February 23, 2010

Gunther Schuller Conducts NEC Jazz Orchestra in U.S. Premiere of His "Peter and the Wolf," March 4

Former NEC president Gunther Schuller conducts the NEC Jazz Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of his recomposition of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, March 4 at 8 p.m. in NEC's Jordan Hall. Composed for the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, Schuller reinvents Prokofiev's classic composition for an expanded jazz orchestra, including strings, woodwinds, harp, and percussion. The concert is free and open to the public.

The jazz world has had at least two previous encounters with Peter and the Wolf: organist Jimmy Smith's 1966 recording arranged by Oliver Nelson; and Claudio Ragazzi's adaptation, with Spanish narration, which was performed in NEC's Jordan Hall as part of the Conservatory's "Cuban Rhapsody" weekend in November 2001.

For the first half of this concert, Schuller will offer a historic retrospective of the jazz orchestra repertory from early swing to modernism. Chronologically, this includes Glenn Miller's arrangement of I Got Rhythm (1939), Sy Oliver's Well, Git It (1942), Harry James's Friar Rock (1945), Woody Herman's Apple Honey (1945), Lionel Hampton's Hawks' Nest (1947), and Robert Graettinger's arrangement of Autumn in New York (1948).

Gunther Schuller is a MacArthur Fellow, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, and author of Early Jazz, which was named a Jazz Book of the Century by Jazz Educators Journal. As president of New England Conservatory, Schuller in 1969 founded the first fully accredited degree program in jazz at a major classical conservatory. NEC's jazz studies program celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

For further information, check the NEC Website or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122.  NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. St. Botolph Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory