We are sad to report that Thais St. Julien, co-host of Continuum, our program of early music, passed away on Thursday morning, January 3, after an extended illness. She was 73 years old.
A New Orleans native, Thais was co-director (with founder Milton Scheuermann, Jr.) of Musica da Camera, which in 1966 began performing music of the 11th through 19th centuries. She created and directed the group’s women’s vocal ensemble, Vox Feminae, sometimes writing and arranging music for them.
Continuum was first broadcast in February, 1976, hosted by Milton Scheuermann. Thais joined him on the second episode, and the two have continued to co-host the weekly program ever since, producing over 2,000 programs. At 42 years, Continuum is the longest-running early music radio program in America, if not the world. The program has been a winner of the Early Music America/Millennium of Music National Radio Competition, and received the KXMS Fine Arts Radio International Award.
“Thais helped put WWNO on the radio map fairly soon after the station's 1972 launch,” said James Arey, longtime classical music host on 89.9 FM and now Classical 104.9 FM. “Through Continuum, Musica da Camera and WWNO played a distinctive role in American radio's early music revival of the 1970s.”
Thais’ musical contributions live on in continuing re-broadcasts of recorded Continuum episodes. Continuum airs on Sundays at 6:00 a.m. on 89.9 FM and at 8:00 p.m. on 104.9 FM.
Thais’ passion for 18th and 19th century New Orleans music has led to lectures and performances across the country. She was featured on the internationally acclaimed series “Creole Cameos” produced by WWNO, and “Arc Light”, a video series produced by Amistad Research Center. As a soprano she recorded for the Newport Classics, Centaur, Belle Alliance and Clark Constructions record labels. Her closest brush with the movies was as historic music advisor for “Interview with the Vampire”.
In 1997 Thais and Milton were jointly honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards in the annual New Orleans Tribute to the Classical Arts. She was the recipient of the 2007 Louisiana Artist Fellowship in Music. She was also honored by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission with its Pioneer in Preservation Honor Award.
In addition to her Musica da Camera colleagues and her longtime listeners, Thais is survived by her brother, Marcus St. Julien, a music professor at Loyola University and prominent local church organist. The funeral is set for Monday January 7, 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew Episcopal Church in New Orleans, with visitation beginning at 9:00 a.m.