 1969-1984. From 1967-1977, Schuller served as President of the New England Conservatory where he formalized NEC's commitment to jazz by establishing the first degree-granting jazz program at a major classical conservatory in 1969. Shortly thereafter, he instituted the Third Stream department (subsequently named the Contemporary Improvisation department) to explore the regions where the two musical "streams" of classical and jazz meet and mingle (Schuller had coined the term "Third Stream" during a lecture he gave at Brandeis University in 1957). He hired the iconic Ran Blake to be the department's chair. Early jazz hires included the legendary Jaki Byard and George Russell. Along the way, Schuller increased NEC's profile among the world's great music institutions in remarkable ways. He insisted from the earliest days of his tenure that contemporary music have equal billing next to the acknowledged classical masterpieces, and that students be equally adept at performing both. He bolstered and revitalized NEC's string, piano and composition faculties, hiring artists whose influence remains intact to this day, among them Louis Krasner, Laurence Lesser, Russell Sherman, and Donald Martino. In one of Boston's most notorious periods of racial disharmony, he created community outreach programs that sent young, eager musicians to bring the gift of music into some of the city's most marginalized neighborhoods. And, championing the forgotten music of a neglected American composer, he founded the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble and recorded Scott Joplin: The Red Back Book, which won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance, ignited a latter-day ragtime revival, and spurred tours across America, Russia, and to the White House. Schuller has composed over 180 works, spanning all musical genres including solo works, orchestral works, chamber music, opera, and jazz. Among Schuller's orchestral works are Symphony (1965), Seven Studies of Paul Klee (1959), An Arc Ascending (1996), Four Soundscapes, and Shapes and Designs. Schuller's large scale work Of Reminiscences and Reflections was composed as a tribute to his wife of forty-nine years, Marjorie Black. In addition to composing for the standard concerto instruments- piano, violin, horn etc., Schuller also wrote concertos for instruments which had been previously neglected in the concerto repertoire such as the alto saxophone, bassoon, contrabassoon, organ, and double bass. Schuller also composed a number of works for solo ensemble with orchestra (or in some cases, band). Examples include Contrasts for Wind Quintet and Orchestra (1967), Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, Diptych for Brass Quintet and Concert Band (1967), and Eine kleine Posaunemusik for trombone and band (1980). Schuller has composed two operas: The Visitation (1966), based on a Kafka story; and the children's opera The Fisherman and his Wife with text by John Updike, derived from the Grimm fairy tale. Notable among Schuller's works in the chamber music genre are the String Quartet No. 3 (1986), String Quartet No. 4 (2002) and Symbiosis (1957), a piece for violin, piano, and percussion performed in conjunction with a dancer. Schuller's original jazz compositions occupy an important place in his overall oeuvre. Many of these works epitomize the Third Stream style. These include Transformation for jazz ensemble (1957), Concertino for jazz quartet and orchestra (1959), Variants on a Theme of Thelonious Monk (1960), Teardrop, and Jumpin' in the Future. In addition to his musical compositions, Schuller has written several books of note. These include Horn Technique (1962), Early Jazz: its Roots and Musical Development(1968) and its sequel the Swing Era: the Development of Jazz, 1930-1945, as well as The Compleat Conductor (1997). Gunther Schuller has also made his mark on the music publishing industry, founding Margun Music (1975) and GunMar Music (1979). Through these firms, Schuller published his own editions of ragtime music by Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb and Eubie Blake, as well as jazz and third stream music by such artists as Charles Mingus, George Russell, Johnny Carisi, Ran Blake, and Jimmy Giuffre. (The GunMar/Margun catalogs are now part of G.Schirmer/Music Sales/AMP). A short time later, in 1980, Schuller founded the record company and label, GM. Schuller has also been the recipient of several prestigious awards. These include the William Shuman Award (1988) given by Columbia University, the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award (1991), a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his piece Of Reflections and Reminisciences, the Gold Medal for Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1997), the Downbeat Lifetime Achievement Award, and an inaugural membership in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.The accomplishments of Gunther Schuller continue to accumulate today. Most recently, Schuller was named the 2007 Fromm Visiting Professor in Music Composition at Harvard University. Schuller previously held the position of Artist in Residence for 2005 at the University of Wisconsin. In addition, Schuller's longtime involvement with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston continues. This ensemble named him Conductor Laureate in 1990, and he has served as their Principal Guest Conductor since 1998.

From the description of Gunther Schuller collection, 1967-1977. (New England Conservatory of Music). WorldCat record id: 635480024

Composed for larger orchestra, November 1947-October 1948. First performance Cincinnati, 1948, College of Music Orchestra, Roland Johnson conductor. This version revised March, 1964. Dedicated to Roland Johnson.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Symphonic study : version for reduced orchestration / Gunther Schuller. 1964. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54113951

American composer, conductor, and teacher.

From the description of "Night Music Gunther Schuller." : autograph manuscript. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270569386

Composer, conductor, and teacher; horn player.

From the description of Interview conducted by Oliver Daniel, Apr. 6, 1976 [sound recording]. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155861041

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Kirkpatrick, John, 1905-1991. The John Kirkpatrick papers, 1836-1993 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Woodwind quintet / G. Schuller. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
referencedIn Donovan, Richard, 1891-1970. The Richard Donovan papers, 1913-1971 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Luening, Otto, 1900-1996. Variations! : Interview Gunther Schuller : Channel 13 / [Otto Luening]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Haverlin, Carl, 1899-1985. [American composers collection]. Northwestern University
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Duologue : four characteristic pieces. Library of Congress
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. [Traitor] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Petite suite / Gunther Schuller. The Juilliard School, Lila Acheson Wallace Library
creatorOf Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953. Love for three oranges / by S. Prokofiev ; arranged for woodwind quintet by Gunther Schuller. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Fantasy for solo harp (1959) / Gunther Schuller. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Burkat, Leonard, 1919-. The Leonard Burkat papers, 1943-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn International Society for Contemporary Music. League of Composers/ISCM records, 1906-2009 (bulk 1923-2009). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Vertige d'Eros : suggested by a painting by Matta Echaurren / Gunther Schuller. Library of Congress
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Concerto no. 2 : for violin and orchestra (1991) / Gunther Schuller. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Octet / Gunther Schuller. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Rothschild, Randolph S., 1909-2003. Randolph S. Rothschild collection, 1942-1992 (bulk 1973-1985). Library of Congress
referencedIn Conductors Guild records, 1975-1997 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Donovan, Richard, 1891-1970. The Richard Donovan papers, 1913-1971 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Symphonic study : version for reduced orchestration / Gunther Schuller. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Schreie der Raben : for soprano and piano (1946) / Gunther Schuller. Bowling Green State University, BGSU Libraries
creatorOf Pre-Philharmonic Lecture Society, Inc. [New York Philharmonic pre-concert lecture series] [sound recordings] xxxx-xxxx Pre-Philharmonic Lecture Society, Inc. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League). Conductors Guild Records 1975-1997 New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Perlis, Vivian. Video collection : [oral history], 1955-1991 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Junior League of Boston. Records, 1897-1994 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Joplin, Scott, 1868-1917. Opera ballet. Treemonisha. [Programs] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn Burkat, Leonard, 1919-1992. The Leonard Burkat papers, 1943-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Sawyer, Wilson. Alaskan Symphony collection, 1945-1976. Alaska State Library
creatorOf Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Continuing Education Dept. Lectures : video and sound recordings collection, 1987-[ongoing]. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rosenthal Archives
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. Gunther Schuller collection, 1967-1977. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
referencedIn Powell, Peggy LaViollette. Peggy LaViolette Powell papers on the Eyes West conference : Monterey, California, 1961 Sept. 15-17. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Newton Free Library. [Gunther Schuller]. Minuteman Library Network
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. [Concerto for cello and orchestra, 1945 : piano reduction] / Gunther Schuller. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther,. Interview conducted by Oliver Daniel, Apr. 6, 1976 [sound recording]. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Rodzinski, Artur, 1892-1958. Artur Rodzinski collection, 1868-1989 (bulk 1932-1957). Library of Congress
referencedIn Atkins, Irene Kahn, 1922-. Major figures in American music [S-Z] : [oral history]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Altman, Leonard, 1920-1996. Leonard Altman papers, 1930-1995. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1964 November 27. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995. Max Rudolf papers, 1922-1993 (bulk 1945-1992). Library of Congress
referencedIn Ruggles, Carl, 1876-1971. Carl Ruggles Papers, 1894-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf NCSA Orchestra. NCSA Orchestra [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther, 1925-. "Night Music Gunther Schuller." : autograph manuscript. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Ruggles, Carl, 1876-1971. Carl Ruggles Papers, 1894-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Pattison, Lee. Lee Pattison/Carl Baermann collection, 1909-1968; 1909-1913. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
referencedIn Badger, Sherwin. Sherwin Badger collection, 1961-1972. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
creatorOf Schuller, Gunther. For cello alone (1951) (manuscript). National Library of Israel, Jewish National Library
creatorOf Goll, Yvan, 1891-1950. Music sources for Kurt Weill's Royal palace in the collection of the Weill-Lenya Research Center, 1925-[ongoing]. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Altman, Leonard, 1920-1996. person
associatedWith Badger, Sherwin. person
associatedWith Ben-Haim, Paul, 1897-1984. person
associatedWith Burkat, Leonard, 1919-1992. person
associatedWith Busch, Adolf, 1891-1952. person
associatedWith Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Continuing Education Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League) corporateBody
associatedWith Daniel, Oliver, person
associatedWith Donovan, Richard, 1891-1970. person
associatedWith Faberman, Harold, 1929- person
associatedWith Haverlin, Carl, 1899-1985. person
associatedWith Hovhaness, Alan, 1911-2000. person
associatedWith International Society for Contemporary Music. corporateBody
associatedWith Junior League of Boston. corporateBody
associatedWith Kirkpatrick, John, 1905-1991. person
associatedWith Klabund, 1890-1928 person
associatedWith Knussen, Oliver. person
associatedWith Kohlberg, Hugo. person
associatedWith Library of Congress. McKim Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Limón, José, 1908-1972. person
associatedWith Luening, Otto, 1900-1996. person
associatedWith Matta Echaurren, Roberto Sebastián, 1912-2002. person
associatedWith NCSA Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Neikrug, George. person
associatedWith New England Conservatory of Music. corporateBody
associatedWith Ott, Donald J., person
associatedWith Pattison, Lee. person
associatedWith Philadelphia Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Powell, Peggy LaViollette. person
associatedWith Pre-Philharmonic Lecture Society, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953. person
associatedWith Rodzinski, Artur, 1892-1958. person
associatedWith Rothschild, Randolph S., 1909-2003. person
correspondedWith Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995. person
associatedWith Ruggles, Carl, 1876-1971. person
associatedWith Sawyer, Wilson. person
associatedWith Symphony of the Air. corporateBody
associatedWith Toobin, Jerome, 1922- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Orchestral music--Scores and parts
Clarinet and orchestra music
Wind quintets (Bassoon, clarinet, flute, horn, oboe)--Parts
Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
Concertos (Violin), Arranged--Scores
Octets (Bassoon, clarinet, horn, violins (2), viola, violoncello, double bass)--Scores
Violin and piano music--Scores
Concertos (Violoncello and piano), Arranged--Scores and parts
Suites (Chamber orchestra)--Scores
Songs (High voice) with piano
Orchestral music--Scores
Harp music
Occupation
Composers
Function

Person

Birth 1925-11-22

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 12612489