Gunther Schuller: the autobiography

I just received Gunther Schuller's memoir A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty.

Gunther Schuller is an exceptional musician. I am not going to summarize his biography, since it already takes him more than 600 pages to tell the first 35 years in the book.
Here is a short video where he's talking about Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool recording:

I have been blessed to meet with Gunther and work for him during my time in Cambridge, MA. He has a great eye for score engraving. His experience as a performer, composer, and conductor taught him that the quality of music engraving has a direct influence on the use of rehearsal time. This is especially important when you are working with a full orchestra, of course. That's why he is almost picky with the placement of expression marks and other such details. When it comes to making parts layout very efficient for rehearsals, Gunther Schuller is very much like Karlheinz Stockhausen, whom I also worked for.

Here is an excerpt from the book, with three musical examples I set:

Table of contents

  • Introduction: The Musician as Mediator by Joan Shelley Rubin
  • Preface
  • 1. Childhood
  • 2. Boyhood
  • 3. Youth
  • Interlude
  • 4. Discovering Jazz
  • 5. First Years at the Metropolitan Opera
  • 6. Plumbing the Depths of New York's Cultural Scene
  • 7. Collecting Friends and Mentors
  • 8. Great Years at the Met
  • 9. The Third Stream
  • 10. Reencountering Europe
  • Postlude

Gunther Schuller is still passionate about music and beauty, let his example inspire many of us!


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