Milton G. Scheuermann Jr.

Host of Continuum

Milton has been the co-host (with Thais St. Julien) of Continuum since 1976. He is a true New Orleanean, born on Mardi Gras day, attending P. A. Capdau Grammar School and Warren Easton High School. After completing the five year program of the Tulane School of Architecture in 1956 he was drafted into the Army.  After a two year stint in the combat engineers in Germany he returned to New Orleans to work with the architectural firm of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse, becoming an associate in the firm of Parham & Labouisse after Mr. Goldstein’s death. He was appointed University Architect for Dillard University in 1972 and retired from that position in 2002. Milton has been a faculty member at the Tulane School of Architecture for the last 55 years. As Adjunct Professor of Architecture, he presently teaches courses that he designed himself; Architecture & Music and Architecture & Mysticism. Both courses involve his passions for music and magic. In 2011 Milton was a recipient of a prestigious Arts Council of New Orleans Community Arts Award as architect and educator.

Milton has taught piano since an 8th grade student at Capdau School. He studied piano for 16 years with Gordon Kirst, pianist at the original Roosevelt Hotel. While in Germany with the combat engineers he frequently performed as a pianist, and he also bought a Renaissance style recorder. After returning to New Orleans he began playing in a recorder ensemble, the Woodvine Recorder Consort, started by the then new South African Council General, Vere Stock. His growing love for early music culminated in the formation of New Orleans Musica da Camera in 1966. The ensemble is now the oldest continually performing early music ensemble in the world.

Many of the instruments used by Musica da Camera were constructed by Milton from original manuscript drawings. The ensemble now has the pleasure of owning well over 100 early instruments, including seven harpsichords, housed in its own building on Laurel St. in uptown New Orleans. In that building is Musica da Camera’s office, library of over 9,000 books and scores of early music, 4,000 CDs, rehearsal space and living quarters of Thaïs St. Julien (with her 3 cats), Milton’s co-director for Musica da Camera.

Equal to his passion for early music (particularly medieval and early Renaissance) is his passion for the music of Richard Wagner. He is an expert on Wagner with a deep knowledge of all of the composer’s operas, both German texts and scores, knowing all of them from memory. While still in high school, he taught himself German so that he could understand Wagner's librettos.

His third great passion is magic, as a performing art. He is a member of the Knights of Slights, and former or current officer of local chapters of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Mentalism is his specialty; his performances have often made audience members more than a little uneasy about the transparency of their thoughts.

When not doing any of the above, he sleeps very soundly at night.

Ways to Connect

Continuum presents excerpts from the medieval Play of Robin and Marion (Jeu de Robin et Marion). It is the earliest secular play with music, written in around 1282 to 1283, and is the most famous work of Adam de la Halle (1220-1288).

This Continuum program presents early music performed on four different instruments from the medieval and Renaissance periods. They are two string instruments and two wind instruments; the viola da gamba, the Renaissance lute, the organetto (a small portative lap organ) and the recorder.

Continuum this week presents a program called The Cries of London, referring to the short lyrical and musical calls of merchants hawking their products and services at the beginning of the 17th century. Many street cries were incorporated into larger musical works, preserving them from oblivion.

This week on Continnum Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien present examples of the first forms of polyphony, music composed for two or more melodies performed at the same time.

A program of music of some of the most famous German minnesingers is presented on this Continuum. The minnesingers are the German counterpart of the medieval French troubadours and trouveres.

Continuum this week will present a special New Year's program of early music, both sacred and secular. The sacred music is primarily from the Manuscrit du Puy, which brings together a varied group of Aquitanian monodic and polyphonic chants for the New Year from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

This week on Continuum you'll hear excerpts from the Feast of Fools, a post-European Christmas event dating from the Middle Ages. Occurring between Christmas and Epiphany, this celebration was marked by much license and buffoonery. The clergy and the laity traded places for a day and interesting things happened, particularly in The Mass of the Ass.

You'll hear it from these CDs: The Feast of Fools (The New London Consort) L’Oiseaus-Lyre 433 194-2, and La Fete de L'Ane (Clemencic Consort) Harmonia Mundi HMT 7901036.

On this Continuum you'll hear a special program of early Christmas music performed by the New Orleans Musica da Camera. This is music from their CD, Natus Est, directed by Continuum hosts Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien.

This week, Continuum presents a program of medieval Christmas music, most of which is unknown to modern day listeners. Beginning with Aquitanian selections of the 12th century, the program progresses through the Italian, Spanish and German repertoire, ending with a selection of 15th century English carols.

English singer, lutenist, guitarist and composer Martin Best is the subject of this Continuum program. He has been active in early music since the mid 1970s with special emphasis on Renaissance music and minstrel songs of the French troubadours and trouveres.

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