Gunther Schuller Legacy Concert: Founding Family
Tonight’s concert honors the birthday of Gunther Schuller, born Nov. 22, 1925.
Annually NEC and the Gunther Schuller Society produce a concert to promote the legacy of the most transformative figure in NEC’s history - Gunther Schuller; former President and composer, conductor, author and renowned horn player. This year’s theme is “Founding Family,” a program celebrating those towering figures brought to NEC to teach and perform. Those who over the last half century have shaped the Conservatory and kept alive Schuller’s devotion to the highest standards, to the “compleat musician” and to the human trait he considered the most important: curiosity.
Tonight virtuoso performances by current students from across NEC's departments will illuminate the words of those faculty member who will speak, either live or via recording, to their beginnings as new appointees of Gunther’s and what NEC was like for them as they together forged a new and unique path for the New England Conservatory and the world of music.
Celebrating tonight are these founding family members:
Frank L. Battisti
This is an in-person event with a public live stream.
WELCOME: Charles Peltz, President - Gunther Schuller Society
Remarks: John Heiss, appointed to the NEC faculty in 1968
John Heiss | Etudes for Solo Flute, op. 20
Birthday Greetings (dedicated to Gunther Schuller)
- Jacqueline DeVoe '82, '84 MM, flute
Remarks: Ran Blake, appointed to the NEC faculty in 1967
Mr. Blake's remarks will be read by Mr. Edmar Colón.
Ran Blake | Obama-ismArtists
- Ran Blake, piano
Remarks: Laurence Lesser, appointed to the NEC faculty in 1974
Henri Dutilleux | Trois Strophes sur le nom SACHER
Un poco indeciso
- Deokyong Claire Kim '21, '23 MM, cello (student of Laurence Lesser)
Remarks: Carl Atkins, appointed to the NEC faculty in 1967
George Russell | StratusphunkArtists
- Richard Stanmeyer, trumpet
- Logan From, tenor saxophone
- Michael Gerace, trombone
- Keegan Marshall-House, piano
- Linhui He, guitar
- Leo Weisskoff, double bass
- Zhenbang Wu, drums
- Jerry Bergonzi, director
Remarks: Frank L. Battisti, appointed to the NEC faculty in 1969
Igor Stravinsky | Octet for Wind Instruments (1923)
Sinfonia - Lento; Allegro moderato
Tema con variazione
- Members of NEC Wind Ensemble
- Erika Rohrberg, flute
- Thomas Acey, clarinet
- Miranda Macias, Andrew Flurer, bassoon
- Dimitri Raimonde, Reynolds Martin, trumpet
- Jianlin Sha, trombone
- Ki Yoon Park, bass trombone
- Charles Peltz, conductor
Remarks: Hankus Netsky '76, '78 MM, recruited by Gunther Schuller in 1971
Traditional | Look On and Cry
Tony Rice | Big MonEnsembles
- NEC Contemporary Musical Arts Bluegrass Ensemble
- Maggie Zang, voice
- Carson McHaney, violin
- Thatcher Harrison, guitar
- Yoona Kim, ajaeng
- Giulia Haible, cello
- Jamie Eliot, electric bass
- Greg Liszt, director
John Heiss is an active composer, conductor, flutist, and teacher. His works have been performed worldwide, receiving premieres by Speculum Musicae, Boston Musica Viva, Collage New Music, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Aeolian Chamber Players, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, and Alea III. He has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, among others. His principal publishers are Boosey & Hawkes, E.C. Schirmer, Elkus & Son, and Subito Music (54 works to date).
Heiss has been principal flute of Boston Musica Viva and has performed with many local ensembles, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
His articles on contemporary music have appeared in Winds Quarterly, Perspectives of New Music, and The Instrumentalist. Along with Juilliard faculty Joel Sachs, Heiss has designed and written a book/CD-Rom classical music primer for Blue Marble Music entitled Classical Explorer.
Starting in the 1970s, Heiss has directed many NEC festivals dedicated to composers or themes, and has spearheaded visits to NEC by many composers, including Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Berio, Carter, Messiaen, Schuller, Harbison, and Tippett.
In his multidisciplinary role in NEC College studies, John Heiss teaches composition, chamber music, flute, music history, music theory, and directed the NEC Contemporary Ensemble.
Third Stream pianist Ran Blake has recorded more than 30 albums and performed in major jazz festivals, concert halls, jazz clubs, and universities throughout Europe and the Americas.
Blake was the founding chair of NEC's Contemporary Musical Arts department (then called Third Stream), from 1972 through 2005, and continues to teach full-time. His innovative teaching approach, known as "the primacy of the ear," emphasizes the listening process and long-term memory rather than sheet music. He has received a MacArthur, Guggenheim Foundation, NEA and Massachusetts Artists Foundation fellowships.
His premiere recording, The Newest Sound Around, won the 1963 RCA Album First Prize in Germany and the 1980 Prix Billie Holiday and is included in the Académie du Jazz. Blake frequently incorporates melodies inspired by dreams and film noir into his compositions. Recent releases include 2017's Town & Country (with fellow NEC faculty member Dominique Eade), Indian Winter (a 2005 album with guitarist/NEC alumnus David Fabris) and All That Is Tied (a 2006 album of solo piano that appeared on numerous jazz publications' year-end "Best of" lists, including The Village Voice and Downbeat magazine.)
Laurence Lesser served as Artistic Director from 1982-1983 and President of New England Conservatory from 1983 through 1996. During that time he presided over the restoration of NEC's Jordan Hall and successfully completed a capital campaign of $30 million. He added distinguished musicians to the faculty in all areas of study, and initiated the "First Monday at Jordan Hall" concert series, which he continues to direct.
Laurence Lesser occupies a teaching chair endowed by the estate of Walter W. Naumburg. Laurence Lesser was a top prize winner in the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a guest performer in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings of the Tchaikovsky Sextet and Spohr Octet for RCA-Victor. In 1976 he gave the premiere of Menotti’s Fantasia (written for him under a Ford Foundation grant) with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa; in 1991, he performed the New England premiere with the NEC Symphony conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. He has been a soloist with the BSO, the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New Japan Orchestra and other major orchestras. In 1966, Lesser was the first to perform the Schoenberg Cello Concerto with orchestra since its 1938 debut by Emanuel Feuermann. Subsequently, in 1968, Lesser became the first to record this work.
Lesser has appeared at the Casals, Spoleto, Marlboro, Charleston, and Santa Fe festivals as well as London’s South Bank Summer Music Festival. He has also been actively involved with the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. In 2005, Lesser was named a "Chevalier du Violoncelle" by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University, awarded for distinguished achievements and contributions to the world of cello playing and teaching.
Carl Atkins has been active as a conductor, composer, woodwind specialist, arts administrator, consultant, and musicologist, in a career that has spanned more than 50 years. His experience has covered a broad spectrum of music ranging from European concert music to American music and “Jazz”. Among his credits are performances and recordings with such noted and varied organizations and artists as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Columbus (Ohio) ProMusica, the Boston Musica Viva, the American National Opera Co., the Black Collective of New York, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the John Coltrane Memorial Orchestra, Gunther Schuller, George Russell, David Baker, Bill Evans, Jaki Byard, and Herbie Hancock, among others. Atkins received the Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, the Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music. He is the former President and Executive Director of the David Hochstein Community School of Music and Dance (Rochester, NY), and the President and CEO of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Atkins has served as a panalist for the National Endowment of the Arts, as well as a consultant to a number of state arts councils and cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Atkins has served on the board of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, serving as Chair from 1993 to 1998. In 2000 he was awarded the Guild’s President’s Award for service to the field. Dr. Atkins has been a member of the faculties of the New England Conservatory, Northeastern University, the University of Rochester, and the Eastman School of Music. From 1995 to 1999, he was co-director, with bass legend Ron Carter, of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory, and from 1999 to 2002 held the position of Associate Dean for Advanced Studies at the Conservatory. In 2002, he was appointed Professor of Fine Arts - Music at the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus (retired) from the institute. In 2021, Atkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the New England Conservatory.
President Gunther Schuller 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's inventory of recordings with NECWE has continued to appear on CD since his retirement in 2000. Battisti is past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and his articles on the wind ensemble, music education, and wind literature have been published by many national and international journals.
He has conducted many professional, university, and school wind bands/ensembles throughout the world. During his time on the NEC faculty he also conducted all-state bands at major music converences. Founder and conductor emeritus of NEC's Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, Battisti also founded the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
Battisti has commissioned and conducted the premiere performances of works by Colgrass, Chavez, Persichetti, Bassett, Pinkham, Wilder, Benson, Tippett, Harbison, and Holloway.
At Commencement 1997, Frank Battisti was the first recipient of NEC's Louis and Adrienne Krasner Teaching Excellence Award.
A multi-instrumentalist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, Hankus Netsky is co-chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Musical Arts Department and founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television, collaborated closely on musical projects with Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, Joel Grey, Robert Brustein, Theodore Bikel, and poets Jane Hirshfield and Robert Pinsky, and has produced numerous recordings, including ten by the Klezmer Conservatory Band. He is the recipient of a “Forward Fifty” award, a New England Conservatory Outstanding Alumni award, the Yosl Mlotek award for the perpetuation of Yiddish Culture, and NEC’s Louis Krasner and Lawrence Lesser awards for Excellence in Teaching. His essays have been published by the University of California Press, the University of Pennsylvania Press, the University of Scranton Press, Hips Roads, Indiana University Press, and the University Press of America, and Temple University Press published his book, Klezmer, Music and Community in 20th Century Jewish Philadelphia in 2015. He has also taught at Hebrew College, Hampshire College, McGill University, and Wesleyan University. He was inducted into Philadelphia's Central High School Hall of Fame in October of 2022.
Flutist Jacqueline DeVoe is an active freelancer throughout New England and has performed with Cantata Singers, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Ballet, Alea III, Springfield Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire and other ensembles.
Ms. DeVoe is the principal flute of the Berkshire Symphony, as well as former principal flutist of the Mexico City Philharmonic, a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow and has performed with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, she has been presented in solo and chamber music concerts in Europe, Mexico and the US, including 4 solo recitals in Jordan Hall. A strong advocate of music education in public schools, Ms. DeVoe plays with the North Winds Quintet, which presents educational concerts in schools throughout Massachusetts under the auspices of Young Audiences. Ms. DeVoe served for 8 years as president of the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition, which hosts an annual competition for Boston-area flutists.
Ms. DeVoe holds faculty positions at Williams College and Amherst College. She has taught at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School faculty since 1990 and for the past 8 summers at the International Music Academy in Cremona, Italy. In addition to B.M. and M.M. degrees from New England Conservatory, she was a two-time recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund grant and the Austrian Government’s Stipend for Foreigners, and completed a diploma at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. Her primary teachers were Claude Monteux, John Heiss and Wolfgang Schulz.
South Korean cellist Claire Deokyong Kim is currently pursuing a master’s degree at NEC in the studio of Laurence Lesser. Kim previously earned her Bachelor of Music degree at New England Conservatory in the studio of Lluís Claret. Prior to coming to NEC, Kim was a student of Myungwha Chung for 4 years. In her first year of undergraduate studies, Kim won the NEC Lower String Competition and was subsequently selected to perform Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the NEC Philharmonia Orchestra under Hugh Wolff at Jordan Hall. In 2018, she won the Tecchler-Forster Cello Competiton in which she was awarded a Tecchler cello (1711) for a year. Kim was also recently awarded third prize at the 2022 Isangyun Cello Competition. As a soloist, Kim has performed in many concerts, including her debut in the Kumho Foundation Prodigy Solo Concert in South Korea, Rising Star Concert at Great Mountains Music Festival and Seoul Arts Center. In addition to her appearances as a soloist, Kim has been a member of the Nico String Quartet (2018-2019) and Tavola String Quartet (2021-2022) that were both selected as Honors Ensemble at NEC.
Charles Peltz’s collaborations with artists from a wide world of music indicate the range of his work—from John Cage to José Ferrer, from Lucas Foss to Howard Shore, from Sarah Chang to Richard Hyman.
In over two decades as music director of the Glens Falls Symphony, he has brought ever growing audiences innovative and diverse programming in live performance and radio broadcast. His commitment to music of our time is best shown by the Symphony’s lead role in the American Orchestra League’s Made in America commissioning project and by further collaborations with composers including Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Joseph Schwantner and Michael Gandolfi. During the same period Peltz has been director of the internationally recognized New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, which has premiered its own catalog of new works, including those by Gunther Schuller, Michael Colgrass and Hans Werner Henze. The NECWE has recorded commercially and has performed through invitation at Carnegie Hall and the National Arts Centre of Canada.
His international career began early as co-founder of the Musicisti Americani festival In Italy and has continued with orchestra and professional wind ensembles in Europe, South America and Asia. His North American engagements have included the Buffalo and Hamilton Philharmonics and the Pacific and Syracuse Symphonies. His new music engagements included regular appearances in the North American New Music Festival and the 2000 Lincoln Center Festival. He has eight recordings on the MODE label, one of which earned a French palm d’or.
As a conductor in the musical theater of Boston he received six nominations as Best Music Director by the Independent Reviewers of New England, winning the award for a nationally recognized production of Showboat. As resident director of the Greater Buffalo Opera company and other companies he has led productions ranging from Mozart to Weill, Puccini to Menotti, Strauss to Britten.
A committed educator he has held positions at Harvard, Ithaca College, SUNY at Buffalo as well as at NEC. His conducting students are appearing with major orchestras in the United States and Europe. His teaching awards include the Krasner Award at NEC and the Plesure Award at SUNY AB.
His service to music and community includes an invitation from Michael Kamen to be a founding member of the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which he served for a decade. He co-founded the Gunther Schuller Society promoting the legacy of that essential musician. Peltz has served as a Divisional President of the CBDNA, having produced two ground-breaking conferences. He serves as an elder at Boston’s historic Park Street Church.