IBS email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-01-03 published
Virtuoso possessed 'nerves of steel'
Ontario trumpeter and music professor renowned for his recordings and his mentoring
By Sol CHROM Friday, January 3, 2003, Page R11
He could make his trumpet sing like an angel, but he was not above taking a hacksaw to it. When Erik SCHULTZ died of cancer last month at the age of 50, Canadian music lost a virtuoso player, a teacher and mentor, a prolific recording and performing artist, and a man renowned among colleagues as a consummate professional.
A member of the music faculty at the University of Western Ontario, Prof. SCHULTZ also made several concert tours of Europe and founded an independent recording label for Canadian musicians. He held positions with Canadian orchestras in Calgary, Hamilton, London, Ontario, Toronto, and Windsor, Ontario He also established an international reputation with an extensive repertoire of recordings of his own, specializing in music of the Baroque period.
Prof. SCHULTZ's musicianship and professionalism were noted by numerous colleagues, both in academia and in the performing arts. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster Keith HORNER, who worked on several recordings and radio programs with him, recalled his "bright, clear, ringing tone." Mr. HORNER praised Prof. SCHULTZ for his expertise with the piccolo trumpet, which he described as a very difficult instrument to master.
"It requires nerves of steel," he said. "With Erik, you didn't hear the work in it. He made it sound effortless -- and that was all smoke and mirrors, because it takes a great deal of physical effort."
Prof. SCHULTZ may have been known best for a series of albums he recorded with organist Jan OVERDUIN. The recordings were made in Kitchener, Ontario, and in Germany, and were issued both on vinyl and on compact disc. The two musicians first teamed up in Europe, where they were both touring in the mid-1980s, setting the stage for a collaboration that lasted until Prof. SCHULTZ's death.
In an interview from Waterloo, Ontario, Prof. OVERDUIN recalled his colleague as an enthusiastic participant in all kinds of musical events, both amateur and professional. "He would just transform the whole experience," Prof. OVERDUIN said. "There were times when I just stood in awe -- he'd be communicating with the audience on a level that was just beyond us."
Prof. OVERDUIN also cited his friend's commitment to musicianship, often displayed under rather trying circumstances. On one European tour, a delayed flight to Portugal saw them arrive in Lisbon with very little time to prepare for a concert. The difficulty was heightened by the fact that both musicians had gotten quite sick and had to find a doctor in Lisbon who could prescribe antibiotics.
And many performances in Europe, Prof. OVERDUIN said, were staged in old churches wherein the temperature or tuning of the organ posed their own special challenges. Since the organs couldn't be moved or modified, Prof. SCHULTZ would have to make adjustments to the pitch of his trumpet. Frequently this would require him to carry extra mouthpieces or lengths of tubing, but even that wasn't always enough.
"One day he had to get a hacksaw and physically saw out a piece of the trumpet," Prof. OVERDUIN recalled. "These were historic organs -- I would have a wonderful time, but it could be difficult too. [Sometimes] they would have weird historical temperaments, but he would adjust immediately."
Prof. SCHULTZ's commitment to music extended beyond his own career, however. In 1993, he and his father started IBS Recordings, a label for independent Canadian artists, eventually releasing more than three dozen titles. Flutist Fiona WILKINSON, one of Prof. SCHULTZ's colleagues at University of Western Ontario, recorded for the label as a member of the Aeolian Winds, and praised him for his generosity. Having established his own international recording career with the German label EBS, she said, he used IBS to support and nurture the initial careers of Canadian musicians. "He would interview and audition artists and take on projects that he felt deserved to be known."
"He positioned it as a discovery label," Mr. HORNER said. "He was ambitious -- he was looking for a recording studio so that he could have some control over sound quality."
Prof. WILKINSON also praised Prof. SCHULTZ for his collegiality. He raised the bar for the people he worked with, she said, acting as a role model for students and colleagues. "He had incredibly high standards. Everything he touched had to meet them."
But Prof. WILKINSON also remembered Prof. SCHULTZ for his sense of humour, and the real-world experience he brought to his teaching and academic work. "He knew what it was like to be 'out there,' " she said, "and he brought that back to the students."
Even with his illness, Prof. SCHULTZ never lost his enthusiasm for performing.
"He lost his voice, and couldn't talk on the phone, but he could still play," Prof. OVERDUIN recalled, noting that Prof. SCHULTZ still played at convocations last June. "It hurts me to think we'll never play again."
Erik SCHULTZ leaves his wife Kelly, his children Daniel, David and Nicole, and two sisters.
Erik SCHULTZ, musician and teacher; born in Hamilton, Ontario, August 29, 1952; died in London, Ontario, December 1, 2002.
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