Gunther Schuller
Gunther Schuller is an American composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, conductor, horn player, author, historian, and jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

The son of a violinist with the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

, he studied at the Saint Thomas Choir School
Saint Thomas Choir School
Saint Thomas Choir School is a church-affiliated boarding choir school in Manhattan, New York. It was founded in 1919 and is supported by the nearby Saint Thomas Church, an Episcopal church continuing the Anglican tradition of all-male choral ensembles...

 and became an accomplished horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

 player and flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 player. At age 15 he played horn professionally with the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

 (1943) followed by an appointment as principal hornist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
As the fifth oldest orchestra in the United States, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has a legacy of fine music making as reflected in its performances in historic Music Hall, recordings, and international tours...

 (1943–5), and then the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company, located in New York City. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager...

 in New York, where he stayed until 1959.

"Varése was talking about the problem of how to describe, metaphorically, the listening to of agglomerations of carefully controlled sound and fused timbres, and understanding that they are significantly different when the entrances and exits are patterned in a different way, and when the dynamic flux is different."