Former Boston Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Charles Schlueter grew up in Du Quoin, Illinois, and got his early musical training there. His first teacher, at the age of ten, was Charles Archibald. His studies continued when he won a coloring contest sponsored by a local music store and received free lessons with the resident trumpet teacher, Don Lemasters. Subsequently, he studied with Mel Siener, Band Director at Du Quoin Township High School, whose encouragement had a profound influence on Schlueter becoming a professional musician. In high school he received instruction in St. Louis, Missouri, from Edward Brauer, who was a member of the staff of the NBC radio studio. His studies culminated at the Juilliard School, from which he graduated in 1962. There his mentor was William Vacchiano, then principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.
Schlueter retired as principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in August 2006 after 25 years. Prior to his appointment in Boston, he held the position of principal trumpet in the Minnesota Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Kansas City Philharmonic. He was associate principal trumpet in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell.
During his time on the New England Conservatory faculty he served as studio faculty as well as a chamber music coach.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Charles Schlueter has received numerous awards and accolades. He has appeared as soloist both in recital and with orchestras in France, Brazil, Japan, as well as in the United States. He has appeared as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductors Neville Marriner, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In Japan he has appeared as soloist with the Kyushu Symphony in Fukuoka under Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, and with conductor Naohiro Totsuka has performed with both the Tokyo City Philharmonic and the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. He has also been soloist with the Kyushu and Hiroshima Symphonies with Kazuyoshi Akiyama conducting.
In addition to holding positions on the faculties of New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center, Schlueter is also in demand as a teacher abroad and has held masterclasses in Europe, Canada, Japan, and South America. Since the 1980s, Schlueter has been a regular visitor to Brazil for both masterclasses and recitals, and has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Joao Pessoa, Sao Luis, Recife, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Salvador, Vitoria, and Rio de Janeiro. He has taught at the University of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Vitoria,and Campinas. In 1988, Schlueter helped create the Northeastern Brazil Brass Master Classes in Joao Pessoa, and this series was subsequently expanded to include the areas of Sao Luis, Recife, and Belem. He has also performed and recorded with BRASSIL (the resident Brass Quintet of Paraiba University) and on several occasions has appeared with the Jazz Orchestra of J.U. Da Silva ("Duda").
Since 1995, Schlueter has been visiting professor at the University of Sakuyo, in Kurashiki, Japan, where in addition to teaching he has given recitals with pianist Yasuo Watanabe, and has appeared as soloist with the University's Wind Ensemble.
Schlueter can be heard on most Boston Symphony recordings made since his apointment in 1981. In addition, in 1994, he began making solo recordings. The first, Bravura Trumpet, was originally recorded for Vox, and has been recently reissued by and is available from the Charles Schlueter Foundation. Three others have been subsequently released on the Kleos Classics label: 2001's Virtuoso Trumpet, 2002's Trumpet Concertos, and 2003's Trumpet Works.
In addition to his regular commitments, Schlueter performed, along with other members of the Boston Symphony, on the soundtrack for the film version of Dennis Lehane's best-selling book Mystic River. He can be heard as well on the soundtrack of the Irish historical epic Michael Collins. Schlueter has also performed the National Anthem as soloist for the Boston Celtics.
The Charles Schlueter Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, was founded in 2001 to encourage communication among brass players and to advance the level of performance, teaching, and literature associated with brass instruments. Its mission is to foster the enjoyment of music, promote music education, and assist in the training of talented young brass performers. The Foundation strives to promote music as an essential part of school curriculums and to understand and demonstrate how music serves as a means of communication across a range of cultures throughout the world.
B.S., The Juilliard School. Trumpet with William Vacchiano. Recordings on Kleos Classics. Former faculty of University of Minnesota/Minneapolis.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut