Gun­ther Schuller, jazz mu­si­cian, dies aged 89

The China Post - - ARTS - BY CHARLES J. GANS

Gun­ther Schuller, a horn player, ed­u­ca­tor and Pulitzer Prizewin­ning com­poser who was the lead­ing pro­po­nent of the Third Stream move­ment fus­ing jazz and clas­si­cal mu­sic, died Sun­day at age 89.

His son, Ed Schuller, said his fa­ther died Sun­day morn­ing at a hos­pi­tal in Bos­ton. He said his fa­ther had sev­eral med­i­cal con­di­tions.

“He was a great mu­si­cian. I loved him and we will miss him,” Schuller, a bassist, said. “He had a great life, he lived his dream.”

As a com­poser, Schuller wrote more than 200 com­po­si­tions, in­clud­ing solo and or­ches­tral works, cham­ber mu­sic, opera and jazz. His or­ches­tral work, “Of Rem­i­nis­cences and Re­flec­tions,” ded­i­cated to his wife Mar­jorie Black, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Mu­sic.

As writer, Schuller au­thored both ed­u­ca­tional works and jazz his­to­ries, in­clud­ing “Early Jazz: Its Roots and Mu­si­cal De­vel­op­ment” (1968) and “The Swing Era: The De­vel­op­ment of Jazz, 1930-1945.” In 2011, he pub­lished the first vol­ume of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, “Gun­ther Schuller: A Life in Pur­suit of Mu­sic and Beauty.”

Schuller’s ma­jor or­ches­tral works i nclude “Sym­phony” (1965), “Seven Stud­ies of Paul Klee” (1959) and “An Arc Ascending” (1996). He com­posed two op­eras: “The Vis­i­ta­tion” (1966), based on a Franz Kafka story; and the chil­dren’s opera “The Fish­er­man and his Wife” with text by John Updike, de­rived from the Grimm fairy tale.

His noted Third Stream-style com­po­si­tions in­clude “Trans­for­ma­tion for Jazz Ensem­ble” (1957, “Con­certo for Jazz Quar­tet and Or­ches­tra (1959) and “Vari­ants on a Theme of Th­elo­nious Monk (1960).

In 2008, Schuller was named a Jazz Master by the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts, the na­tion’s high­est jazz honor. Ear­lier this year, the MacDow­ell Colony, a pres­ti­gious artists’ res­i­dence pro­gram, awarded him its life­time achieve­ment award “for set­ting an ex­am­ple of dis­cov­ery and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion” as a com­poser and teacher.

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