The University Record, April 17, 1995
By Sarah Zaslaw
School of Music
He held posts in Switzerland and Ethiopia, taught at Eastman and Yale. He leads the prestigious summer conducting seminar at Tanglewood. His students are now music directors and guest conductors around the country and the world. And Ann Arbor has been fortunate to have him, with his splendid musicianship and superb conducting technique, in its midst, leading regular performances of School of Music orchestras since 1976.
But all good things must come to an end. Gustav Meier, professor of music and director of University Orchestras will give his farewell concert with the University Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Tuesday (April 18) in Hill Auditorium.
The program includes Samuel Barber's Essay No. 1, Three Dances from Da Galla's Three-Cornered Hat, Infernal Machine by Rouse, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12, subtitled "1917" after the year of the Russian Revolution.
Characteristic of Meier's devotion to teaching, he will share the podium at the free concert with his current doctoral students, David Tang and Vincent Danner.
It was Meier who dreamed up the popular Halloween Concerts, the variegated Collage Concert, and the newly established Mozart Birthday Concerts, which, thanks to his creativity, musicianship and enthusiasm, have become annual Ann Arbor traditions.
Meier studied at the Zurich Conservatory, Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Tanglewood Music Center where, in 1958, he, Zubin Mehta and Claudio Abbado shared top honors as students.
He has been a guest conductor with the New York City, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Minneapolis, Miami, Syracuse and Zurich operas, and with symphonies in the United States, Europe and South America, and was music director of the Imperial Court Orchestra in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Meier has conducted many first performances, including works by Carter, Weisgall, Schuman, Finney and Menotti.
Under his leadership, the University Symphony Orchestra won an award for adventuresome programming of contemporary music from the American Symphony Orchestra League, and was similarly recognized in 1984 by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
The orchestra was selected for residency at the Evian Music Festival in France in the early 1980s, and in 1989 it was the first American student orchestra to perform in conjunction with the famous Salzburg Festival.
Prior to joining the U-M in 1976, Meier held a similar post at the Eastman School of Music. He also was a member of the Yale University faculty, where he was the youngest person to attain the rank of professor.
He received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 1982.