Charles Schlueter announces his retirement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 28, 2005 
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Charles Schlueter plays the National Anthem prior to a Boston Celtics basketball game.
Charles Schlueter plays the National Anthem prior to a Boston Celtics basketball game

Charles Schlueter has announced his retirement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, effective at the end of the Tanglewood 2006 Season.

Charlie grew up in Du Quoin, Illinois and got his early musical training there. He started playing at the age of ten. His first teacher was Charles Archibald. His studies continued when he won a coloring contest sponsored by a local music store and received free lessons with the resident trumpet teacher, Don Lemasters. Subsequently, he studied with Mel Siener, Band Director at Du Quoin Township High School, whose encouragement had a profound influence on Charlie becoming a professional musician. While in high school he also received instruction in St. Louis, Missouri from Edward Brauer who was a member of the staff of the NBC radio studio. His studies culminated at the Juilliard School, from which he graduated in 1962. There his mentor was William Vacchiano, then principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.  (Mr. Vacchiano passed away on September 19, 2005 at the age of 93.)

Charlie’s 25 years as principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is exceeded only by Georges Mager, who was principal for 31 years. Charlie is the only principal trumpet in the 20th century who was not already a member of the BSO.  All of his predecessors were members of the orchestra prior to becoming principal trumpet:  Gustav Heim, Roger Voisin, Armando Ghitalla, and Rolf Smedvig each joined the BSO as third/assistant principal.  Mager was hired as a violist.

Charlie has also been a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players since 1981. Prior to his appointment in Boston, he held the position of principal trumpet in the Minnesota Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Kansas City Philharmonic. He was associate principal trumpet in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Charlie has received numerous awards and accolades. He has appeared as soloist both in recital and with orchestras in France, Brazil, Japan, as well as in the United States. He has appeared as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductors Neville Marriner, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In Japan he has appeared as soloist with the Kyushu Symphony in Fukuoka under Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, and with conductor Naohiro Totsuka has performed with both the Tokyo City Philharmonic and the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. He has also been soloist with the Kyushu and Hiroshima Symphonies with Kazuyoshi Akiyama conducting.

In addition to holding positions on the faculties of the New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center, Charlie is also in demand as a teacher abroad and has held master classes in Europe, Canada, Japan, and South America. Since the 1980s he has been a regular visitor to Brazil, presenting master classes and recitals. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Joao Pessoa, Sao Luis, Recife, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Salvador, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.. He has taught in Rio de Janeiro at the University of Rio de Janeiro, and also in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Vitoria, and Campinas.  In 1988 Charlie helped create the Northeastern Brazil Brass Master Classes in Joao Pessoa, and this series was subsequently expanded to include the areas of Sao Luis, Recife, and Belem. He has also performed and recorded with BRASSIL (the resident Brass Quintet of Paraiba University) and on several occasions has appeared with the Jazz Orchestra of J.U. Da Silva ("Duda"). Since 1995 Charlie has been visiting professor at Sakuyo University, in Kurashiki, Japan where in addition to teaching has given recitals with pianist Yasuo Watanabe and has appeared as soloist with the University’s Wind Ensemble.

Charlie can be heard on most Boston Symphony recordings made since his appointment in 1981. In addition, in 1994 he began making solo recordings. The first, “Bravura Trumpet” was originally recorded for VOX and has been recently re-issued by and is available from the Charles Schlueter Foundation. Three other CDs have been subsequently released on the Kleos Classics label: “Virtuoso Trumpet” (2001), "Trumpet Concertos" (2002), and “Trumpet Works” (2003).

The Charles Schlueter Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, was founded in 2001 to encourage communication among brass players and to advance the level of performance, teaching and literature associated with brass instruments. Its mission is to foster the enjoyment of music, promote music education, and assist in the training of talented young brass performers. The Foundation strives to promote music as an essential part of school curriculums and to understand and demonstrate how music serves as a means of communication across a range of cultures throughout the world.



Contents of Charlie’s solo CDs:

“Bravura Trumpet” (1994): Intrad” by Otto Ketting, Chamber Music VII - Ceremonies  and  Chamber Music VIII - Sonata by Robert Suderburg, Sonate pour Trompette en Re et Violoncelle, op. 21 by Yves Chardon, and Sonate by Paul Hindemith. Recorded at Symphony Hall, Boston.

“Virtuoso Trumpet” (2001, Kleos Classics KL5114): Intrada by Artur Honegger, Legende by Georges Enesco, Sonate for Cello and Trumpet by Yves Chardon*, Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone by Francis Poulenc, Septet by Camille Saint-Saens, and the world premiere recording of  Duo Concerto for Trumpet and Organ by Tomas Svoboda. Recorded at Thompson Chapel, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts. (*from “Bravura Trumpet”)

“Trumpet Concertos” (2002, Kleos Classics KL51222): Concerto in Eb Major by Johann Baptist Neruda, Concerto in Eb Major by Franz Joseph Haydn, Concerto in D Major by  Giuseppe Tartini, and Concerto in E Major by Johann Nepomuk Hummel. This was recorded in April 2002 in Fukuoka, Japan with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama, and funded in part by The Charles Schlueter Foundation, Inc.

“Trumpet Works” (2003, Kleos Classics KL 5126): Sonate by Jean Hubeau, Chamber Music VII - Ceremonies  and  Chamber Music VIII - Sonata by Robert Suderburg, Sonate by Paul Hindemith. Recorded at Thompson Chapel, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Following his retirement from the BSO, Charlie plans to remain active as a member of the faculty of the New England Conservatory, as well as continuing his annual trips to Brazil and Japan and Europe to give master classes.  Plans to record a few more CDs are also on the horizon.


Charles Schlueter
Boston Symphony Orchestra

Source: Charles Schlueter
Photo: Brian Babineau/
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