Oral History Project
A documentary project featuring in-depth interviews with Gunther Schuller's colleagues, friends and relatives about his multi-faceted career.
David Amram is a composer and multi-instrumentalist. He first met Gunther Schuller in 1954 in Frankfurt, Germany and remained close friends for the next several decades. Amram was interviewed in his home in Beacon, NY in 2017 by Susan Calkins and George Schuller.
In a career that spans more than 50 years, Professor Carl Atkins has been a woodwind specialist, conductor, composer, ethnomusicologist, administrator, consultant, and teacher, in both “Jazz” and Western European music. As founding director of the Jazz and Afro-American Music Department at New England Conservatory in 1970, Atkins has since served as Executive Director of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance (Rochester, NY), President of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Co-Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at NEC as well as Associate Dean for Advanced Studies at NEC. Atkins was interviewed at his home in Rochester, NY by George Schuller in 2019.
In 1966, David W. Scudder brought his talents in financial management and fundraising to the board of New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA), on which he served continuously until 2002, when he became a Life Trustee. He served as a member of the Executive Committee for many years, as treasurer from 1968 to 1976, and throughout his involvement has been a core participant in fundraising on behalf of the Conservatory. Scudder was interviewed by Charles Peltz (along with Andy Hurlbut) at NEC on May 16, 2017.
Samuel Adler is a composer, conductor, and teacher. He first worked with Gunther Schuller in 1965 when the Dallas Symphony performed Schuller’s piece Symphony. Adler was interviewed at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA in 2017 by Susan Calkins.
John Heiss is a composer, conductor, flutist, and teacher. Following the publication of his groundbreaking article on flute multiphonics in Perspectives of New Music, Gunther Schuller recruited Heiss to join the faculty at New England Conservatory in 1967, where he continues to be an integral member of the community. Heiss was interviewed at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA in 2017 by Charles Peltz and George Schuller.
Gunther Schuller first brought Frank L. Battisti to New England Conservatory in 1969 with the goal of creating a wind ensemble program on the model of the seminal work done by Frederick Fennell at Eastman. During his time at NEC, Battisti cemented his reputation as one of the most respected champions of music for winds in America, and the NEC Wind Ensemble amassed a sizable portfolio of premiere performances and recordings. Battisti was interviewed at his house in Leverett, MA in 2017 by Charles Peltz.
George Avakian was a leading record producer and executive for several major labels (Columbia Records, Warner Bros, and RCA) while establishing many "firsts" in the recording industry including the development of the album, the LP, live concert recordings and multi-tracking. He produced one of Gunther’s first major recordings for Columbia entitled Music for Brass with John Lewis, Miles Davis and Dimitri Mitropoulos (1956). Avakian was interviewed at his home in Manhattan in 2017 by Susan Calkins and George Schuller.
James Terry, longtime member of the Board of Trustees for the New England Conservatory of Music, was interviewed by Charles Peltz (along with Andy Hurlbut) at NEC on March 20, 2018.