I have known Primous for many a lot of years, and he is a very sincere human being. His music is a reflection of his sincerity, of the harmony he produces.
Kris Windau, author
The cloud has fallen behind the sun. Primous Fountain was sitting in his parents parlor. The chill spring air outside did not disturb him. The crowded chaos of Chicago was altered. What matter was his subjective reality. His mood was upbeat, but his face was feverish. In a few hours his orchestra piece, Manifestation, was going to be performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He was only nineteen and black. He felt inside his pants pockets. His world has become an open window of possibilities. It was a long walk from the projects in Chicago to the Chicago Symphony Center on Michigan Avene, but today his dreams were moving along a path of success.
Primous Fountain composed Manifestion during his senior year in high school. His life in the ghetto did not prevent him from creating a piece of beautiful music which would send its message all the way to New York where the Dance Theatre of Harlem directed by Arthur Mitchell turned his music into the ballet Manifestations. It became a legend in Biblical terms, the ritual of Adam and Eve and the creation.
After Manifestation was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in March of 1970, Primous was introduced to Quincy Jones. Prior to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance in 1970 Primous was introduced to Quincy Jones. Mr. Jones agreed to be Primous’ patron. Shortly afterward he signed a three year contact with Mr. Jones. This financial support allowed Primous to abandon the struggles that hunts so many artists.
In the summer of 1970 Gunther Schuller invited Primous to Tanglewood, Massachusetts, the summer home of the Boston Symphony. He and Gunther Schuller formed a special relationship. Eventually Gunther Schuller promoted and premiered his second orchestra piece, Ritual Dances of the Amaks, at Tangelwood during the summer of 1972.
In the fall of 1971 he moved to Boston for six months to be in closer contact with Schuller. During his stay in Boston he met Miles Davis at the Jazz Showcase where Davis was perfoming. Miles Davis liked his music so much that he invited Primous to be was guest for a week at this Boston club performance. Interesting fact that Miles liked Primous’ music before he met composer. Famous jazz trumpeter heard this music earlier while Herbie Hancock had played a tape recording of a rehearsal conducted by Schuller of Fountain’s orchestra piece.
During the summer of 1973 while staying in Tanglewood for the performance of his piece Ritual Dances, Gunther Schuller introduced Primous to Sieji Ozawa, the famous Japanese conductor with the San Francesco Symphony and the Boston Symphony. After listening to Fountain’s Ritual Dances recording at Schuller’s request, he was enthusiastic about conducting a performance of it but this did not develop.
Gunther Schuller also introduced to Michael Tilson Thomas who was the conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at the time. In 1977 TilsonThomas went on a tour which included Ritual Dances. The tour final performance was at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Primous has received the Guggenhiem Fellowship twice for his artistic achievements. In 1981 Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, featured Primous as one of America’s most accomplished African American artist. In 1987 Quincy Jones commissioned Primous’ Second Symphony. Altogether Primous has composed seven symphonies and four other orchestra pieces. Through the years several symphony orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony has performed his music. The National Symphony Orchestra of “Teleradio – Moldova” in Europe performed his Sixth Symphony in 2014.