Gunther Schuller


Born: November 22, 1925; New York, NY [Jackson Heights]   Died: June 21, 2015; Boston, MA  
Gunther Schuller represented, for countless musicians, concertgoers, and record buyers around the world, American music making at its best, almost as much as Leonard Bernstein did a half century earlier. He was composer, conductor, horn player, jazz performer, writer, administrator, publisher, and teacher, all wrapped up into one tidy bundle of seemingly endless energy. Like American music itself, however, Schuller did not always steer clear of Read more controversy -- the very masses that admired him were sometimes baffled by his uncompromising attitudes and blunt statements.

His father played violin in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for many decades, and it was he who oversaw Schuller's early training. Schuller mastered the French horn with remarkable speed as a student at the Manhattan School of Music (1939-1941) -- in 1942, aged just 16, his horn playing was heard across the country in the American radio premiere of Shostakovich's then brand-new "Leningrad" Symphony. A series of high-profile orchestra jobs followed: first the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, then the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and then 14 seasons in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. During the 1950s Schuller became interested in jazz and made a name for himself as a performer in that field, playing with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz stars; in the years to come, Schuller combined jazz and traditional composition in new ways -- something that he called "third stream music." After the 1958-1959 season, Schuller gave up his career at the Met to build a new career as a composer.

Success in the sometimes persnickety world of American serious composition came to Schuller nearly as easily and quickly as success as a performer did, and by 1964 he was on the composition faculty of Yale University. He also taught and administered at the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Tanglewood.

In 1975 he founded his own record label and music publishing companies, GM Recordings and Margun Music (the names are drawn from the first names of Schuller and his wife Marjorie Black). He has also written several books, including the cherished manual Horn Playing (London and New York, 1962) and the landmark studies Early Jazz: Its Roots and Development (London and New York, 1968) and The Swing Era: the Development of Jazz 1930-45 (New York and Oxford, 1989). In 1997 he poured his many years' experience as a professional conductor into The Compleat Conductor.

As a composer, Schuller ranks among the most eclectic of his generation or any other. Schoenberg's techniques meet jazz meets Stravinskian rhythmicism meets Haydn in ways that one could never imagine without the score on the table. And his output was very large: 20-plus concertos for solo instrument(s) and orchestra, several dozen other orchestral items (including the 1965 Symphony and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning Of Reminiscences and Reflections), better than 70 miscellaneous chamber pieces for ensembles and combinations of all kinds, a pair of operas, and a library of arrangements of other composers' music. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 27 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Gerard Schwarz Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503294 Release Date: 10/13/2017   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Webern,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Thelma Handy,  Kenneth Munday,  David Shifrin,  Richard Todd  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Gunther Schuller,  Jason K. Fettig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony  ... 
    CD: $148.99
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  • 2.
    Piano Concertos of the 20s / Rische
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 16065 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Erwin Schulhoff,  Aaron Copland,  Arthur Honegger,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller,  Steven Sloane,  Israel Yinon,  Christoph Poppen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Joplin: Treemonisha / Schuller, Balthrop, Allen, Et Al Joplin: Treemonisha / Schuller, Balthrop, Allen
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186221 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Scott Joplin
    Performer:  Carmen Balthrop,  Curtis Rayam,  Ben Harney,  Betty Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Grand Opera Orchestra,  Houston Grand Opera Chorus
    CD: $35.49
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  • 4.
    To The Point  / Freeman, Orchestra 2001
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 745 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jennifer Higdon,  Andrew Rudin,  Gunther Schuller,  Romeo Cascarino  ... 
    Performer:  Diane Monroe,  Dorothy Freeman,  Maria Bachmann
    Conductor:  James Freeman,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra 2001
    CD: $14.99
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  • 5.
    Collage - Leonard Rosenman, John Heiss, Irwin Bazelon
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 486 Release Date: 05/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Rosenman,  John Heiss,  Irwin Bazelon
    Conductor:  Charles Fussell,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collage
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  • 6.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 507 Release Date: 05/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Thomas McKinley,  Ramon Zupko
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collage,  New World String Quartet
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  • 7.
    American Music For Percussion, Vol 1 / New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559683 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joan Tower,  Felicia Sandler,  Jennifer Higdon,  Robert Xavier Rodriguez  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Epstein,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble
    On sale! $12.99
    CD: $11.49
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  • 8.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 440 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Harbison,  David Stock
    Performer:  Robert Miller
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 320 Release Date: 11/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William O. Smith
    Performer:  William O. Smith,  Robert Suderburg
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra U.S.A.
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  • 10.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 290 Release Date: 10/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Berger,  Richard Donovan
    Performer:  Gilbert Kalish,  Paul Jacobs,  Adele Addison
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Galimir String Quartet
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  • 11.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 204 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mario Davidovsky,  Harvey Sollberger
    Performer:  Harvey Sollberger,  Sophie Sollberger,  Stanley Drucker,  Paul Zukofsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Efrain Guigui,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Group for Contemporary Music
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  • 12.
    The Presidents Own Marine Band: Live In Concert
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT70512 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Tristan Keuris,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller,  Frederick Fennell,  Timothy Foley,  James Sinclair
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  • 13.
    Horns! Music For Horn Ensemble / Horn Club Of Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63764 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Roger Johnson,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  William Kraft,  Gunther Schuller,  George Hyde,  David Raksin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Horn Club of Los Angeles
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  • 14.
    Wilder: Music For Winds And Brass / Schuller, Terkel, Et Al
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 763 Release Date: 05/31/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alec Wilder
    Performer:  John Harmon,  Studs Terkel,  David Taylor,  Robert Levy  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Levy,  Kevin Meidl,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lawrence University Wind Ensemble,  Appleton Boychoir,  Wilder Brass Quintet
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 15.
    Joplin: Rags & Ragtime / Rogers, Et Al
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000291602 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Scott Joplin
    Performer:  Morten Gunnar Larsen,  Samuel Sanders,  Heinrich Schiff,  Eric Rogers  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble,  Houston Grand Opera Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $9.95
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  • 16.
    Harbison: Early Works - Piano Concerto, Bermuda Triangle
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 875 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Harbison
    Performer:  Robert Miller,  Robert Levin,  Helen Harbison,  Albert Regni
    Conductor:  John Harbison,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cantata Ensemble,  Cantata Singers,  American Composers Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    American Masters - Bazelon: Woodwind Quintet, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 871 Release Date: 01/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irwin Bazelon
    Performer:  Wanda Maximilian,  Martha Babcock,  Christopher Oldfather,  Joel Smirnoff  ... 
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collage (Classical),  Boehm Woodwind Quintet,  American Brass Quintet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Schuller: Sextet, Fantasy-suite, Duologue / Finn, Et Al
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9093 Release Date: 10/26/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gunther Schuller
    Performer:  Gregory Fulkerson,  Charles Abramovic,  David Starobin,  Michael Finn
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Miró String Quartet
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 19.
    American Masters - Sollberger: Chamber Variations, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 743 Release Date: 03/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harvey Sollberger
    Performer:  Fred Sherry,  Harvey Sollberger,  Charles Wuorinen,  Allen Blustine  ... 
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller,  Harvey Sollberger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Group for Contemporary Music,  Da Capo Chamber Players
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    American Masters - Robert Helps: Symphony No 1, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 717 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Helps
    Performer:  Bethany Beardslee,  David Del Tredici,  William Masselos,  Robert Helps
    Conductor:  Zoltán Rozsnyai,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  American Composers Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Schuller: Of Reminiscences And Reflections
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80492 Release Date: 05/30/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gunther Schuller
    Performer:  James Diaz
    Conductor:  Mario Bernardi,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hannover
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 22.
    Marches - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66710 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  John Philip Sousa,  John Williams,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Edward Carroll,  Crispian Steele-Perkins
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp,  John Williams,  Gunther Schuller,  Stanley Black  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Virtuosi,  Boston Pops,  Incredible Columbia All-Star Band  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Trumpet - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66702 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Jean-Baptiste Arban,  Leroy Anderson,  Herbert L. Clarke  ... 
    Performer:  William Vacchiano,  André Previn,  Wynton Marsalis,  Mark Gould  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Donald Hunsberger,  Stanley Black,  Gunther Schuller  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Eastman Wind Ensemble,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 24.
    American Masters - Sessions: Violin Concerto;  Wolpe
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 676 Release Date: 11/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roger Sessions,  Stefan Wolpe
    Performer:  Paul Zukofsky
    Conductor:  Gunther Schuller,  Arthur Weisberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestra of the 20th Century
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    American Masters - The Music Of Arthur Berger
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 622 Release Date: 03/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Berger
    Performer:  Paul Jacobs,  Gilbert Kalish,  Robert Helps
    Conductor:  Izler Solomon,  Gunther Schuller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandeis Festival Orchestra,  Lenox String Quartet,  Columbia Chamber Ensemble
    CD: $17.99
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