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Renowned Composer Gunther Schuller will be Guest Artist at SMU and UTA, Nov. 11-16

Schuller to conduct during joint Meadows Wind Ensemble and UT Arlington Wind Symphony public concerts and present master classes and public lecture

SMU’s Meadows Wind Ensemble and the UT Arlington Wind Symphony will host world-renowned composer, conductor and performer Gunther Schuller as a guest artist-in-residence November 11-16.

Schuller will be a guest conductor for two joint concerts by the Meadows Wind Ensemble and UTA Wind Symphony. The first will be held at SMU at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 in Caruth Auditorium, located in the Owen Arts Center at 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus in Dallas, 75205. The second will be at UTA at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 in Irons Recital Hall, 700 Greek Row Dr. in the Fine Arts Building, Arlington, 76019. The concerts will feature three compositions by Schuller: Symphony for Brass and Percussion, op. 16, which Schuller will conduct; On Winged Flight: Divertimento for Wind Band; and Blue Dawn into White Heat.

Tickets for the SMU concert are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for SMU students, faculty and staff and are available from the Meadows Ticket Office at 214.768.2787. Tickets for the UTA concert are $8 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the door.

“To say that Gunther Schuller is a legend in the field of 20th and 21st century music would be an understatement,” said Sam Holland, director of the Division of Music at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “We are delighted and privileged to welcome a titan of American music to the SMU campus, where he will work with students and faculty over a period of several days, culminating in a performance of the Meadows Wind Ensemble on Friday evening, November 15.” 

Schuller, who turns 88 on November 22, is recognized as a renaissance man of music. His career ranges from composing and conducting to extensive work as an educator, jazz historian, administrator, music publisher, record producer and author. He was principal French horn at the age of 17 with the Cincinnati Symphony, and rose to that position seven years later with the Metropolitan Opera. Schuller’s jazz career also began as a French horn player on Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool recording (1949-1950). He was actively involved in the New York bebop scene, performing and recording with such other jazz greats as Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis and Charles Mingus.

In 1959, he gave up performing to devote himself primarily to composition, and has since written more than 180 works in a wide range of styles. He has been rewarded with the Pulitzer Prize (1994), a MacArthur “genius” grant, two Guggenheim fellowships, the Darius Milhaud Award, the Rodgers & Hammerstein Award, the William Schuman Award from Columbia University and numerous lifetime achievement awards. He is an original member of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

As a conductor, Schuller travels throughout the world, leading major ensembles from New Zealand to Holland to St. Louis. He has written dozens of essays and four books, including renowned jazz history studies and a volume on the art of conducting, titled The Compleat Conductor. He also founded and led the New England Ragtime Ensemble and is largely responsible for the renaissance of Scott Joplin and other ragtime greats. As an educator, Schuller has served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Yale University; he was also, for many years, head of contemporary music activities (succeeding Aaron Copland) as well as a director of the Tanglewood Music Center, and served as president of the New England Conservatory of Music.

At SMU, Schuller will conduct open rehearsals with the Meadows Wind Ensemble on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and Thursday, Nov. 14 from 3:30 to 6:15 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, present a brass master class on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in room 1060 of the Owen Arts Center, and conduct an open forum with composing and conducting students on Friday, Nov. 15 from 1-2 p.m. in O’Donnell Recital Hall, Room 2130. At UTA, Schuller will give a public lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. in Irons Hall and conduct open rehearsals on Monday, Nov. 11 and Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 1-3 p.m. These events are free and open to the public.

The Meadows Wind Ensemble has performed throughout the United States and Europe, and has won the acclaim of leading composers for performances that are consistently thoughtful and dynamic, both in concert and on recording. Composed of the finest winds, brass and percussion from the Meadows School of the Arts, the Wind Ensemble performs a broad and diverse range of literature, and regularly augments its instrumentation to include strings in order to access the repertory of the modern chamber orchestra. The Meadows Wind Ensemble has recorded four compact discs on the Gasparo label, including Shadow Wood: Six Poems of Tennessee Williams, featuring the music of Warren Benson; The Drums of Summer: Live from Austria, which was awarded first prize at the Internationale Musiktag Vocklabruk in Austria; 3 Cents, featuring Kurt Weill’s Little Threepenny Music; and Snow Tracks, featuring the music of Samuel Adler and Stephen Jones. The group’s most recent recording, Magneticfireflies, featuring the music of Augusta Read Thomas, is available on Ms. Thomas’s personal label.

For more information, visit calendar.smu.edu or call the SMU Division of Music at 214-768-1951.

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