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

Musical instruments produce their sound in many ways, plucking, bowing, blowing, beating, etc. This Continuum program is devoted to two instruments: one that's plucked (the harpsichord), and one that's bowed (the cello). Harpsichord music by Francois Couperin (1668-1733) is performed by New Orleans-born Skip Sempe, whose first keyboard teacher was Milton Scheuermann, and solo suites for cello by Bach are performed by Tess Remy-Schumacher.

There are three delightful delights on this week’s Continuum: The King's Delight, The Queen's Delight, and The Ladyes Delight — three early music CDs devoted to different Elizabethan delights are presented to a very notable collection of Delightful Delights. In addition, music from a CD called Watkin's Ale presents some very spirited and sometimes bawdy music of the same period. The music is performed by two excellent American early music ensembles.

The Estampie was one of the most popular of medieval dances. It exists in many forms in French, Italian and Catalan manuscripts. It is not known exactly how this dance was performed but listening to the music it is very obvious that it was a fast moving event. On this program you'll hear “Mostly Estampies” performed by three outstanding early music ensembles. Recordings used will be: A l'Estampida (Dufay Collective) - Continuum CCD 1042, Estampies et Danses Royales du Moyen Age (Loinhdana) - Pierre Verany PV790043, and Estanpitta! 14th Century Dances (N.Y.)

The music of Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century Sibyl of the Rhine, philosopher, abbess, architect, polymath and composer will be featured on this week's Continuum. Selections from the historically important 1981 recording, A Feather on the Breath of God, performed by the Gothic Voices will be heard as well as a contemporary electronic arrangement of her music. The recordings used will be: A Feather on the Breath of God (Gothic Voices) - Hyperion GAW21039, Celestial Stairs (Ensemble Für Frühe Musik Augsburg) - Christophorus CHR 77205, and Diadema (Vox) - Erdenklang 90343.

The Garden of Love will be featured on Continuum this week, with performances by La Nef, Gothic Voices, and The Dufay Collective. Music from The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Garden of Zephirus and A Dance in the Garden of Mirth will be heard — an array of the various aspects of the medieval Garden of Love including both songs and dances. Recordings used are; (La Nef) - Dorian DIS-80135, (Gothic Voices) - Hyperion CDA66144, and (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9320.

Jordi Savall is one of the most famous of early music musicians performing today. He is truly a "Musician Extraordinaire". Continuum this week presents recordings of some of his expert solo playing on the Renaissance viola da gamba. Also included will be recordings of his early music ensemble, Hesperion XXI, performing works of the English Renaissance composer William Lawes.

This week on Continuum you'll hear the music that was used in the 1972 movie, "Henry VIII And His Six Wives", performed by the Early Music Consort of London under the direction of the legendary David Munrow. Included in the performers is Christopher Hogwood on harpsichord and regal, a Renaissance reed organ. Henry VIII was also a prolific musician and composer. His most famous composition was the song, “Pastime With Good Company”, heard on this program. This is the movie sound track originally issued on an LP in the early 1970s but re-mastered for CD.

“Sumer Is Icumen In” (also called the Summer Canon and the Cuckoo Song) is a medieval English round song of the mid-13th century. This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony and is possibly the oldest surviving example of independent melodic counterpoint. It is featured on this week's Continuum along with other 13th century English music. CD recordings used will be Sumer Is Icumen In (The Hilliard Ensemble) - Chandos CHAN 9396, and Miri It Is (The Dufay Collective) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951154.

This week, Continuum features The Queen’s Delight, a special music program devoted to the 17th century English ballads and dances of the time of Elizabeth I. You’ll hear music by John Dowland, William Byrd, Thomas Robinson and, of course, the inimitable Anonymous, performed by members of The King’s Noyse early music ensemble. Also included are songs and dances from Shakespeare performed by The Broadside Band.

The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity. But it is also the name of an outstanding early music group from Europe, The Unicorn Ensemble, heard on this Continuum. The musicians are from Austria, Italy and Germany and specialize in playing historical instruments in fascinating programs, full of variety and played with artistry and great refinement.

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