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Page 12 text:
Gunther Schuller PRESIDENT OF THE NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY Gunther Schuller, who was inaugurated as the New England Conservatory ' s ninth president on November 16 at Symphony Hall, was bom in New York City on November 22, 1925. His father was a violinist with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. At the age of twelve young Gunther Schuller began to participate actively in music, joining the St. Thomas Choir School as a boy soprano and also taking up the study of composition, flute, and later, French horn. He started composing at the age of fourteen when he wrote his First Symphony, and developed so rapidly in his study of the French horn that in 1942, at the age of sixteen, he accepted a professional position with the Ballet Theatre Orchestra. At 17, he became a solo French Horn with the Cin- cinnati Symphony and the following year performed his own Horn Concerto with the orchestra directed by Eugene Goosens. By the time he was 19 he accpeted a position in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His Symphony for Brass and Percussion, written in 1949, received its first public performance under the direc- tion of Leon Barzin and was later performed by the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos wh o also recorded this work for Columbia Records. In 1959, Mr. Schuller resigned his position as solo horn with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in order to devote more time to creative work. Gunther Schuller has received commissions from many of the major orchestras in this country: Gala Music, written for the 75th Anniversary of the Chicago Symphony; Sprectra, commissioned by Dimitri Mitropoulos for the New York Philharmonic; Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee, commissioned by a Ford Foundation grant for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He was commissioned to write a ballet for the New York City Ballet which was choreographed by Mr. George Balanchine. Major European orches- tras have also commissioned his works as was the case with his opera. The Visitation, commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera Company. This work was re- cently given its first American production by the San Francisco Opera Company. His String Quartet was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for the University of Illinois; Music for Brass Quintet by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation; Double Quintet for Woodwinds and Brass by the University of Southern California and he was recently commis- sioned to write a chamber music work by Carleton College on the occasion of its Centennial Celebration. His Sacred Cantata, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, was heard in Boston on Decem- ber 13 in a concert in Symphony Hall, performed by the New England Conservatory Chorus. Mr. Schuller is presently working on a commission from the Koussevitsky Foundation. His long association with John Lewis and the Modem Jazz Quartet has led him to compose many works for this group as well as for such musicians as Omette Coleman and the late Eric Dolphy. An absor- bing example of Mr. Schuller ' s compositions in the " third stream " idiom is his " Conversations " , performed by the Modem Jazz Quartet and the Beaux Arts String Quartet in an album on Atlantic Records entitled Third Stream Music. As a conductor, Mr. Schuller has made guest ap- pearances with the Boston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, Rochester, Wash- ington, and San Francisco orchestras. In Europe he has conducted the BBC Symphony, the Berlin Free Radio Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the French Radio (O.R.T.F.) as well as the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. A history making series of concerts entitled " Twentieth Century Innovations " , sponsored by the Carnegie Hall Corporation, were organized and con- ducted by Mr. Schuller in New York City in 1963, 1964 and 1065. Also in New York, over WBAI, Mr. Schuller broadcast a weekly program entitled " Con- temporary Music in Evolution " which presented an analysis of contemporary music from 1900 to the present. Subsequently this series was heard over stations of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. As a teacher, Gunther Schuller was acting head of the Composition Department of the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood from 1963 to 1965. In 1965, he was appointed Head of the Composition Department, succeeding Aaron Copland. He served on the faculty of Yale University as associate professor, a post he left to become President of the New England Conservatory. As a writer, Mr. Schuller has just finished a musico- analytical study of Jazz for Oxford University Press which also in 1962 published his book on Horn Technique. Mr. Schuller has been the recipient of such awards as a National Institute of Arts and Letters award in 1960, Brandeis Creative Arts Award in 1960 and a Guggenheim Fellowship for two successive years. In 1967 Mr. Schuller was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and is a member of the Music Panel of the National Endowments for the Arts. 8
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