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

This week on Continuum 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. Various examples are presented, including 12th Century Polyphony in Aquitaine, music from the 12th century School of Notre Dame, hockets from the 13th century Bamberg Manuscript, and motets from the 13th century Montpellier Codex. Performers include Ensemble Organum, Theatre of Voices, and Anonymous 4.

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. A few of the most famous are Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Oswald von Wolkenstein and Der Tannhauser. The music heard is performed by four outstanding early music ensembles and singers.

Continuum this week presents 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. The secular music will be spirited French estampie dances of the 14th century. The CDs used are: Le Manuscrit du Puy (Ensemble Gilles Binchois) Veritas Virgin Classics 077775923827, Monastic Chant (Theatre of Voices) Harmonia Mundi HMX 2907356.57, and L'Art des Jongleurs Vol.

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. A wide variety of early and some relatively recent music is on the program, including a very spirited medley of New Mexican dances. Included also are selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X (1221-1284).

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. The music is performed by three outstanding American early music ensembles.

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. With many CDs to his credit, selections from three of his most famous ones are performed by the Martin Best Ensemble. The recordings by the ensemble used are: Thys Yool - Nimbus NI 5137, Forgotten Provence - Nimbus NI 5445, and Songs of Chivalry - Nimbus NI 5006.

Continuum features The Early Music Ensemble Gilles Binchois, which has been performing medieval church music for over thirty years. The musicians are named after one of the most important composers of the 15th century Burgundian School. You'll hear them perform Guillaume de Machaut’s 14th century Mass of Notre Dame, the first medieval polyphonic setting of a mass by a known single composer. The setting of this mass is thought to have been composed specifically for the Cathedral of Rheims.

Continuum presents Old England, the complete recordings of the earliest English songs in existence. They come from the two important collections, The Worcester Fragments and a collection known only as The Earliest Songbook of England. Both contain anonymous music from 13th and 14th century England. The songs are performed by two outstanding vocal ensembles. Recordings used are: The Earliest Songbook in England (Gothic Voices) - Helios CDH55297; The Worcester Fragments (Orlando Consort) - Amon Ra CD-SAR 59; and Go from my Window (Colin Tilney) - Dorian DOR90195.

Continuum presents a program of the harpsichord music of Johann Sebastian Bach, played by the legendary harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. The major woks to be heard are the Chromatic Fantasia, and the Italian Concerto. The music was recorded at the famous Landowska Concert Hall, Le Temple de la Musique Ancienne in Saint-Leu-la Foret, France. The one recording used is: Johann Sebastian Bach (Wanda Landowska) - Paradizo PA0009.

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