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

Continuum presents dance music that may have been heard in The Garden of Mirth (a garden of love) from the 13th Century poem, The Romance of the Rose, a medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision. It is a notable instance of courtly literature. The work's stated purpose is to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the poem, the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general.

Continuum presents harpsichord music by the Baroque French composer and harpsichordist, Francois Couperin (1668-1733). His most intriguing harpsichord work without a doubt is "The Mysterious Barricades". Music historians and scholars have never been able to give a reason for the name of the composition. Perhaps Couperin had a future vision of the many streets in uptown New Orleans that were closed by barricades and repaired as a result of hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans born harpsichordist Skip Sempe performs these interesting compositions.

One of the most famous gifted musicians in the field of early music is the Catalan viol player, Jordi Savall. He is truly a master of the instrument. On this Continuum you’ll hear his extraordinary playing of historical Celtic music. Joining him is the outstanding medieval harpist, Andrew Lawrence-King . Both the viol and harp are rarely heard together in performance. This it truly a remarkable and memorable CD. The CD used is: The Celtic Viol (Jordi Savall, Andrew Lawrence-King et al) - AliaVox AVSA 9878.

Dancing in the Middle ages was one of the most popular pastimes. There are some medieval and Renaissance dances that have come down to us. Unfortunately quite a few of the popular dances were not written down because it was assumed that everybody knew them. On this Continuum you’ll hear some of the 45 or so dances that we do have available from early written sources. Recordings used are: A Dance in the Garden of Mirth (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9320, and Istanpitta II (New York’s Ensemble for Early Music) - Lyrichord LEMS 8022.

Terpsichore was the Greek Muse of the Dance. The name also refers to a collection of Renaissance dances collected by the 17th century Michael Praetorius. This Continuum presents a recording of some of these dances performed by the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra of Paris under the direction of New Orleanean Skip Sempe, The recording used is Terpsichore, Paradizo PA0011.

Continuum presents music performed by the medieval music Ensemble Altramar, founded in 1991 in Bloomington, Indiana. The ensemble specializes in music of the medieval Era, sharing historical repertory. Altramar, in the Occitan language of the troubadours, was the name given to the Near Eastern lands that lay “over the sea;” the lands where Crusade and trade resulted in the rich cultural interchange of East and West. Recordings by Altramar used are: Nova Stella  - Dorian DIS-80142, Saint Francis and the Minstrels of God - Dorian DIS-80143, and Crossroads of the Celts - Dorian DOR-93177.

This week on Continuum you'll hear a recording of a live New Orleans Musica da Camera concert from October 5, 2014. It is “A Voice Still Heard - Medieval Sephardic Song”, recorded at Ursuline Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Chapel in New Orleans. This is a repeat of a concert give by Musica da Camera in 1990 at Gates of Prayer Synagogue in New Orleans and broadcast nationally over American Public Radio. The recording is on the CD, A Voice Still Heard - Belle Alliance BA 011.

This week Continnum presents music from the first music publication of the Italian printer, Ottaviano dei Petrucci (1466-1530), who was the first to publish in 1501 a collection of music of the period  printed using movable type. Included in the selections are chansons, frottole, popular Italian dances & sacred music from that printed collection. Recordings used are: Petrucci - The First Printer of Music (N.Y. Pro Musica) - Copy of LP Decca DL 79435 and Praetorious / Susato (N.Y. Pro Musica) - Universal UMD80565.

History tells us that traveling in medieval times was very interesting for the various countries that could be visited. Naturally traveling in those days took more time then today. This Continuum presents music depicting some of those interesting journeys. Recordings uses are: Traveler (The Waverly Consort) - Angel CDC 7243 5 55559 2 2, and Schiarazula Marazula (Musica Antiqua) - Cantas C 9605.

Very early music was written for the human voices and later including instruments performing the same line of music. The music term, polyphony, refers to two or more different melodic lines that are sung or played instrumentally at the same time. This Continuum presents musical selections of the earliest forms of polyphony for voices and instruments. Recording uses are: The Birth of Polyphony (Various Artists) - Harmonia Mundi - Century 5 and, Die Blasinstrumente aus der St. Wenzelskirche in Naumburg (Krickeberg & Lerch) - Klingendes Museum KM2017-2.

Pages