Composer, arranger, conductor Gunther Schuller. One of the most ardent supporters of new music, Schuller is equally at home with the music of bebop and the big band era as he with the 12-tone classical composers. Schuller is the past head of the New England Conservatory of Music, where he founded the New England Conservatory's Ragtime Band. In the late 40s, when he first cultivated his eclectic approach to music, Schuller held jobs simultaneously with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and with Miles Davis' tuba band.
Composer David Del Tredici. His works place him at the forefront of the neo-romantic movement. Del Tredici won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1980 for his composition "In Memory of A Summer Day." From 1968 to 1985, his works evolved around themes from Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll's beloved fairy tale. It was his 1976 work, "Final Alice," commissioned by the Chicago Symphony, that first brought Del Tredici international recognition.
Leonard Slatkin, music director of the St. Louis Symphony. Under his baton, the St. Louis Symphony has become one of the world's top symphonies, and one of the top five in America. (Rebroadcast. Original broadcast 7/8/87.)
Larry Adler grew up in Baltimore and started playing the Vaudeville circuit as a teenager. He later pursued classical music, even though no repertoire existed for his instrument. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era, Adler moved to England, but still returns to the States to perform.
Dennis Russell Davies is a conductor known for his dedication to performing new music and innovative programs. Davies is the co-founder and principal conductor for the American Composers Orchestra and the conductor of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center of New York, the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Davies lives in West Germany and is about to assume the position of the General Music Director of the City of Bonn.
Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist who is one of the most prominent classical musicians today. Born in Paris and raised in New York, Ma's first teacher was his father. Ma graduated from high school at 15 and studied at Juliard for a year before attending Harvard. Ma joins the show to discuss his life and career.