Sunday, June 21, 2015

Gunther Schuller Dead At 89

Musician, composer and jazz historian, Gunther Schuller died this morning at 7:55, he was 89.

Schuller, who was a musician and composer was known for his many books he authored which included Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development, The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945, and The Compleat Conductor.

He was born in New York on November 22, 1925. His father played the violin for the New York Philharmonic. Schuller learned to play the flute and the French horn while growing up playing professional gigs while only fifteen. His studies included the St. Thomas Choir School and the Manhattan School of Music. From 1943 to 1945 he was a principal horn player with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Next he played for New York's Metropolitan Opera Orchestra staying there until 1959.

In 1949 and 1950 he recorded with Miles Davis. He founded the Modern Jazz Society with John Lewis in 1955 which would  later became known as the Jazz and Classical Music Society. He also invented the term "third stream" to describe the mixing of classical music and jazz. Schuller would use this technique in many of his own musical compositions including, Transformation (1957), Concertino and Abstraction both 1959, and Variants on a Theme of Thelonious Monk (1960).

In 2011 he published the first volume of his autobiography, A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty.

More recently, Schuller premiered a new arrangement of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha in 2012 which was performed at London's South Bank as part of "The Rest is Noise" season in 2013.

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