Real name: Gunther Alexander Schuller
Born: Nov 22, 1925 in Jackson Heights, NY
Styles: Third Stream, Modern Composition, Classical, Ragtime
Instruments: French Horn, Conductor, Composer, Arranger
Gunther Schuller is probably the greatest friend jazz has ever had from the classical world. A jazz devotee from the beginning, he has been the most outspoken advocate of a fusion between elements of European classical music and jazz, inventing the term "Third Stream" at a 1957 Brandeis University lecture to describe it. Although Third Stream music had been around in some form since the beginning of the century, it was Schuller who crystallized the idea, and thanks to alliances with such jazz figures as John Lewis, George Russell, Charles Mingus and Jimmy Giuffre, he actively encouraged new works in that form. Schuller's own compositions often include jazz elements, though usually far more abstractly integrated into his own twelve-tone music than the works of the jazz musicians he has encouraged. As a conductor, Schuller inadvertently helped touch off a popular ragtime fad in the 1970s with his spirited performances of Scott Joplin, and he has participated in some key jazz recordings as a French horn player. He has also been a tireless mover and shaker for jazz studies programs in universities, which have had a profound and controversial effect on the direction of the music in the last third of the 20th century.
Ironically, in view of his efforts to bring jazz into academia and the concert hall, Schuller is entirely self-taught as a composer. As befitting the son of a violinist with the New York Philharmonic, he did study theory, flute, and French horn privately, but his progress on the latter was so swift that he began playing professionally with the American Ballet Theatre in 1943, and held down first-desk positions with the Cincinnati Symphony (1943-45) and the Metropolitan Opera (1945-59). He first attracted notice on the jazz side of the fence by playing French horn on four tracks of Miles Davis' seminal Birth of the Cool sessions in 1950, also appearing in Gil Evans' orchestra on Miles' Porgy and Bess. As his enthusiasm for mergers of both of his worlds grew during the 1950s, Schuller founded the Jazz and Classical Music Society with John Lewis in 1955, which presented concerts of music written by both classical and jazz composers. One of the outcroppings from this society was a Columbia recording, Music for Brass, which contained various compositions by Schuller, Lewis, Giuffre and J.J. Johnson as performed by musicians from across the spectrum like Miles Davis, Schuller himself, and New York Philharmonic conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos.
In conjunction with his famous Brandeis lecture, Schuller started a jazz festival there in 1957, commissioning works from Russell, Mingus, and Giuffre. He continued to turn out Third Stream compositions like "Transformation" (1957), "Concertino for jazz quartet and orchestra" (1959), "Conversations for the double quartet of the Modern Jazz Quartet and Beaux Arts String Quartet" (heard on the MJQ's Third Stream album), and "Variants on a Theme of Thelonious Monk" (1960). He and Lewis founded the Lenox School of Jazz Summer School and presented the first jazz concert ever held at Lenox's hitherto solidly classical bastion, Tanglewood, in 1963.
Having given up the French horn in 1962, Schuller merely narrowed his multi-pronged activities down to conducting, composing, teaching and writing. 1967 found Schuller becoming the president of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he promptly established a jazz department that became the first to offer a four-year B.A. degree in jazz. Schuller also started the New England Conservatory Jazz Repertory Orchestra and Ragtime Ensemble, and he soon became immersed in transcribing the works of Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton and performing period arrangements of Scott Joplin rags. The latter activity resulted in The Red Back Book (Angel), which became a runaway hit album in 1973, reawakening interest in the rags of Joplin and touching off their use in the popular movie The Sting. Schuller's involvement in the ragtime revival reached its apogee in 1975, when he conducted the first (and thus far, only) recording of Joplin's opera Treemonisha (Deutsche Grammophon) with the Houston Grand Opera, and Schuller and the NEC Ragtime Ensemble would tour well into the next decade.
In recent years, Schuller reconstructed, edited and conducted the posthumous premiere of Mingus' Epitaph at Lincoln Center in 1989, while modestly not claiming to have said the last word on this huge, chaotic work. In the classical sphere, his symphonic piece Of Reminiscences and Reflections won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1994. He also found the time to write two massive, erudite tomes on jazz, Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development (1968) and The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz 1930-1945 (1989), which chronicle and analyze the music in unprecedentedly thorough detail. He then began work on Volume III, which will take readers from bebop to the present. In June 2001, Cambridge, MA institution the Longy School of Music awarded Gunther Schuller the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. Just weeks later a new work by Schuller was premiered at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.
- Richard S. Ginell (All Music Guide)
Шуллер Гюнтер (р. 22 ноября 1925, Нью-Йорк) - американский джазовый музыкант (валторнист), композитор. По происхождению немец.
Учился игре на флейте и валторне в Манхэттенской школе музыки, композицией занимался самостоятельно. С 1942 играл в Нью-йоркском филармоническом оркестре, в 1945-1959 - в оркестре Метрополитен-оперы и симфоническом оркестре Цинциннати, одновременно преподавал композицию в Манхэттенской школе музыки. С 1964 руководитель факультета композиции в Беркширском музыкальном центре (Тэнглвуд), в 1966-77 президент консерватории Новой Англии в Бостоне. В последнее время работает как свободный художник, является автором ряда музыковедческих работ. В историю джаза вошел как основоположник так называемого "третьего течения".