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 was a faculty member at the Tulane School of Architecture for 56 years, retiring in 2015 as Adjunct Professor of Architecture. He taught courses in drawing, photography, calligraphy, visual presentations and two courses that he designed himself; Architecture & Music and Architecture & Mysticism. Both courses involved his passions for music and magic.

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

Neo-Medieval is a term used by modern-day musicians who perform medieval music in a purely contemporary style. One thing this could mean is the possibility of using contemporary instruments and not the ones in use at the time of composition. Also, vocal selections could be extended to elongated elaborated interpretations of the original music. This Continuum presents three modern day American ensembles performing early music in the Neo-Medieval style.

French composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was one of the most important composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He was a dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord. This Continuum presents music composed for his funeral by another recognized French composer of the same period, Jean Gilles (1668-1705). Recording used: Rameau’s Funeral (Capriccio Stravagante et al directed by New Orleans born Skip Sempe) - Paradizo PA0013.

During the Renaissance period dancing was one of the most favored past times. On this Continuum you’ll hear music composed by three masters of that time. A Renaissance dance can be likened to a ball. Knowledge of court dances has survived better than that of country dances as they were collected by dancing masters in manuscripts and later in printed books. Recordings used are: Danses Populaires Francaises (The Broadside Band) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951152, and William Byrd - Virginals & Consorts (Capriccio Stravagante) - Auvidis E 8611.

The title of this Continuum, “Diminuito”, refers to a Renaissance style of early music performed by embellishing a melody through improvisation, much as a jazz group might do today. Renaissance musicians improvised tunes familiar to audiences of the time. It is performed by Rolf Lislevand, a Norwegian performer of early music specializing on lute, vihuela, baroque guitar and theorbo. He plays solo as well as with his own early music ensemble. The CD is Diminuito (Rolf Lislevand Ensemble) ECM New Series 2088.

The nightingale was a complex symbol for medieval writers. Her song was a reminder of both the joys and sorrows of earthly love. She is referred to very often in medieval songs, motets and polyphony. On this Continuum you'll hear some of this music in a recording of a live Musica da Camera concert. The program is from the Musica da Camera's CD, Praise To The Nightingale, Belle Alliance BA005.

This Continuum presents a program of the music of Bach. Two of the six Suites for Solo Cello will be performed by the outstanding cellist, Tess Remy-Schumacker. And excerpts from the motet repertoire of the composer will round out the program. The music is from the two CDs: Suites for Cello Solo: Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (Tess Remy-Schumacheer) Xolo1011, and Johann Sebastian Bach Motetten (The Hilliard Ensemble) ECM 1875.

Continuum presents 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.

This Continuum presents a recording of another live concert by New Orleans Musica da Camera. Jongleur, Jester, Trickster, was a special concert given by Musica da Camera in 2012. It is music from the 13th and 14th centuries of France, Italy, England & Spain. Thais St. Julien also gives narrative information before the performance of each musical selection. The music is from the Musica da Camera CD, Jongleur, Jester, Trickster, Belle Alliance BA006.

Two of the most famous Renaissance composers of dance music were Michael Praetorius (1571-1521) and Tielman Susato (c.1510-1570). This Continuum presents a wide selection of this highly spirited music. Performing are the famous New York Pro Musica and the New London Consort. The music by the New York Pro Musica is from a 1950s sound track of an early video of this most famous early music ensemble. CDs used are: Praetorius/Susato (New York Pro Musica) L’Oiseau-Lyre 436 132-2, and Tielman Susato: Dansereye (New London Consort) Universal UMD 80565.

Excerpts from the medieval musical, "The Play of Robin and Marion", will be featured on this Continuum. Composed by the 13th century trouvère Adam de la Halle, this pastoral work is considered by some to be one of the first operas written. The recording is an historic live performance given in 1984 by musicians of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the famous early music school in Basel, Switzerland. CD is "Le Jeu de Robin et Marion", Focus 913.

Pages