Crane School of Music to Welcome Conductor Gunther Schuller


Groundbreaking composer, conductor and author Gunther Schuller will visit SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music as a guest artist in November.

SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will host a distinguished musical guest this fall—one of the world’s greatest conductors and composers.

The innovative musician Gunther Schuller will work with Crane students over the course of a week as a visiting guest artist-in-residence in November. Schuller, one of the most influential Americans in music history, will visit campus from Nov. 10 to Nov. 15.

The visit will mark Schuller’s first return to Potsdam since he visited The Crane School of Music in 1981, when he conducted the Delius work “Sea Drift,” Verdi’s “Te Deum” and his own composition, “The Power Within Us,” for that year’s Spring Festival.

“It is an honor for The Crane School to welcome back Gunther Schuller, who paid a memorable visit to Crane in 1981. His status as a composer, conductor and leader in American musical thought is legendary, and I know that his residency will have a tremendous impact upon our students and the entire community. The innovations which he has fostered, and his efforts to connect diverse strands of musical culture, resonate deeply with Crane’s commitment to the interaction between tradition and innovation,” said Dean Dr. Michael Sitton. “We are delighted to welcome him as we move forward from our recent celebration of Crane’s 125-year history.”

During his fall visit, Schuller will guest conduct the Crane Symphony Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. He will also work with the Crane Wind Ensemble and Crane Jazz Ensemble, and give masterclasses on composition and French horn performance. There will be panel discussions about different genres of music, composition, contemporary music and music education.

All events will be free and open to the public.

About the guest artist:

Gunther Schuller has developed a musical career that ranges from composing and conducting to his extensive work as an educator, jazz historian, administrator, music publisher, record producer and author. Schuller 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. In 1959, he gave up performing to devote himself primarily to composition, and has since 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, numerous lifetime achievement awards and 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, entitled “The Compleat Conductor.” Schuller also founded and led the New England Ragtime Ensemble, and is largely responsible for the renaissance of Scott Joplin and other ragtime greats. Schuller has led the Bach Festival, in Spokane, Wash., as Artistic Director since 1993.

To learn more about SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011-12.