Campus & Community

Composer Gunther Schuller named ’07 Fromm Professor of Composition

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The Harvard University Department of Music has announced the appointment of Gunther Schuller as Fromm Visiting Professor of Composition. This is the second time Schuller has received this appointment.

Schuller has absorbed music of all types and styles from all over the world. Claimed to be the founding father of “third stream,” the intersection of jazz and classical music, Schuller reveals a protean range of styles in his music, assimilating and using whatever suits his purposes.

Schuller studied flute, horn, and theory, joining the Cincinnati Symphony as principal horn at 17 and the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera at 19. An active player in New York’s bebop scene, he performed and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and John Lewis. Schuller’s teaching positions have included professor of composition at the School of Music at Yale, president of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and artistic director of the Tanglewood Berkshire Music Center, and his current appointment at Harvard. Schuller has created more than 160 original compositions. His extensive writings, on a variety of subjects ranging from jazz to music performance, contemporary music, aesthetics, and education, have been issued in the collection “Musings: The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller.” His jazz history, “The Swing Era,” was published in 1989.

Among Schuller’s many awards are the Pulitzer Prize (1994); the Gold Medal for Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1997); the BMI Lifetime Achievement Award (1994); a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award (1991); the William Schuman Award (1988), given by Columbia University for “lifetime achievement in American music composition”; and 10 honorary degrees. His music is published by Associated Music Publishers.

The Fromm Visiting Professor of Composition was established by Paul Fromm in 1983 in order to appoint to the Harvard music department faculty a composer of international reputation for one semester. It has been held by Peter Maxwell Davies (1985), Milton Babbit (spring 1988), Gunther Schuller (fall 1991), Betsy Jolas (fall 1994), Andrew Imbrie (fall 1997), Judith Weir (2004), and Magnus Lindberg (2006).