The International Horn Competition of America; what is it and how can you be involved? December 13 2016, 0 Comments
Alan Mattingly, Professor of Horn at the University of Nebraska, was the host of the 2015 International Horn Competition of America. We thought it would be a great idea to report news about this event to horn players, teachers, and the horn industry to expand the knowledge base. The event relies on sponsorship, so here is your chance to get involved! Siegfried's Call has taken on a leadership role in this, and would love to have other businesses and manufacturers do the same. The more that a team of vendors pushes forward financially, the bigger the winnings could be for the performers, so both the business teamwork and the artist rewards results in a clear win-win. Alan has direct insight regarding the event, and has shared the following with us all. (bvp)
"The competition has been in existence for more than 30 years"
The International Horn Competition of America (formerly the American Horn Competition) came into being because two people wanted to promote a higher standard for US horn soloists.
In 1975 Elliott Higgins (a Cleveland area hornist and conductor) and George McCracken (horn designer for King Musical Instruments) attended the IHS Symposium near Montreal and observed a contrast between American horn soloists who sat and played from music and European soloists who stood and performed from memory.
Higgins and McCracken decided to create an American solo horn competition, named the Heldenleben International Horn Competition. Its goals were to showcase American horn soloists and encourage horn professors to teach the solo literature, in addition to standard etudes and orchestral excerpts.
The first Competition was held in 1976 at Cleveland State University. Judges included Higgins, McCracken, Antonio Lervolino, Louis Stout, Bill Slocum, and Burton Hardin. In 1980 Higgins moved to New Mexico and McCracken to Williamsburg VA. They agreed to have two competitions, with Higgins running a Western competition and McCracken, an Eastern one. The 1981 competition was the last for McCracken.
In the west, the first American Horn Competition in 1981 was hosted by W. Peter Kurau of the University of Missouri at Columbia, who now teaches at the Eastman School of Music and is Principal Horn of the Rochester Philharmonic.
In 1983, Higgins contacted Steven Gross, the first Heldenleben winner, to host the next American Horn Competition. Two years later, Steve was asked to chair the competition, with Higgins remaining a board member and Director Emeritus. At this time, Steve incorporated the competition as a non-profit organization and divided the solo competition into three rounds, covering the gamut of literature required of a horn soloist.
For more information about the IHCA, please visit their website at:
The 2015 International Horn Competition of America was held from August 28th - 30th at the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music in Lincoln, Nebraska. The hosts for the competition were Dr. Alan Mattingly, Professor of Horn at UNL, and Dr. Jacqueline Mattingly, Lecturer of Music History and Chief Advisor for BA and BM degrees at UNL. The competition remains one of the most prestigious venues for solo horn performance in the world. This year, the three-day, three-round event attracted competitors from across 26 states and 6 countries for prizes totaling $7000.
Alan started his association with the competition back in the 80's, when he competed in the University Division as a student. Very soon after he started teaching at the college level in the early 90's, he was regularly on the judging panel of the University Division. During that time he created the first web page for the IHCA and ultimately became its electronic media coordinator and a member of the Board of Advisors. This longtime association with the IHCA naturally lead to a desire to actually host the event, which finally came to pass in 2015.
Alan's wife Jackie became involved with no coercion whatsoever! Jackie and Alan always tackle big projects together, so it made logical sense that hosting the IHCA would be a similar venture. They both have their Doctoral degrees in Horn Performance, so the background is obviously there. According to Alan, she is amazing at making contacts, networking, and IS the reason that they were so successful in securing the sponsorship for prizes this year!
"Two separate categories: a University Division and Professional Division"
The IHCA is divided into two separate categories: a University Division and Professional Division. Round 1 of each division requires competitors to perform the first movement of a Mozart concerto and a second piece from a given list. Those advancing to Round 2 must perform an unaccompanied work chosen from a list of seven pieces. The third and final round consists of an entire three-movement concerto.
Although there is no set limit on the number of competitors who can advance to the final round, at the 2015 IHCA three competitors from each division advanced to the Round 3, which was held on August 30th in Kimball Recital Hall at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Following are the results:
First Prize - Austin Larson
Second Prize - Zeng Yun
Finalist - Chris Williams
First Prize - Benjamin Bacni
Second Prize - Cynthia Simpson
Finalist - William Loveless
"...the incredible generosity of its sponsors..."
The prizes at the 2015 IHCA were the highest in the history of the event. This is due to the incredible generosity of its sponsors, who support horn playing at all levels and recognize the importance of events such as the IHCA. 2015 marked the first year that sponsors were approached to support cash prizes of the IHCA, and we were thrilled to receive contributions from local businesses, Lincoln-based foundations, individual horn players, and established horn companies. The 2015 IHCA sponsors were:
The Cooper Foundation
The Lincoln Community Foundation
Union Bank and Trust
Harris Academy of the Arts
Friends of Jack Snider
Curtis Rogers, Family Heritage Insurance
"...will continue to attract the highest caliber horn player..."
Mattingly is hopeful that the trend of prize sponsorship from horn makers, suppliers, and distributors continues for future IHCA events. “Getting horn-related companies involved in the IHCA is a fantastic way to promote and advertise their products and services. And by increasing the cash prizes for the IHCA winners, we will continue to attract the highest caliber horn player to this competition for years to come."
In addition, Alan stated the entire event went about as smoothly as it could have gone. He and Jackie started their preparation more than a year in advance to make sure all of the bases were covered. Also, the support from the Glenn Korff School of Music throughout the planning stage, and the help from all of the staff during the event, made our job remarkably easy.
The next International Horn Competition of America takes places in 2017 at Colorado State University.
Compiled by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Music Chose Dr. Natalie Brooke Higgins, and so did the Schwob School of Music March 22 2016, 0 Comments
We at Siegfried's Call wish to congratulate Siegfried's Call Artist, Dr. Natalie Brooke Higgins, on her new appointment as Assistant Professor of Music in Horn at Columbus State University Schwob School of Music.
Interview - Adam Wolf, The Rock Horn Project, and Other Cool Facts January 19 2016, 0 Comments
Rock Horn Project. Cool name, don't you think? It is a group of musicians gathered together by Adam Wolf, to create a unique and interesting style of music for horn. I recently had the chance to interview him about this and some other items in the pipeline. (bvp)
"...a trying story, but obviously one that ends well."
The Rock Horn Project - such a FAB idea! How did you come up with it, and when was it founded? Was it a solo endeavor to start with or a group idea?
Thank you so much! The birth of Rock Horn Project is a trying story, but obviously one that ends well.
Five years ago, I went into a depression about myself and about music that was strong enough for me to justify both not going to school, and sadly quitting horn. I, for the most part, lost all interest in music, and the only thing holding me together were my friends around me. For my brother’s birthday later that year, my parents and I arranged a trip to Las Vegas for my brother and I to see our favorite band Muse. We’d seen them before at festival type shows, but this would be our first time seeing them at their own show, with a production value that has its own reputation separate from their music. I knew I’d have a great time since I love the band, but what I didn’t realize was that this concert would change my life.
At this time I’d felt lost as a horn player. I was practicing excerpts, and taking auditions, with little success. It started getting to me and making me think I was useless as a player. But after seeing Muse, I realized the problem wasn’t how I was playing my excerpts, how my air support was (and the like,) but rather that I was simply playing the wrong kind of music.
I started then writing pieces for myself, which is, up to that point, something I’d never done. I started thinking of horn and my playing it as a solo and rock instrument. The first two tracks I wrote for RHP were extractions from some of my concert music; 'August Starfire' mvt. 1 (Janjo,) and 'Complexus' (Lex.)
After picking the horn back up, I decided to go back to school. I knew that I needed a place that would let me be the horn player and musician I wanted to be. It turned out a school in Los Angeles was just the right place. In the fall of 2011, I started at California Institute of the Arts. It was at Cal Arts that Rock Horn Project was born. The instrumentation was the last part of the idea to materialize. Once started, it would forever have the roots of a classical and rock fusion band. As a result, I knew the instrumentation would need to represent that. So why not a rhythm section commonly found in a rock band, and a string quartet; a typically classical ensemble.
All of my band members are friends that I made while at Cal Arts. Rusty (the bass player for RHP) was my roommate in the dorms our first year there. He was a huge factor in my success there, and is a big part of why the band sounds the way it does.
Our first show ever was my senior recital at Cal Arts in the Wild Beast, an amphitheater concert venue at the school.
Rock Horn Project is my baby, definitely my idea and my project, but it did not come alive until the musicians around me agreed to be a part of it. As a result, they have helped sculpt the way that I write with the way that they play.
How do you choose the repertoire? Do you arrange it personally, or does someone else?
I write all of the material for the band. This hopefully won’t ALWAYS be the case, as in the ensemble there are several incredible composers. I’d love to tap into their creativity at some point! However, 'Passacaglia' and 'Carol of the Bells' are our version of “covers,” as they are not entirely original music. Passacaglia is an arrangement derived from 'Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor' by J.S. Bach, and 'Carol of the Bells' is of course a traditional Christmas song.
Besides the albums you currently have, what is next for the band?
There are a lot of things we have on the plate. We are releasing a single sometime in the New Year as a collaboration with Ashleigh Stone, an incredible singer out of Texas. It is a track called “Almost,” and will be our first time incorporating a singer into the ensemble. I’m very excited about it.
We do have a couple of noteworthy performances coming up in 2016, including the Northwest Horn Symposium at Central Washington University, and the NAMM show in Anaheim. I’ll also be speaking at the Northeast Horn Convention in January at the University of Indiana in Pennsylvania, hosted by Heidi Lucas.
You had mentioned a second album being released; is there a date? And, any hints on what style it will be?
I’m very happy to say yes there will be a second album! I’m hoping to release it by early summer, preferably by June.
I like to think that the first album explored a lot of different styles such as rock, pop, classical, jazz, metal, etc. With this second album, I’ve been diving deeper into these styles, while also expanding the sound of the ensemble. For example, the first track on the second album, and title track “Unbreakable,” will explore more electronic sounds with dub step elements. This will also allow it to fit more into the film score genre. In fact, this track will be using eight horns from here in LA for part of it, to give it that epic sound that this city helped create. We’ll also delve more into the rock and pop genres, while not losing the classical roots. I will say this album will be really, really hard to play live. Hopefully, it will be very enjoyable for our existing fans while also being able to expand the fan base. There will be ten tracks, all following a quasi story arc. I would loosely call this a concept album - tracking how I felt through a very difficult time in my life. Of course, that ended happily with the creation of Rock Horn Project, as stated earlier.
"...this is a chance for us to INSPIRE our audience..."
Your Educational Concert Program is a phenomenal way to give back to students and the music community. How did it come into existence?
Yes, thank you! The first year of the band we did the bar show scene, performing at House of Blues, The Mint, Molly Malone’s etc. I’m really glad I got to do all that because as a horn player I might not have ever had those experiences otherwise. However, we just weren’t getting the audience that I hoped for, and we certainly didn’t make any money in the process. Now obviously money isn’t the main point of this endeavor. But, for me to keep the amazing band members around, I couldn't expect them to drop their gigs for something unpaid. Especially with an audience who is at best made up of our friends, or strangers not paying attention. In May of 2014, we performed at the Southwest Horn Convention in San Diego hosted by Doug Hall. The night before the convention we were invited to perform at a high school as part of their band concert for the musicians and their families. Up to that point, performing for those kids was the most rewarding performance we had. The kids were interested, informed, and had a wonderful time relating to us. After that, I realized that Rock Horn Project would be not only a fun concert for everyone, but for kids it could be a wonderful message. It could inspire them to follow a path that they truly want to go down, not feeling obligated to conform to any pre-existing career path of their instruments.
How many students / groups / schools do you typically work with in a year?
Well, this is now the second year of the ECP, so it’s still very young. However, I’m very happy that either I or we were able to visit five schools in our inaugural year. This year, I’m in the process of assembling a West Coast tour for the spring of 2016. That would lead up to our performance at Northwest, and we hope to get in front of as many schools as possible, including high schools and colleges alike. Some have been confirmed, some are still in the process of being put together, but I hope to have all of it worked out by the earliest part of the New Year.
Is the visit free? Any other fees involved?
Unfortunately, no, they aren’t free. We have a variety of rates to help try to make it as possible for any programs that wants to have us come visit do so, as a concert or clinic.
Are there any scholarship options?
There are a few different options to help make it more cost efficient. A really great idea one of our first schools had, was to pay us our fee, then to have each student sell three tickets to the show. It almost turned it into a fundraiser for the program. This model has proved to be very successful, and really becomes a win-win for everyone involved.
Another opportunity for financial relief is my partnership with Conn-Selmer, and their education department. This has made it possible for certain schools to have the opportunity to have some of our cost displaced by having us or myself as clinicians for the program. This applies specifically to programs in the Conn network, but this can be a huge relief for those involved!
"...this is by far the best type of performance we do..."
What else can you tell us about the program?
All I can say is, this is by far the best type of performance we do. Not just because the halls are better (which they are,) the pay is guaranteed (which it is,) but because this is a chance for us to INSPIRE our audience, not just play at them. When we’re in front of these students, it feels like we are really making a difference in the world of music, and for the future of classically trained musicians.
The only thing I want to do more of with this is to have more interaction with the students. We have a blast playing at these schools, but I’d love to be able to go to the school beforehand during the school day and talk to these young musicians. By doing this, we can get a gauge of what they want to have out of it, and if they feel like we can help guide them down the path they want. As many of us know, sometimes all it takes is a conversation to help them fall in love with music, or to continue down a path that can be a scary decision for a young person.
"I fell in love with the sound of the horn because of the movies"
Now some personal stuff; how did you choose to play horn?
Wow. This is a big question. I started playing trumpet in 3rd grade when my dad, a band director, wanted both myself and my brother to take part in music. But like so many of us, I fell in love with the sound of the horn because of the movies. I joke that the entire emotional trauma that comes with being a horn player I blame on Jim Thatcher. If it weren’t for those incredible Los Angeles horn players, so many of us wouldn’t play horn, including myself. Of course I am grateful for it, and am always in awe of Thatcher (and colleagues') recordings.
You’ve done a lot of drum & bugle, marching… do you play horn in those groups? I always hated marching with a horn, so since we had no mellophones, I didn’t! HA! Drill team instead…
Haha. Yes I’ve been heavily involved in this activity. I marched in the drum and bugle corps Esperanza in 2001 and 2003-2006. In 2008 I started my teaching career for the genre with Mystikal Drum and Bugle Corps, and then with Pacific Crest from 2009-2015. After last season I’ve decided to take a step back from it, and merely lend a helpful ear for a few organizations in the coming years.
In regards to instrument choice, up until last year French horns were illegal instruments in the activity, so I have always used and taught mellophones. I’m sure my students in the corps over the past years will be able to speak to the more colorful vocabulary I’ve used to describe mellophones! I’ve always referred to them as unicorns in the sense that they’re not real instruments, so we need to approach them with a grain of salt, and not forget our roots as horn players.
I notice you have been influenced by Muse, and played with ATE (two of my fave groups!) - they are in the alternative vein of music; is that your favorite?
Yes, Muse is definitely my favorite band, and my greatest inspiration in many ways. Airborne was an absolute BLAST to play with! Alternative is so blurred now it’s hard for me to say if it’s my favorite, especially since I have so many interests musically. However, I do love a lot of bands and artists in the alternative vein. Muse, Airborne Toxic Event, Death Cab, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, etc. are all incredible.
(Adam and I may need to have another chat, as I listen to all of the groups he mentioned! - bvp)
"...I always try to make sure I’m the worst player I listen to"
Besides the masters of classical and orchestral, plus standard horn rep, who else have you been influenced by for your compositions and your playing?
There are so many influences for me across so many genres. The most notable are; Muse (of course,) but also Trombone Shorty, John Mackey, Snarky Puppy, Melee, Eric Whitacre, Pink Floyd, Chvrches, Kneebody, and Evanescence, Mason Bates, Tim Davies, John Williams (yeah, I said it,) Hans Zimmer and so forth.
In regards to my horn playing, my biggest influences are; Jim Thatcher, Richard Bissill, Stefan Dohr, Arkady Shilkloper, Phil Myers, and Jim Atkinson.
Before Rock Horn Project, I was planning on being a composer who played horn, but obviously that has switched quite a bit. I always tried to listen to a lot of music not always for harmonic reasons, but mostly for pacing and structure.
As a player and teacher, I always try to make sure I’m the worst player I listen to. We always talk about the “horn sound” and have many different ideas of what that sounds like. For me, the amazing players listed above are who I look to for a reminder and understanding of what it is supposed to sound like, and I try my best to take qualities that I like from them while also incorporating my own.
For more information on Adam and the Rock Horn Project, check out their website:
It was so great to learn about the wonderful things you are doing not only for the promotion of the horn, but for budding students and musicians. Keep up the good work! (bvp)
Interview by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Life of a Military Horn Player with TSgt Gerald L. Welker Principal Horn, United States Air Force Band, Europe Ramstein AB, Germany November 25 2015, 0 Comments
Ever wonder what it is like being a horn player in the military? Gerald L. Welker has offered us a look from the inside. He is principal horn of the US Air Force Band stationed in Rammstein, Germany. I hope you enjoy reading about this sector of horn playing as much as I did! (bvp)
Getting started and which path to choose...
There are a number of jobs that musicians can choose to do. Many of us began playing the horn at a young age, and we all had our ideas of what the future would look like. Would we be a virtuosic soloist? Sit on the stage with a major symphony orchestra? Or, even teach as a professor…passing on our knowledge and love of music to the next generation? These were all possibilities, and they would equal “success” as a professional musician.
I come from a musical family. My father, the late Dr. Gerald Loren Welker, was a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and had a distinguished career as a wind conductor and music educator. My mother, Dr. Leslie Glenn Welker, is a former band director/music educator at the high school and middle school level. Both were my teachers through high school and college, consequently, they fostered my love for music throughout that time.
“that is just what the musicians who can’t win the orchestra jobs do”
Coming up through school, I played with many orchestras, was a guest soloist for numerous ensembles, and had some of the coolest experiences of my whole career. But, money was tight, and I had a family to support…a wife and three daughters. There were options on the table. Like every other musician, I kept my eyes open for any/all possible leads for a full-time job. Then, I saw an opening for a horn vacancy with the U.S. Air Force. I had never given much thought into going into the military band career field, as my ignorance told me “that is just what the musicians who can’t win the orchestra jobs do”. I was going to get the gig…have some stability…do my 4 years…and get out. Until, I played my first performance with the band.
"Wow! I was making a difference. I was home."
We were playing a show in a smaller community on one of our tours. At the opening of every concert, we have the audience stand for the playing of the National Anthem. As we began to play, I looked out into the crowd of about 700 people…most of that small community. In the front row, I saw a veteran, well into his 80’s, tears rolling down his face from the playing of the anthem. Wow! I was making a difference. My job, my uniform, my life is making a difference. That was all I needed. I was home. Anyway, I am now in my 9th year of service and it has been an amazing career thus far. I share the honor of serving along with my sister…MU1 Adrienne Welker Moore, who is with the United States Navy Band in Washington D.C. Being a military musician is a wonderful experience, and I am blessed to do the work that I do.
The Pros and Cons
The Pros -
Performing alongside many wonderful musicians and expanding your horizons…musically. This job allows for the flexibility to experiment with exploring your talents, not only as a horn player, but any other interests you may have. I have done a lot of performing as a vocalist and pianist, and have also had the opportunity to work as an arranger. All in all, it helps you become a more well-rounded, overall solid, musician.
Lots of time for outside gigs. You can still accept civilian orchestra gigs, as long as they do not interfere with your military obligations. So, you have most evenings and weekends free (when you are not touring). That creates a perfect opportunity to still play much of the literature that you love, and continue garnering a steady paycheck.
"They buy you a horn!"
They buy you a horn! When you are hired as a military horn player, the government will purchase you all of the equipment you will need to do your job successfully…a horn, mutes, cases, lubricants, mouthpieces, etc.
Paid vacation. You will receive 30 days paid leave every year of military service.
Opportunity to perform chamber music on a regular basis. In most every assignment, you will be assigned to a brass quintet, woodwind quintet or brass choir. Either way, you have to keep your chops in top working order, as you are considered a solo voice in these situations.
Performing so many different styles of music. I‘ve had the opportunity to perform Classical, Jazz, Rock, Cuban-Klezmar, Latin….You name it, you’ll do it.
Play for many high-profile events/individuals…presidential visits, foreign dignitaries, celebrities, etc.
Get to travel the world and play in some of the most beautiful locations.
The Cons -
"It is really not that bad"
8 week basic military training. I didn’t mind this so much, but for some….it could be a con. It is really not that bad. Plus, after that eight week period, you have a full-time job. Depending on the branch of service, the BMT requirements are different.
Time away from loved ones. Bands do travel a lot. So, if you do have a family, it is at least something to weigh.
Well, if everyone has the same experience as Gerald, I think the pros totally outweigh the cons! Especially if you can make it through the first 8 weeks - HA!
If there are horn players from any of the other branches of the military that have anything to add, please contact us at Siegfried's Call. These insights are not only interesting to us in the civilian world, but, could help some young horn players or those considering a career change make a decision that could change the path of their lives. Thank you to Gerald for giving us such an honest look at life on the inside! (bvp)
Compiled by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Interview - Patrick Smith, Siegfried's Call Artist November 25 2015, 0 Comments
Patrick Smith is a Professor of Horn and Music History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and, a Siegfried's Call Artist. His will be the third CD released on the Siegfried's Call Label featuring the music of Paul Basler. Recently, we had a lovely chat about this and other events going on in the world of Patrick. (bvp)
"some of the most emotionally engaging repertoire that exists for our instrument"
Paul Basler appears to be based in FL and Kenya - how did you meet?
Paul Basler is the professor of horn at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He really isn't based out of Kenya, although he did spend a year in Kenya on the Fulbright scholarship in 1993 and 1994. Paul was my professor of horn during my last two years of undergraduate work and also during my four years of doctoral work at UF.
What is his music like?
Paul's music is some of the most emotionally engaging repertoire that exists for our instrument. To say his music is diverse would be an understatement, but no matter the piece or the tempo or the dynamics, the one thing that ties all of his music together is the need for emotional engagement by the performers. While his music is accessible to a wide spectrum of horn players, it is very very important for musicians to know some of the intrinsic meanings behind the music itself. That is one of my main goals with this project: to help student and professional players understand the hidden meanings behind many of Paul's more popular works for Horn.
Did you collaborate on the repertoire for the CD, or did one of you choose?
I chose the repertoire on my own.
"a pleasure to collaborate with"
What can you tell me about Tomoko, on piano?
Tomoko Kanamaru is a fantastic pianist, but is also a wonderful human being and a pleasure to collaborate with. She is originally from Japan, studied there and also holds a degree from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She is professor of piano at the college of New Jersey in Ewing, New Jersey.
How did you meet and have you played together before?
Tomoko and I met at the 2010 international horn symposium in Brisbane, Australia. I was performing a piece with my wife, Kristin (also a horn player), and Tomoko was the collaborative pianist with whom I was assigned. I was immediately struck not only by her gifted piano playing, but also by her genuine warmth, friendliness and camaraderie which I found to be so important for a successful performance at a venue such as that. We had so much fun playing together, that it made perfect sense to ask her about collaborating with me on this project. She also had performed many of Paul's works for horn piano, and also for two horns and piano. She was familiar with much of the repertoire and I figured that it was a perfect fit. She was one of the two collaborative pianists which I hired to perform during the 2013 SE horn workshop held at VCU in March 2013. She also traveled to Stockholm, Sweden with me in the fall of 2013 to perform a recital at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Anything exciting happening at VCU that we should know about?
We have established a sister studio program with the students of Annamia Larsson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. My entire studio and I will be traveling to Stockholm for a week in March 2016. There, we will be performing a couple of recitals, performing horn choir music with Annamia's students, and presenting classes and presentations to elementary aged children around the Stockholm area.
What projects do you have planned next?
On the horizon in the near future, I plan to record the complete solo works for horn and piano by James Naigus. James is an incredibly gifted composer who holds three degrees (University of Michigan, University of Florida, University of Iowa) and is in very high demand as a composer. I have commissioned numerous pieces from him and simply love his music.
Anything else you would like to share?
I just recently was contracted to serve on the faculty for The Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival in Nürnberg Germany this upcoming summer.
Personally, I am not familiar with the music of Paul Basler, so I am excited to hear the CD once it is released. Keep checking the Siegfried's Call website and newsletters for release information. On behalf of Siegfried's Call, I would like to thank Patrick for taking the time to chat with me. And, we wish you luck in Germany this summer; it is nice to have horn playing represented by a qualified instructor and a nice guy as well! (bvp)
Interview by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Our Neck of the Woods November 18 2015, 0 Comments
When an instrument is dropped off for a service, or when folks have traveled a distance to visit us regardless of any instrument repair needs, often we're asked about where to go to grab a bite to eat, or if there are any interesting things going on around town they could explore while they do have some time in the area to spend.
This is the first post in what will be a recurring series. Over this and the course of the next several installments, I'll be acquainting you with the Hudson Valley region, connecting you with some favorite spots to eat in Beacon and interesting places to visit nearby, and also highlighting a few upcoming festivals and events, in case when planning your visit to our shop you want to also add that extra layer of an experience. I figure, you'll already have made the drive, right? Why not have a great bite to eat to look forward to? or a unique side stop spot to stretch your legs during the drive home (or while your horn's bell is being cut?) So, let's get started.
We're located in Beacon, New York, which is part of the Hudson River Valley. The Hudson River itself is 315 miles long and runs from the Adirondacks all the way down to the Atlantic Ocean. Near us in Beacon, the water is brackish and the river is almost 2 miles wide. The Hudson Valley is considered to extend from near Albany down to about the middle of Westchester County, situating our City of Beacon just about smack in the middle. Once you're in town, we're very close to the I-84 highway and only a few blocks off Main street. Our shop is one of several diverse tenants in the now privately-owned old Beacon High School building. We occupy about 1700 square feet on the main floor, in fact we're in what used to be the school's old Art room! The teacher's office was converted into our Ivasi and trial room; the film developing dark room converted to our staff kitchen; the kiln area turned into what will be our buffing room, and the rest of the space is dedicated to retail display, repair benches and tools, HornGuard manufacture, ultrasonic cleaning, plating equipment, and our pack and ship station.
Beacon's Main street stretches one mile long from the River on the West end, to Fishkill Creek on the East end. The shop is closer to the East end of town, so let me start there with some favorite spots we bring our friends for lunch or dinner. All are walking distance. In my next post I'll highlight some spots about a 10 to 15 minute's drive away. I want to mention that we have no affiliation with any of these establishments, we are all merely happy, regular patrons.
The Hop - closed on Tuesdays, but offering 16 beers on draft and hundreds of bottles for sale in their side shop, plus an artisan menu with items like BBQ Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese, or a maple bacon-garnished duck fat-sauteed Brussels sprouts appetizer.
Dogwood - local, seasonal draft brews and organic, locally-sourced ingredients for their pub menu, they also host live music almost every night (closed on Mondays.) Dinners (or very late Lunch) only.
Barb's Butchery - our local butcher offers a weekly lunch specials menu! Only one item per day and each day and week changes, but the constant is that they're all very, very good. Check her out!
Ella's Bellas - offering the most incredible gluten-free food and baked goods, surpassed only - possibly - by the insanely great on-site roasted and freshly ground coffee from Tas Cafe. All delicious. A solid choice for those with dietary restrictions.
Towne Crier Cafe - part restaurant and bar, part concert venue. The pastry chef's resume includes Le Cirque and her creations alone are enough to make you want to pull up a chair, but then there's the rest of the menu.
Max's on Main - a great sports bar, through and through. Cool ambiance and nice staff. My favorite things to order are the Beacon Rolls or the BBQ Chicken Caesar Wrap (Scott prefers Steak Night on Thursdays!)
Homespun Foods - this establishment thrives on featuring market-fresh ingredients, with a little specialty mixed in. Typical fares include panini, quiche, and seasonal soups, among other great choices.
There is no shortage of things to see or do in a naturally, culturally, and historically rich area such as the Hudson Valley... I think it's worth mentioning these spots as places to either kill some time at while you're waiting for a same-day repair to be done, or to hit up either on your way into or out of town. For now I'll highlight things quite near-by and save things a little more of a drive away for the next post.
Howland Cultural Center - on the National Register of Historic Places, the small architecturally-significant building itself is beautiful to tour, but align your visit with one of the many cultural events hosted there and you won't be disappointed.
Dia: Beacon - a spaciously impressive modern art museum housed in an ex-Nabisco box printing factory right on the Hudson river. This venue has many long-term installations and a few that rotate. The Bruce Nauman audio/visual display ("Mapping the Studio I") in the basement is especially stirring.
Mount Beacon - are you a hiker? Take a walk up our natural landmark, a high peak of the Hudson Highlands. On a clear day you can see the Manhattan skyline, a full 50 miles to the south. This peak was used for signal fire communications during the Revolutionary war.
Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island - the remnants of a Scotsman's fortress in the middle of the River is something you can tour, along with the rest of the island, thanks to the Bannerman Castle Trust laboring under the National Maritime Historical Society. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1969. (Passenger boat reservations recommended in advance.)
Sloop-Clearwater - one of our most famous Beaconites, Pete Seeger, saw his vision come to life in the launching of the Sloop, the boat he helped raised funds to build to draw attention to the pollution in the River back in the late 1960's. The Sloop offers on-board educational programs as well as public sails.
Great! We can't wait to see you. Book an appointment online at your convenience using our "Book Appointment Now" button, found at the bottom of every single page on our website. See you soon!
Think teaching horn stops with the studio? Go outside the lines with Dr. Jacquelyn Adams. Red Hot in Hattiesburg Mississippi. September 28 2015, 0 Comments
"So often our teaching starts and stops when the students come and go. In keeping up with our changing social online climate, Dr. Adams dedicates much of her time creating multiple opportunities for her students and future students. It starts with outreach and continues with social media platforms. I was honored to have this time to bring to light the constant creative that is Dr. Adams." -Barbara Van Pelt
"My mission is to strengthen fundamentals and musicianship in the horn community. And pizza."
After being a visiting professor last year, this fall is my first official year teaching horn at The University of Southern Mississippi. I went through the daunting application/audition process last April and am officially on a tenure-track position! Going through the process of obtaining a college gig was a whole experience unto itself: 9am recital, interviews with the music faculty and school faculty, a public master class, a public brass quintet and woodwind quintet rehearsal. For me, the most nerve racking part was the initial phone interview. Can't we just text those things?!! Kidding. Kinda. I HATE talking on the phone. I was so nervous, but tried to get in the zone by listening to relaxing music and even took a beta blocker (which I don't even take to perform because they dry my mouth out but I was that nervous to talk). Then they called and I totally hung up on them by accident. Smooth move, Adams. It all worked out but I have much respect for people who endure the process.
I'm excited about a project outside the lines of responsibility to the university that relates to this new job - the debut of Horns of Hattiesburg, a high school horn club here in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The high school division meets one Sunday a month to learn/play horn choir music, develop fundamentals, help the kids with audition concepts and music, and, of course, to eat pizza. The mission is to strengthen fundamentals and musicianship in the future horn community. Did I mention pizza? Many of these kids are showing up to college auditions without any concept for the basic fundamentals of brass playing (not all but a surprising amount). There is no way for band directors to get to every single person in the room and some of the directors run their programs alone. This unto itself is incredibly challenging, and we all know the horn is a difficult beast to tame. The goal is to get involved with these young players earlier in their development and trouble shoot some of this - show them hand position (NOT on the outside of the bell!! ACK!, talk about tongue tension, check out their fingerings of choice…).
"...opened our minds and rocked our worlds..."
One of my favorite aspects of the university gig is the opportunity to introduce the horn studio to influential teachers and performers. At the same time, I expose the community to some of my own horn heroes (there are so many!) thus raising the awareness of brass musicianship. I learn so much in these moments from the musicians. Dr. Andrew Pelletier (Bowling Green State University) jump started our semester by performing an exquisite solo recital, teaching a powerful master class and six individual lessons, and leading a Brahms 1 sectional at the beginning of September. He really whipped us into shape! Dr. James Naigus (composer/hornist) is doing the same adding a composer's forum this week as part of the USM Symphony Orchestra's premiere of Radiant Dances. Leslie Norton (Nashville Symphony, principal horn) led an awesome master class and the Blair Woodwind Quintet from Vanderbilt University performed a pristine recital. That was all just this month! It was an honor to host the legendary Julie Landsman on campus last Spring. Julie led two master classes that opened our minds and rocked our worlds in the span of five hours. Her methods of teaching the Caruso technique have revolutionized my own playing and the students experienced immediate and long term benefits from her visit. We had a very diverse turn out for that event - both middle and high school students (some of whom traveled up to six hours), university students, and professionals. One adult individual traveled from Kissimmee, Florida, to Hattiesburg via planes and cars to attend the master classes! Jeff Agrell (University of Iowa) and Evan Mazunik will be on campus in February for a week long residency focused on improvisational technique and sound painting. YES! Insanely excited to learn from these two incredibly innovative and creative musicians, and cannot wait to expose the students to their performance techniques and practice process.
"Taking horn performance and teaching out of town casts a spotlight on you and your work. This provides great evidence of the quality of faculty The University of Southern Mississippi seeks to acquire and maintain." - Scott H. Bacon (owner of Siegfried's Call)
"I had never been anywhere like Peru, and it was beautiful."
Summer 2015 was one of the most fulfilling seasons I've experienced on horn. Kendall Betts Horn Camp spanned the entire month of June (you cannot beat New Hampshire in the summer. SO. BEAUTIFUL.) The Cusco Music Festival was a life changing week in July, and spending time rehearsing and performing with The North Country Chamber Players (also in NH) was an incredibly enriching week.
Peru was amazing. Dogs and music and wonderful food everywhere. And pisco sours! The Cusco Music Festival, a classical music festival only in it's third year, included a brass faculty member for the first time ever - it was an incredible honor! I had never been anywhere like Peru. The festival was a week long and involved performing a solo with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Cusco (Cusco Symphony Orchestra), teaching members of the orchestra, and teaching young players from the Cusco Youth Orchestra.
The Cusco Symphony Orchestra brass section and I spent time together in sectionals every morning, which was fun and also a little challenging because of the language barrier. We figured out a system and got through everything, learning a ton from each other. The altitude is SO HIGH and the morning temps were SO FRIGID (no heat in the rooms) - these guys were so dedicated to their art and improvement (and obviously more adjusted to the climate) but I was wearing a sweater, jacket, gloves… they were in t-shirts playing Schubert 9 brass sectionals in a scenario that many of us would've complained about for weeks. They were an absolute delight and joy.
We also went to the local middle school and worked with members of the Cusco Youth Orchestra. I was awed and impressed with the school - it was beautifully tucked into the mountains with a gorgeous, hand crafted playground. It was basically built into the ruins, so the steps were incredibly tall and made of ancient stone (literally). The kids were eager to learn and despite the language barrier, it was incredibly productive. There is a lesson in there - less talking, more doing! Therefore, we held long tone contests and high note contests, which tickled them pink, and I played them this crazy unaccompanied solo (Strofa III by Jo van den Booren) that also made them giggle. They were pretty transfixed by my Schmid triple horn. The week was also very special to me because it was my first experience performing a Mozart horn concerto with orchestra. Finally! You practice those things your entire career (I started that sucker in sixth grade which feels like many moons ago) to play 30 seconds of it in an audition setting. Definitely makes more sense with the orchestra. One thing I didn't anticipate was how different it would feel playing at 11,000 feet of elevation. I didn't get physically sick or anything but it was definitely hard to breath and my lips felt incredibly thin. If I were to perform at that elevation again, I would give myself about two weeks to hang out up there and adjust beforehand. Another lesson learned. Culturally, I ate ceviche for about 6 meals in a row while traveling, tried beef heart and guinea pig (that one was rough). Machu Picchu was crazy amazing and mind blowing. Just like a postcard EXCEPT it was crawling with tourists and they have these signs indicating which way you have to walk and someone blows a whistle at you if you go the wrong direction. You can hike further off the trail should you want a more physical experience, but who am I kidding? I checked it out and grabbed a beer while some of the others hiked to the peak. Another Peru highlight was randomly bumping into an opera singer in the bathroom that I went to college with in Denton, Texas. Too funny. I came out of the stall and there Emily Newton was, washing her hands, and we were like "Um…. heeyyyy."
"I wanted to present something uniquely expressive, fresh, and entertaining."
This fall is 100% focused on teaching at The University of Southern Mississippi, performing with the orchestra, and premiering "Radiant Dances" for solo horn, strings, and percussion by James Naigus. James is an incredibly smart and talented composer on the rise, and also a fellow horn player. When approached to perform a concerto with The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, I wanted to present something unique, fresh, expressive, and entertaining. I immediately called my buddy Jeff Agrell (horn faculty at University of Iowa) to seek advice and he suggested that I contact James. Radiant Dances came to life in that moment. I finally met James while teaching at Kendall Betts Horn Camp and was struck by his high level of creativity, intellect, and energy. We spent the month of June playing in ensembles together, improvising, performing… he accompanied me on piano at the faculty recital where we played Piazzolla's "Oblivion" and James, Jeff, Lin Foulk (University of Western Michigan), and myself performed in an improvising quartet called the "Moose Drool Quartet" at one of the faculty recitals. The concerto is full of soaring melodies, lush chords, and opportunities for expression. There's a prolonged cadenza in the second movement that allows for an intimate moment within the piece. I love the entire piece but that second movement is my heart. The premiere is Oct 1st, then we move to recording and a music video.
I've premiered a few other pieces, "Heavy Mettle" by Wayne Lu and "Solomento" by Charles Waters, but this is my first time with orchestra and it is super exciting. Radiant Dances is a hit and a fantastic addition to the horn rep (which is limited for solo horn and string orchestra). Excited to record it with members of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra this fall. Thankful for the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra in general. Pensacola has become my home away from home, and the symphony musicians of PSO were the first for me to connect with after leaving NYC. The brass section is an awesomely supportive group of friends and the conductor, Peter Rubardt, went to The Juilliard School, so it's nice to look to the podium and see someone with NYC experience in their eyes as well. And, yes, it's a look. This is my second season as principal horn with PSO and we open the 2015-2016 season with Don Juan this weekend! My first time riding principal on that piece and am totally hyped up and ready to rock.
"I've been using social media as a means of connecting for quite some time."
I've been using social media as a means of connecting for quite some time. We didn't have a computer or internet in my home when I was in high school (really dating myself here). It's difficult to remember life without the ability to connect with friends far and wide at any time. There is an incredible amount of potential to communicate and connect with the horn studio, and also connect the horn studio to the world, through these social mediums. The school uses YouTube videos to promote events like the premier they just did and also the individual studios. I also have my own YouTube channel, and I do use Twitter. The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Horn Studio has a private Facebook (FB) group page where we "handle business" and communicate about in house issues like rehearsals, sectionals, music festival opportunities, recordings, and sometimes just funny horn memes for stress relief. We also have The USM Horn Studio public FB page where we communicate with friends, family, and the community about upcoming recitals, events, achievements, photos of the students enjoying campus life or The Pride of Mississippi marching band (sometimes those pics take some filtering. Kidding! Kinda!... Those kids have a blast - literally and figuratively). The public horn studio page is used to unite us as a studio with the school of music, often sharing posts that may not be 100% horn related but pertain to the School of Music and could be of interest to the community or friends of the studio. The horn studio also has their own YouTube Channel. My personal FB page remains my own territory but I certainly do not hesitate to share things from the studio page that make me proud as a teacher, or events that might be of interest to non-USM folks. It all works together from the School of Music page to the USM Studio public page to the USM Studio private page to my personal page, and that is how FB works. It's fantastic to promote something on one FB page but the more you can tie those posts together for multiple views, the more FB will boost visibility and do the legwork for you. Horns of Hattiesburg is currently a page in the making. Right now we are utilizing a private group page to communicate internally about getting it off the ground but once we gain some inertia we will begin the public page.
Here is a video I made last year that is totally worth mentioning. I recorded 8 horn tracks in my kitchen and set it to a slideshow for recruiting. This is a great example of how I use Youtube.
"The more I focus on quality versus result, the more rewarding the result seems to be."
Using social media to promote and document these events enables us to reach and connect with an even wider audience. The University of Southern Mississippi PR/Marketing Department does an amazing job of encouraging the faculty to utilize FB and social media. The PR/Marketing director, Mike Lopinto, is a driving force in the promotion of these events (and in the SOM, in general). He and his team stay busy creating flyers, FB events, updating the website, thinking up catchy weekly hashtag concepts, and feeding content to the faculty and students for posting. #TransfomationTuesday is one of my personal favorites. Every Tuesday we highlight a student who has been "transformed" in an aspect of their musical life - practicing and conquering scales, getting in the practice room before 7AM to warm up, learning a solo from memory, playing four double high F's in a row (there actually was one in the horn studio!), winning a gig or competition... things like that. It's a fantastic way to bring attention to students who are putting in the work and highlighting their progress gives their confidence a boost. It's healthy for the students to feel the studio and music school standing behind their achievements on social media.
Good vibes and best of luck to everyone in the horn community and beyond this season! It's going to be a great year and things are off to a good start. I'm excited for the future and also open to whatever opportunities may present themselves. I am learning to be focused on the task at hand, always striving to bring my best, and letting life guide me through the process. Aiming at my personal goals and career dreams has not always been easy to balance (still isn't) but the more I focus on quality versus result, the more rewarding the result seems to be. Also, the more often I walk my dogs, the better I seem to feel. Funny how all that works together for a greater good…
--- Dr. Jacquelyn Adams is Assistant Professor of Horn at The University of Southern Mississippi. She is also Principal One, of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.
"I for one, cannot wait to hear about the next set of adventures that Dr. Adams will embark on! To keep track of her, links are provided above. I thank her on behalf of the horn community for sharing her insights, music and talent with us." -Barbara Van Pelt
Compiled by Barbara Van Pelt, MMusic (horn) Hartt ('87)
The New York Wind Symphony with Philip Myers September 28 2015, 0 Comments
Guest Artist Philip Myers to perform Horn Concerto No. 1 by Strauss October 4th at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center.
The New York Wind Symphony opens its 26th season with an exciting and eclectic program of music composed on both sides of the pond. Continuing our tradition of bringing you world class soloists, we will call to the stage Philip Myers, Principal Horn of the New York Philharmonic, to perform Richard Strauss’s first horn concerto.
Before the concert begins, The Hudson Valley Performing Arts Foundation will once again be sponsoring a performing arts college fair followed by a special performance by the Hudson Valley Honors Youth Wind Ensemble. This great day is sure to have something for everyone!
Galop from the musical comedy Moscow, Cheremushky by Dimitri Shostakovich
Candide Suite by Leonard Bernstein
Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 by Richard Strauss
Red Cape Tango by Michael Daugherty
Tickets are on sale now at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone 1-800-745-3000.
International Horn Symposium 2015 - Horn Geeks Unite! A Personal Perspective... September 21 2015, 0 Comments
Jaime Thorne, horn teacher at The University of Rhode Island, Connecticut College and Thames Valley Music School recently attended the IHS convention in Los Angeles. She has agreed to give us a deeply personal perspective as an attendee at one of the biggest annual horn gatherings in the world.
"I can’t think of a happier way to spend a week"
Speaking as the IHS representative for Connecticut and Rhode Island, and as a person who loves the Horn and admires the people who play it, I can’t think of a happier way to spend a week that “geeking out” with other horn enthusiasts at the International Horn Symposium! That being said, anyone would understand my disappointment when I knew I could not attend this years’ 47th Symposium that was being held in Los Angeles. The reason being: I was in the process of getting a divorce which would be finalized two weeks after the symposium, certainly new territory for yours truly and a place I did not expect to find myself since attending the previous event in London last year. This was doubly disappointing, being I am friends with so many wonderful horn players, some whom I have met at workshops and others in some of the online forums such as Facebook’s Hardcore Horn and Horn People. Being an open person, these online groups have given me an opportunity to share my stories, victories and losses, disappointment, joys and sorrows with many friends I wanted to meet face-to-face, so when asked I was attending this year, it really hurt when I had to share the disappointing "no" with everyone.. However, to my surprise, one of these Facebook friends whom I had never actually met offered to use their frequent flyer miles in order to get me out to L.A. and get a break from all my troubles. Of course, I was hesitant at first to accept any sort of help from someone I only knew online, but after speaking to a few very reputable players and "horn people" who seem to know everyone in the community, I was assured that this person was the real deal, someone who was trying to help out a fellow horn player who was going through a rough patch in her personal life (THANK YOU SO MUCH!), and so, two weeks later, after 3 cancellations due to weather, I found myself on a plane to L.A..
When I arrived in L.A. I was completely exhausted from what turned out to be over 24 hours of travel related adventures. It certainly hadn’t helped that I had moved all of my belongings the day before from a rented house to an apartment, which added to my exhaustion. It also didn’t help that due to the plane delays, I had missed one of the the highlights of the symposium, the Konzertstucke performance at the Hollywood Bowl. I was disappointed, but feeling mentally and physically drained I went to the hotel, had a drink at the bar with two friends whom I hadn't seen since IHS London, and went to bed.
"I finally had understood the pain it causes."
The following day, feeling a bit more refreshed but still stressed out, because all I could think about was the divorce in a few weeks. For those of you who have been through it, I finally had understood the pain it causes. I don't wish that on anyone. But, coming to L.A. was suppose to be a temporary vacation from the reality of my life back home, so I got myself out the door and down to the Colburn School to see the exhibits and pick up my registration packet. Having been recovering from a partial lip tear that occurred in September of 2014, I opted not to bring my horn, so participating in any of the mass horn ensembles was out of the question. I attempted to attend Dr. Don Greene's presentation, Building Courage, but it was packed and they had shut the doors and weren't allowing additional people in the room. So, I went down to the exhibit rooms to see who was there and what new "toys" were there. I do have a passion for the french horn, and putting me in a room full of mouthpieces, new horns, and music, is like putting a kid in a candy shop. I did have a wonderful conversation with Scott Laskey about my lip injury and he helped me find a mouthpiece that would work well with both my Kuhn triple or my Engelbert Schmid. While I was by the exhibits, I ran into an old colleague from the time I spent working on my doctorate at Rutgers, and we decided to just go get lunch in Hollywood, where, I did get my picture taken with Marlyn Monroe.
The performance I had been looking forward to on Wednesday was Genghis Barbie! What a wonderful group of talented women! I am always thrilled to see how many women are becoming big names performing on what used to be a male dominated instrument. They had class, musicality, and really kept the audience wanting more. I got to know them even more after the performance, when I was invited to join them for a special dinner of Siegfried's Call Artists and Dieter Otto horn players. After the dinner, everyone went out to the patio that overlooked LA, and we all talked until the early hours after midnight. What a wonderful night that was, and for quite a time, I had not been thinking about my divorce!
"...it was wonderful to hear from another horn player having an issue."
Horn Players within any given audience might relate differently to styles of playing, but in my case I was particularly won over by the individual and collective performances of the Berlin Philharmonic's Sarah Willis and Stephan Dohr. The great clarity of sound, technique, and musicality that they consistently demonstrate is simply breath taking. These kinds of spectacular results should happen when players of this caliber get together, but just to prove it’s just not a “section” thing, Denise Tryon’s duet with Stephan Dohr also stands out for their combined artistry, and in particular for Denise’s low technical ability and sound in the low register. Speaking of great players making music together, the American Horn Quartets performance was also a tour de force. I can’t say enough about being allowed the privilege of witnessing their final showcase at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. James Thatcher's performance in that venue was also awesome indeed!
"I will always have my horn and the beautiful music I can make from my heart."
There are two other presentations that stood out to me. One being Bruce Atwell's heartfelt story about his own personal struggles with a lip injury. Having been dealing with my own injury, it was wonderful to hear from another horn player having an issue. We all seem to be hesitant to even speak about injuries, but after all the digging around and questioning full time performers in some of the major symphonies in the United States, the truth is, lip injuries are quite common. I think it is so important to be open about them so we can all learn and grow as players without a fear of persecution or rejection just because we are injured. As a final note, another "stand out" performance was the play written by Jasper Rees, "A Devil To Play". His witty humor and story hit close to home regarding my own divorce. When all is said and done, I will always have my horn, my horn friends, and the beautiful music I can make from my heart.
I’d like to add many thanks to Andrew Bain and Annie Bosler (and who knows how many other dedicated individuals were involved) for putting this together. The standards of horn playing always seem to be going onward and upward, but witnessing the determination of ALL the performers at this year’s Symposium certainly took my mind off my troubles for more than a little while, as well as the friends I made checking out eclectic and funky downtown L.A., especially the food courts and Little Tokyo in particular. So once again, THANK YOU Annie and Andrew for picking a really good time to share the love of your entire scene in and around the Colburn Center and downtown Los Angeles. I’ll always be eternally grateful for all of it!
We thank you, Jamie for your candor, insight, humor and spotlight on the events both formal and informal at the IHS. Now I want to attend in 2016! It sounds like it was a fulfilling and enlightening experience that all horn players should attend at least once in their lifetime.
Compiled by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Insightful and personal expanation of the high Eb horn and the B natural horn - Engelbert Schmid August 13 2015, 0 Comments
In this video, produced by Engelbert Schmid, he discusses the multiple benefits of the Eb horn, fingering, and also the benefits of the B natural horn.
Although the video is in German, pay close attention and you may actually be able to understand much of what he is saying. We will be asking him for
a translated version in English that I will gladly add to this post in the future. Enjoy!
Gemini - featuring Jeff Nelsen and Adam Frey July 29 2015, 0 Comments
Jeff Nelsen, horn, a Siegfried’s Call Artist and founder of Fearless Performance LLC, has collaborated with Adam Frey, euphonium, on the newest release on the Siegfried’s Call Artist Label.
They are accompanied by the amazing University of Utah Wind Ensemble, conducted by Scott Hagen. Their release, Gemini, is a fabulous mix of the familiar and the new. Everyone should have a copy in their music library! The album will be released on August 1st, 2015.
I had the chance to preview the recording and interview these two fabulous artists under the Siegfried's Call Artist label. After listening to the music and stories being told, I felt compelled to play the pieces myself, take my horn to the practice room, and negotiate the right notes.... ha. I hope you enjoy reading this interview with Adam and Jeff, as it was a pure pleasure getting their insights.
"we have a kindred spirit for education, inspiring students, and engaging audiences" - Frey
So, Gemini. The word has several meanings; twins (mythological and astronomical), a sign in astrology and the US Apollo missions. How did you decide on it as a title? Was the CD named after the track, or vice versa?
JN: Great question! We thought that a godly tale for 2 adventurous heroes would work well in Gemini. Tony had not settled on a title at first, but quickly did. That magical tale is well spun (best told…lots of great stuff..) in the liner notes of the CD.
AF: The CD was named after the track. When we decided to commission a new work for euphonium, horn, and piano, Tony produced a master work that audiences and performers will enjoy for a long time. So we felt it was incredibly deserving of the title of the CD, but also the first track that will engage the listeners immediately.
Speaking of the title track (which is awesome; I loved it!), how did you become affiliated with Anthony DiLorenzo?
JN: For me, I met his as a friend of a friend, Canadian Brass colleague Ryan Anthony. They worked together on many projects, and then I recorded some movie soundtracks together over the years… I’d heard his writing and loved everything he’d written, especially a special horn melody he wrote for a Russian Bear in a circus for a piece he wrote for Burning River Brass.
AF: I meet him a few years ago when I featured his work, Little Buckaroo, on another duo CD project with Scott Hartmann. His work, Little Buckaroo, impressed me and so though that track and finishing up the recording lead me to commission him in the future. He also used to like in Salt Lake City, so the connection with brass as well as the University of Utah fit perfectly.
How did you two (Jeff & Adam) meet? Was it love at first sight?
JN: It truly was! We were both Yamaha artists, and we’d see each other at events, and would always lovingly say we should do a project together. Then one day, Adam wrote me to tell me, “It’s On!”
AF: I think it was at a Music for All Concert Band Festival event, but we have worked together at many brass festivals and we have a kindred spirit for education, inspiring students, and engaging audiences. So we line up incredibly well with our mentality. It also works out very well that Jeff’s skills on the horn are uber impressive (obviously) and the chance to share the stage together generates a lot of energy and pushes me to play my best.
"this was a perfect excuse to work together. He is a dear friend." -Nelsen
Have you performed together before?
JN: During our 2009 recording sessions in Salt Lake, we performed much of this music with the Wind Ensemble and Scott conducting. Adam had performed his solos in 2007 during his recording sessions. At the 2009 concert I performed Glass Bead Game, we did Gemini, and encored with Czardas.
AF: We played a few times in brass ensembles, National Brass Symposium, and on chamber concerts at the International Euphonium Tuba Festival, and then of course when we recorded and performed Gemini at the University of Utah.
What inspired your collaboration to create this CD / project?
JN: One of the exciting factors for us was the unique quality of horn and euphonium together. There was not much repertoire, if any that celebrated this unique sound combination, so we fearlessly dove into creating some. I have always loved Adam’s playing as well, so this was a perfect excuse to work together. He is a dear friend.
AF: I think one of my main goals is to record new music as well and connect with other great artists. Having the chance to connect with Scott Hagen as well as commission a unique new work and get to spend time collaborating with a great artist fits all the great opportunities.
The selections on the CD are a mix of new and old; how did you choose what to include?
JN: We each selected our solo pieces on our own (as far as I remember?) and then we shared our ideas with each other. Tony DiLorenzo was a very easy choice for a composer to commission…we both love his work so much. And The Glass Bead Game is one of my favorite “new” concerti for horn and I’d been performing it for years. There were only a few recordings out there, and I believe it is well on its way to becoming an important work that features the horn. Jim’s writing celebrates all the power and majesty of the horn one moment, and brings the audience into an intimate mood the next. The first time I heard The Glass Bead Game I was teaching at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. A student performed the first movement for me, and I was blown away. I said, “Ok well first of all, wow! You play beautifully. I’m impressed. And secondly, where did you get this piece?!” The student casually responded, “Ohhhh, it’s just something my dad wrote.” Her name is Julie Beckel, and she’s now playing second horn in the Indianapolis Symphony, where her composer father plays principal trombone. I’ve had a close relationship with the impressive Beckel family ever since.
AF: It was mainly just some great music that we both enjoyed. For me, it was about picking some things that I haven’t recorded yet. I have a few discs (sorry no way to say that without it sounding bad, but 9 solo discs to be exact)!
The Czardas is one of my all time favorites; when I was an orchestra director, I had a violinist perform it. Then as a coach for skating and gymnastics, I had competitive athletes that used it for their routines. It is crazy fast! I’ve never attempted it on horn myself - how hard was it to ready for the project?
JN: I think it was probably 9.4 hard. :) (out of 10) Yes, that’s one that you just have to drive through it to well selected goal notes at the ends of the phrases…and hold on til the end! And also play with a calm “Weeeeeeee!!!” In my lead-up to the recordings, I often performed it for students. One comment sticks out, from Julia Filson (Assistant Principal in the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra now). She said I needed more potatoes in my performance. I’m still not sure what she meant, but I think I did add a few more. I believe that comment sums up the essence of my approach to performing a convincing Czardas.
AF: I had performed it as a soloist, but I think having it arranged as a duet is even more challenging and rewarding. You obiviously have the virtuoso parts, but you have to ebb and flow with the other soloist AND take his energy and use that to maybe take some different musical chances. It was incredible fun to perform and record this one because there are so many different nuances and playful moments.
"we both have the spirit of music and taking chances" -Frey
The University of Utah Wind Ensemble is fabulous - how did you arrange for them to accompany you?
JN: Adam’s area…he set that up.
AF: I have known Scott Hagen for more than 10 years and goes all the way back to my introduction to him by my friend Brian Sproul. Scott and I immediately connected and always talked about amazing projects. When he worked with Jeff at a music festival in Montana, all the stars aligned and we made it happen. It took some time and pushing but we got it done!!
Many concertos / solos use piano or orchestral accompaniment - why a wind ensemble? Not complaining, just curious - it was great!
JN: We love the sound palate.
AF: Orchestral accompaniment is certainly nice, but euphonium actually gets featured a lot more with wind ensemble. There are a large number of wind bands in the US. It is often times much easier to find a wind band that plays at a high level, and, has a great interest in new music like Scott Hagen and the University of Utah Wind Ensemble.
You are both such phenomenal players; were there ever any Diva moments, ego trips / battles?
JN: Ha. No. Well, Adam did do that one Diva thing he does…but we like it. I’ll let him explain. You know what I’m talking about Adam…come on. Admit it!
AF: Firstly, I don’t know what diva moment you are talking about Jeff. BUT, Jeff did take a long time to pick out his takes…so that MIGHT qualify as a diva moment, but I am glad we finished it and that it is an AMAZING project all the way around!
If yes, how did you resolve things? Are you Facebook friends now?
JN: We are not Facebook friends. We are letting the lawyers fight it out, and then we will discuss reconciliation once the CD is released. Wish us luck.
AF: We are Facebook friends, although I have a policy to not ever Like his posts!! The good thing is that we both have the spirit of music and taking chances, so that resolves things pretty easily.
(author's note: there seems to be a discrepancy here - we might need to stalk their pages to find out the truth!)
What was the hardest part of this collaboration?
JN: HAAAAAAA!!!!!! For me, it was sitting down and listening to the takes, and writing down some editing ideas. That took, ohhhhh…7 years! I am horrible with, er…I mean I could be way better at finishing things that do not have a clear deadline. I have about 50 deadlined things going on at any time, so making time for non-deadlined-urgent things, even if they are urgent, is hard for me. I have a wonderful wife and son, so I put time to them first, and then my students, then some practicing, and then the deadlines… That reminds me I have to go finish building that pirate ship in the back yard. And yes, I have another CD I recorded a year and a half ago that I’m unsuccessfully getting to every day. But seriously, it’s a fantastic pirate ship!!
AF: I think the hardest thing is just making decisions and having TOO MANY options. Where you have so many good takes on a particular part, lots of music to choose from, too many great jobs that keep you too busy. In the end, it is like the 31 flavors of ice cream…it is easier just to have 3 choices.
If you had a do-over on this project, or for your next endeavor, is there anything you would do differently?
JN: Yes, I’d get to the edits sooner!? :)
AF: Just finish it up sooner. Really I have played the samples for friends and they are mad they didn’t have it sooner! Other than that, it was really an incredible process and end product.
Any hints on upcoming projects?
JN: The CD I recorded a year and a half ago is horn, tuba, and piano. It’s an exciting recording, and we’re called “Conical Brass”. My wife is a stunning mezzo-soprano. We perform together in recital and with orchestras. We’re going to record together soon as well!
AF: I also have just released a new CD of South American music for euphonium and tuba with my good friend Patricio Cosentino. It is all new stuff from Argentina and Brazil. Very cool and refreshing stuff.
Anything else you would like to share regarding the Gemini project, performing in general, secrets about each other, etc… ?
JN: I don’t think so. Great questions Barbara!!!
AF: Nope, I appreciate your time and the opportunity to work with Jeff on things.
Go get this recording! You will love it, I promise.
Interview by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Siegfried's Call Artist Series video release: An Interview with Rachel Drehmann and David Cooper July 28 2015, 0 Comments
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Rachel Drehmann and David Cooper prior to the release of their video. Rachel was kind enough to answer between gigs and David squeezed it in a few hours before leaving on his honeymoon! I was fortunate enough to be at the performance, and they are as wonderful in person as they play on stage!
The concert, part of the Siegfried’s Call Artist Series, was entitled Falling Leaves, comprised of Rachel, David, and Anna Polonsky, piano. In addition to the concert last fall, a music video, produced by Siegfried's Call, was shot capturing their selection, So Lass uns Wandern - Brahms, in a very creative and unique visual experience. The music was recorded live, without edits, and set to the video.
"the music reflects the diversity we both have as players" -Drehmann
I know you met each other at a camp; and this was one of your first recitals together. Had you ever performed together prior to this?
RD: Yes, David and I met at BUTI and it was best buds at first sight! We've kept in touch over the years even though our lives and careers have taken different paths; we always pick up right where we left off. We would run into each other here and there but since our careers are different, it was never for a concert.
DC: So Rachel and I are best friends. I knew her at BUTI in Tanglewood when I was 17 and we were partners in crime out there!
When did you decide you wanted to do an entire recital together?
RD: I was in Dallas 3 years ago on tour with a band and we met up and had lunch before my show and talked about how we had to play horn duo recitals. We're friends, we both play horn, why not???
DC: We have stayed in touch over the years but this last year we were talking about coming up with an idea just to get back together and play again. We decided that we wanted to put a recital together. Little did I know Rachel would run with the idea and make it happen!
How did you select the repertoire?
RD: Good music is good music and since this would be our own project we both brought pieces that we wanted to play to read through. The Brahms songs fit so well since they really let us sing on our own and also together, which is always my favorite part. And then when we played in Texas, of course I had to arrange a George Strait song for us to play! But the music just reflects the diversity we both have as players.
DC: I have some wild brainstorming ideas so I had initially thought all pop music and do our own arrangements. So she started asking me about dates and I knew she was serious! I started putting together / throwing out some ideas of rep, and she gathered up her suggestions from friends. Then we found music for the Brahms and got together and read through some music in the Bow shop in New York where she works after hours!
What was your favorite selection at the recital?
RD: I loved everything we played. The Brahms songs make me smile every time, but the Arvo Part is so simple and beautiful. I think someone said they cried when they heard the Joni Mitchell arrangement.
"Rachel's laugh is contagious!" - Cooper
How did the Brahms come to be selected for the video?
RD: We both love Brahms and the songs are so beautiful, so it was an easy choice.
DC: We fell in love with the Brahms songs because it gave us some melodies to sing on the horn separately and together. We decided that we wanted to record the Brahms song because it was such a beautiful piece of music. We could each take turns playing, then come together at the end for beautiful interweaving of the melody and harmony.
Now, the video shoot was not only a live performance, but integrates some CGI effects. Your idea or did Scott have ideas about that? Or Cary, the videographer?
RD: We shot on location at the school and it was all Scott and Cary's vision.
What was your favorite part(s) of the shoot?
RD: My favorite part of the shoot was when David took my phone and shot a 2 minute video of himself lip-syncing and dancing to the music someone else was playing on a boom box in the hallway. We laughed a lot all day. (author's note: I wish THAT was a part of the video!)
DC: It was hard work to get the right take for the shoot and to stay in it the whole time. But, each time we saw the playback we knew that we were going to have a FANTASTIC final product! Also, we just have so much fun together we could be doing anything and we'd start laughing and have a blast! Rachel's laugh is contagious!
As of this interview, I haven’t seen the final product yet - what do you hope is accomplished by the release of the video?
RD: I hope people love it as much as we love playing together!
DC: We are totally looking forward to using this video to help promote our future upcoming duo recitals and masterclasses all over the country!
Do you think you will collaborate together on other projects? Anything in the works we can have a hint about?
RD: We are definitely going to collaborate on more projects. We're working on some college master classes and recitals, more arrangements, and a horn duo record could be in the future...
DC: Yes, we hopefully can release a CD of pop and classical stuff sometime in the future!
We are all excited to hear that there are some projects in the works from these two! Now, to see the video, please click the link and enjoy!
The Brahms song, So Lass uns Wandern is adapted for two horns and piano by Verne Reynolds. Recorded live without edits and shot on location at Siegfried's Call in Beacon NY Fall 2014.
Interview by Barbara Van Pelt, MM Music (horn) Hartt ('87)
Ed. Kruspe and Andreas Jungwirth now represented by Siegfried's Call July 28 2015, 0 Comments
The following collection of horns provides you with the ability to experiment with building your own horn given some of the most popular options available
today. Each of these horns have multiple variants that will calculate current pricing for you as you build and shop for your ultimate dream horn.
To make things a little easier for you, we have also created a page that is a collection of new horns that we try to maintain in our shop at all times. This collection is a premier selection with the options already chosen and priced for you from what we have in inventory.
Happy horn hunting. As always, at the bottom of every page is a blue bar with a link to book appointments with us. Feel free to check that out as we would be happy to consult with you further about our great horns.- See more at: http://www.siegfriedscall.com/collections/horns#sthash.bC0P3rMl.dpuf
The following collection of horns provides you with the ability to experiment with building your own horn given some of the most popular options available
today. Each of these horns have multiple variants that will calculate current pricing for you as you build and shop for your ultimate dream horn.
To make things a little easier for you, we have also created a page that is a collection of new horns that we try to maintain in our shop at all times. This collection is a premier selection with the options already chosen and priced for you from what we have in inventory.
Happy horn hunting. As always, at the bottom of every page is a blue bar with a link to book appointments with us. Feel free to check that out as we would be happy to consult with you further about our great horns.- See more at: http://www.siegfriedscall.com/collections/horns#sthash.bC0P3rMl.dpuf
We are excited to announce that we will be adding 2 new brands to our new horn line up.
Ed. Kruspe, Germany
From the Kruspe website: In 1897 the first "true" double horn with dual level valves was designed and built. The Kruspe company patented the invention in its own name on October 05th 1897.Later, minor technical improvements were made to this model, particularly by Professor Wendler. Nothing was changed in terms of the basic design. It is still made today under the name: compensating doublehorn; model: "Professor Wendler".
In 1904, in close cooperation with the well-known horn player Anton Horner, Philadelphia, a double horn with separate F and Bb horn was developed and built. This "Horner"- model is also still in production today. Horn players in orchestras enjoy playing it.
Besides "Wendler" and "Horner" models, the firm produces further instruments, ranging from the simple three valves Bb frenchhorn to the large five valves doublehorn, all with the proven Kruspe quality.
Further instruments will be developed.
Now under new ownership, Ed. Kruspe horns look to reintroduce their historically relevant instruments with the addition of newer models being developed. We currently have the Anton Horner model in nickel silver, and their new model HR-24 in stock for trials and purchase. The horns will be on display at the IHS LA 2015 as well.
Andreas Jungwirth, Austria
In 1987, Andreas engaged in the reproduction of historical brass instruments. The first baroque trumpets were supplemented by natural horns, and soon also by Vienna horns. During which time he balanced teaching with his handwork skills. After several relocations the workshop was eventually located in the Waldviertel, a region northwest of Vienna. The vicinity to Vienna, and yet the privacy of a small village (Freischling) has proven ideal for his business. All current employees have been trained by Andreas himself in the production shop. Special to note is the new double horn with Vienna style tapers, traditional bell manufacture, and unique diamond shaped valve design. Soon to come is a triple horn (fall 2015) and further development will be announced.
We (Siegfried's Call) will have the new double horn on display at the IHS LA 2015. Please stop by our table and have a look.
Mutes on a College Budget, by Marina Krol July 27 2015, 0 Comments
As a horn performance major currently in college, it’s been a great opportunity to work at Siegfried's Call for the summer. Like a kid in a candy store, I had the opportunity to test a number of quality mutes. Finding the right mute is very important. Recently I tested eight straight mutes. As a college student on a budget, both quality and price were considered as I examined this sampling of great mutes.
After testing this selection of mutes I found recommending one over the rest wasn't adequate. Instead, I’ve highlighted three top contenders, across various price points, and subsequently detailed the other mutes. Each mute was rated by tone color, evenness throughout the range, and by price point. Please note that all of the mutes considered here are tunable.
The top three mutes, in order from one to three, are the original "Rittich" mute by Dr. Caswell, the Sylva Horn Crafts mute made from beechwood, and the RGC TPA 01 tunable straight mute in cherry wood. These three mutes scored my personal top rating for tone color throughout the range of the horn, consistency of resistance, and evenness throughout the range. I found the original Rittich mute's high consistency of evenness and free blowing resistance to be exceptional. This mute has a special black matte finish and an adjustable leather cord that makes it very easy to grip. Priced around $325.00 it is a great investment that lives up to its name. Understandably, such high quality comes at a price.
The second of the three was the Sylva mute by Horn Crafts. Clearly crafted with quality in mind and made of beechwood, the Sylva mute is priced at approximately $248.00. This mute has medium resistance plus a sturdy rope cord. Between the three Horn Craft mutes that I tested, I found the Sylva to be my personal favorite due to its medium resistance, the quality of tonal color and the consistency of the evenness throughout the range.
Both of the above mutes are great products. If you are on a budget though, the RGC TPA 01 tunable straight mute (in cherry wood) is a well-rounded and affordable option. The warm, easy to produce tone matches well with the light resistance and free play across the range of the horn. For a price of around $130.00 you can get a quality mute that works very well.
While testing these mutes, I found that it was very difficult to find a top three because of the numerous similar characteristics between all of them. The five other mutes tested were the Don Maslet straight mute, the Woodstop straight mute in walnut, the Betula Horn Crafts mute in beechwood, the Khaya Horn Crafts mute in mahogany and the RGC TPA 03 straight mute in cherry wood. All hand crafted and tunable, these mutes are comparable and each have their own positive characteristics.
The Don Maslet straight mute has a good sound with a black finish, and for the low price of $125.00, is great if you have a tight budget. When testing this mute, I found it to have a more condensed sound compared to others. In contrast the Khaya Horn Crafts mute has a more open sound.
When I tested the Woodstop straight mute in walnut, I found that it had an exceptional tone color and consistently even play across the register. There is also a sturdy leather cord attached for quick access. This handcrafted quality mute has a fair price of approximately $287.00.
After testing the Betula Horn Crafts mute in beechwood, I found there to be a heavier resistance, which works well for certain playing circumstances and personal preference. If you are looking for a mute with heavier resistance, I recommend the Betula. With the Rittich style characteristics, I found it similar in tonal color and is priced around $248.00.
I found the Khaya Horn Crafts mute in mahogany to be free playing more open sounding with a nice rich color than some others. This mute also has light resistance and goes for approximately $248.00. Similar to the other horn craft mutes it has a sturdy rope cord attached.
Finally, the RGC TPA 03 straight mute in cherry wood was similar in tonal color to the RGC TPA 01 mute mentioned earlier. It has a heavier resistance throughout the range and is a little less expensive than others with the same characteristics. A unique feature of this mute is its 12-sided panel construction. This mute is priced around $160.00.
Written by Marina Krol, Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance and Music History candidate (Hartt 2017)
Master Class by Philip Myers November 13 2014, 0 Comments
Shuhan - Luk Trio to play recital at the KuBe in Beacon, NY November 07 2014, 0 Comments
With the fall closing in on winter, Alex Shuhan and his trio will perform an awe inspiring chamber music recital right here at the KuBe Theater in Beacon, NY on Saturday November 15th at 5 PM.
The music they will be performing is some of the most beautiful chamber music for flute, horn and piano we have ever heard. You can see and here a clip of this great music on YouTube by clicking here.
Tickets and program information can be found here.
Andrea's notes October 08 2014, 0 Comments
What I love about our company's growth is the ability it hands us not only to support incredible musicians at all levels of their careers by assisting them reaching channels and outlets for their own creativity, but that we do so by in parallel making live music available and accessible to the masses - whether it be through hosting a concert in our neighborhood or marketing one across the country, producing a recording available for instant download on iTunes, connecting the artists with local elementary schools as special guests and introducing the kids to these instruments, or merging with media to form a totally new audio visual art and music experience... as is happening today.
Orchestras declare bankruptcy. Opera Houses fold. Broadway pits are replaced with recordings. Schools eliminate music education programs in year after year of budget cuts. At that level, we are stepping on the water hose that should be flooding us with our future performers. But with groups disappearing, will there even be any stage for them to take? And without popular support from our society, we're not demonstrating the need for - never mind the many proven benefits other subjects in school win from - even a basic level of musical education. What future are we creating? I feel deeply and personally compelled to do whatever I can to counteract what I feel is a crisis in this country, and that is why I am very proud of what we can contribute and accomplish through our artist relationships.
Thank you Rachel Drehmann for being a partner with us and I cannot wait to see this incredible project when it's done, but not before hearing the recital you and David Cooper have on deck for tomorrow night. I also am looking very forward to projects with other friends of ours both this month and through the winter season. Stay tuned!
Falling Leaves Artist Series Concert - Artist Bios October 07 2014, 0 Comments
David and I met at a summer horn camp in 2001 and I think we were friends at first sight. Over the years school, life and our careers have taken us each in many different directions but we have always managed to keep in touch and pick up right where we left off. Playing a recital together has been something we have been talking about for a while now and we are so grateful to finally have the opportunity to put this concert together. We want to thank Siegfried's Call in their support in making this happen and allowing us to share some of our favorite music and our love of playing the horn.
Robert Schumann: Adagio and Allegro for horn and piano (Cooper)
Eugene Bozza: Sur les Cimes for horn and piano (Drehmann)
Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel with two horns and piano
Beethoven sextet, arr. with piano and two horns.
5 Brahms songs arranged for 2 horns and piano
Joni Mitchell: River for horn duet arr. Danielle Kuhlmann
Rachel Drehmann Bio:
Rachel Drehmann grew up among the farms, cheese-lovers, and her fellow Packer fans outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
She began playing French horn at a young age and headed to Minneapolis to earn her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, studying with Wayne Lu and Dr. Charles Kavalovski. After graduation, she trekked to New York City to study with Jerome Ashby at Manhattan School of Music, where she earned her Master of Music degree. Rachel has since been based out of Harlem and her performing career has thrived as she continues to perform in a wide range of musical genres—from classical to pop to Broadway to indie rock.
In the United States, Rachel has joined forces with Ann Ellsworth, performing a series of baroque horn concertos, Banda de Los Muertos, and was also a member of the indie rock band A Whisper In The Noise. As a soloist, Rachel performed Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, was the solo horn in Shakespeare in the Park’s Euripides’ “The Bacchae” in 2009, and worked through the IHS Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund to commission and premier a piece by John Clark. As an active New York City freelancer, Rachel has performed with orchestras including the American Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, The Knights, and Metropolis Ensemble, as well as with numerous Broadway shows.
Internationally, Rachel has performed in the Caribbean sunshine as Principal horn of the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic and with the Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra. From September 2012 until September 2013, she served as the horn player for the Love This Giant tour with pop/rock icons David Byrne and St. Vincent on a whirlwind year-long tour—busing, biking, and playing shows all around the world.
Perhaps closest to Rachel’s heart is Genghis Barbie. She and the rest of the Barbies have enjoyed pillaging and conquering on the horn since 2010. Along with her busy performing schedule, Rachel also enjoys managing a talented gang of violin, viola, and cello bowmakers at NYC’s Salchow & Sons Bowmaking shop.
David Cooper Bio:
David Cooper is a third-generation French horn player; both his uncle and his grandmother were professional horn players in the Lansing Symphony. Cooper began playing with Michigan State University ensembles when he was 15, and by 16 he had earned a spot in the top MSU ensemble.
While studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, Cooper was awarded a Tanglewood Fellowship that led to his three summers at the Marlboro Music festival in Vermont. He served as acting principal horn with the Victoria Symphony in British Columbia, and was also associate principal horn in the Fort Worth Symphony. Over the years, Cooper has served as guest principal horn for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 2013, he won a position as principal horn in the National Symphony in Washington D.C. but instead chose to play Principal horn in the Dallas Symphony, where he had already played two seasons as third horn. The current season is Cooper's fourth with the Dallas Symphony. He is also an active chamber musician and serves as the Music Director for the Avant Chamber Ballet.
Anna Polonsky Bio:
Anna Polonsky is widely in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared with the Moscow Virtuosi, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and many others. Ms. Polonsky has collaborated with the Guarneri, Orion, and Shanghai Quartets, and with such musicians as Mitsuko Uchida, David Shifrin, Richard Goode, Ida and Ani Kavafian, Cho-Liang Lin, Arnold Steinhardt, Anton Kuerti, Gary Hoffman, and Fred Sherry. She is regularly invited to perform chamber music at festivals such as Marlboro, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle, Music@Menlo, Cartagena, Bard, and Caramoor, as well as at Bargemusic in New York City. Ms. Polonsky has given concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall’s Stern, Weill, and Zankel Halls, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. A frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, she was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two during 2002-2004. In 2006 she took a part in the European Broadcasting Union's project to record and broadcast all of Mozart's keyboard sonatas, and in the spring of 2007 she performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium to inaugurate the Emerson Quartet’s Perspectives Series. She is a recipient of a Borletti- Buitoni Trust Fellowship and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. Anna Polonsky made her solo piano debut at the age of seven at the Special Central Music School in Moscow, Russia. She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Music diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with the renowned pianist Peter Serkin, and continued her studies with Jerome Lowenthal, earning her Master's Degree from the Juilliard School. In addition to performing, she serves on the piano faculty of Vassar College. She is a Steinway Artist.
Cooper & Drehmann Falling Leaves Horn Concert September 18 2014, 0 Comments
For years, David and Rachel have been dreaming about performing together. Not a standard recital, but something special. New. Original. Groundbreaking. Well, the stars and schedules have aligned and it is happening!
A first of it's kind, "Falling Leaves" is a multimedia event that will blast your senses through the emotion of the music, the wonder of the effects, and the mastery of the artists!
211 Fishkill Avenue
Refreshments at intermission will be provided by the Beacon Bread Company.
For tickets and more information, please visit:
Please print out your order, as the order number and printout is your ticket/confirmation.
FUTURE UPCOMING EVENTS WILL BE LISTED ON MAILINGS, OUR WEBPAGE, BLOG AND ON FACEBOOK...
2014 Germany Trip Part 2 - Dieter Otto April 23 2014, 1 Comment
A week with master craftsman Martin Ecker
(owner of Dieter Otto e.K.)
This story starts at the end of July 2013, when Siegfried's Call and Dieter Otto shared exhibit space at the IHS Symposium in Memphis Tennessee. Martin Ecker, owner of Dieter Otto e.K., brought with him the first production model of an all piston double compensating horn. Like all other horn players I thought to myself, "why bother?". After testing the instrument and through the discussions that followed, I realized the importance of such an endeavor. Firstly, Martin makes the piston valves in house. He told me that through his trumpet manufacturing there isn't really a good source anymore in Germany for top quality piston valves. Thus, he needed to make them. Secondly, the compensating double horn is always made with rotor valves that have a (D) shaped air column. Important to note that with a compensating horn the air flows through the valve twice for the low F side. It is his argument that a piston valve is closer to a (O) shape and therefore the length of tubing taken up by 2 passes through the valve create a more "in tune and stable" performance experience. The piston exchange valve was located in the center of the horn with an incredibly quiet, comfortable, and effective linkage system. After experiencing this horn..... my head started to fill with ideas... by the end of the week we had a plan....
A piston exchange valve isn't new... What's the big deal?
(pre WWI Wunderlich C.F.Schmidt copy made by Carl Geyer in Chicago USA)
No it is not... C.F. Schmidt first came out with their double horn in Weimar, Germany in 1900. This was 3 years after the first Bb/F double horn was created by the Kruspe company on Oct. 5th 1897. The C.F. Schmidt was unique in their design implementing a piston exchange valve. Over the last 100+ years many players have enjoyed the sound and the performance of that very same design. Most people today are chasing after horns that provide this authentic sound, but it is difficult to find. Only a few makers in the world offer a C.F. Schmidt copy, and many have tried to copy the tapers over the decades since. The big deal is this... the location and the functionality of the piston on the original C.F. Schmidt double horns has always been an ergonomic nightmare.... this nightmare is partially what inspired Carl Geyer in his in-line valve design.... The compensating double horn from Dieter Otto was in a great location, with an ergonomic dream.... the first I had seen of a successful piston transplant... but what about the tapers?
Tapers give your sound rules...
We were visiting with friends Jeff Broumas and Lou Denaro during the week at Memphis, and Jeff mentioned having a pre WWI C.F. Schmidt Weimar-Berlin... just the horn we were looking for.... and Lou had a mouth pipe he had tested on many a horn and said it was a good start... Soooooo..... we sent the newly purchased Weimar-Berlin horn to Germany for analysis and Martin went searching for a form that may have made that horn... The search led him to Markneukirchen, Germany... He was able to find the original form that made our horn bell flare..... HOW EXCITING! We not only had the horn, but also the original bell form to make the bell....
the BIG idea
Let me catch you up now to what was going on in my head at the time.... I loved the placement of the piston exchange valve on the compensating horn, and immediately bridged to creating a new C.F. Schmidt double horn with an exchange valve more centrally located. This idea will come... but this is Phase II of the project.... Phase I is to create a horn with original tapers (ever so slightly modified for modern intonation standards) using the philosophy and concept of Carl Geyer (namely just the inline rotor design). Keep the horn all brass, and be as authentic as possible. This includes a copper plated steel wire in the bell rim. (just like they used to do it)
only a week to work - enough time to get it done?
I dropped my wife off at the Munich airport to say goodbye... sad to see her go, but as life demands it, other responsibilities required her elsewhere.
when the federal German police say pullover... don't wait
Now alone for a week with Martin Ecker, we drove directly from the airport to Markneukirchen to meet with the bell maker and the valve maker for this new horn. We have no time to sit on our thumbs, a great deal of work is ahead of us to make sure every production horn from the prototype is like the last. On our way to Markneukirchen, we had an interesting stop to make after cutting through the Czech Republic...
after returning to Germany the federal police pulled us over to check the vehicle for drugs or whatever... we had to drive about 1 kilometer because there were side rails to the windy uphill road where they wanted us to pull over... we pulled over at the nearest "safe" place and got a harsh lecture with police standing on all corners of the vehicle at the ready... note to self... when the federal German police say pullover... don't wait
After our eventual meeting with the bell and valve boys of Markneukirchen, we sped off to Markt Sankt-Weit... where the company Dieter Otto and Martin Ecker call home. The following days flowed quickly and we had a mountain to climb... some techniques I cannot share due to confidentiality agreements, however I will say that I was challenged by Martin every day, improved my own craft, learned an incredible amount with regards to horn manufacture (which helps with repairs in our shop). We built forms and jigs, filled and bent tubing, hand hammered bracing, lapped slides and valves... am I dreaming? Martin talks a great deal about the soul of the horn... and has developed techniques that are a nice balance between the old traditional ways, and modern techniques needed to be able to reproduce a horn consistently. Before I knew it.. the week was over and we were celebrating the birth of the first 3 production horns.... but all week long we struggled with the name. Is it a "Geyer" horn? A C.F. Schmidt? A Bacon-Ecker, or Ecker-Bacon, or a Dieter Otto thingie? (inside Ion Balu joke).... pictured below is the new horn and a humble bottle of Weissbier to celebrate.
Dieter Otto Mod. 205 Weimar-Berlin
Well it says it there... we wanted to first give tribute to the tapers of the horn. We believed that most people will look at it and think it is just another "Geyer" horn on the market, so we wanted to draw more attention to its true roots. Although some may think it is made in Weimar or Berlin... it is not.. It is made in the Dieter Otto workshop in Markt Sankt-Weit. The numbering system works within the current structure for manufactured instruments implemented by Martin Ecker. The instrument is now listed on our website and can be found by clicking here. This project has been such a joy for me to work on with Martin Ecker. During the week we became closer friends, shared stories, meals, and even some secrets. I can't imagine working with anyone else on a project so close and dear to me.
Special Thanks: Andrea, David, Martin, Harry, Micha, the lady at the Lufthansa counter, Benjamin, Bernd, Max, Vitaly, Jeff B., Lou, Sarah, Leelanee, Wei-Ping, Rachel, Dale, Rhonda, Scott M., Lacey, Jeff N., Alex, and many many more..... you all had a part in this....
2014 Germany Trip Part 1 - Engelbert Schmid April 08 2014, 3 Comments
Many of you who follow our Facebook business page already know, but we just recently returned from a 1 1/2 week trip to Germany. Bavaria to be more precise.... Once my wife Andrea and I landed we picked out our rental car, fumbled with the German navigation a bit, and headed towards Mindelzell, to meet up with Engelbert Schmid and see his workshop in action. The trip was a bit tiring after the flight, but we endured and arrived midday to the sounds of horns being played in every corner a player could find. You see, it was the horn days at the workshop, where Mr. Schmid has organized a 4 day event for up to 20 or so horn players to stay in the area and take one on one lessons from horn virtuoso and professors Phil Myers, Bruno Schneider, and Jorg Bruckner. We arrived with a little time to spare between lessons and preparations for the evening concert, so we headed out to enjoy our first Weissbier and a Wurstsalat of our trip...
The students who were lucky enough to sign up in advance had the great opportunity to take multiple one on one lessons with these great hornists. The result is an intense schedule for the teachers, who also played a recital Friday night March 21st in the concert hall. Did I mention that the concert hall, with cathedral ceilings reaching maybe 35-45 feet from the floor, is directly above the workshop? The lighting is hung with iron clad framing and delicately positioned french horn bell flares acting as shades for the light bulbs. In the hall there is a baby grand Steinway on a humble stage with room enough for most chamber music situations. Positioned in the gable end of the hall, which provides great lighting as there are many windows, and even a door to step out onto a balcony overlooking a 400 seat capacity outdoor amphitheater... yes... left and right you have performers prep rooms and so is the performance arena.... Left of the general seating are some tables set up for the students/attendees to gather for meals, and to the right is a wine stand featuring Engelbert Schmid's wines among others. This functioned well for the 100 plus people from around town who ventured out to hear the concert.
We came back the following day and met with Engelbert Schmid for well over an hour. He discussed with us the features of his horns, as well as the great advantages his horns have over others. We shared ground in regards to appreciation for high quality, adherence to a top standard, and further discussed maintenance and care for his horns. We took a tour of the shop, and although I didn't take any pictures, I can say that this shop is unlike any I have seen. E. Schmid horns are born in this shop from tubing and sheet metal. The entire process is controlled in house, ie: valve making, slides and crooks, bell making (both flares, bell tails, and complete bells including both parts in one piece), small parts, braces, ferrules, stopping arms.. etc.... you get the picture... (no pun intended) After witnessing the shop, and discussing with him his thoughts on horn making, we are happy to announce that Siegfried's Call will be selling Engelbert Schmid horns in the near future. I personally plan to revisit and work with him side by side to learn the exact way that he prefers to refit his clients valves so that we can do this "in house" here in Beacon. Both my wife and I are very excited to start working with Engelbert, and to meet our future clients for his incredible, beautiful instruments.
On another note.... 25 to 30 Japanese horn students stopped by this Saturday afternoon and took part in a blind sound test between 3 different horns... a Schmid prototype, an Alexander 103, and an E. Schmid double medium bell. All were brass horns.
They structured the test as administered by Bruno Schneider as such: 3 different players playing 3 different excerpts on each of the 3 horns in the same excerpt order, but you don't know who the player is or which order they are playing the horns. You can't see them behind the screen. Choose, on a point scale 1-10 a point rating for overall sound preference (subjective as it is very personal). I only used 3 numbers knowing there were 3 horns to choose from.... 1 (not as interested) 5 (ok, not bad, not great though) and 10 (interesting and robust). The points were tallied and the Engelbert Schmid double horn won by a wide margin, next was the Alexander 103, and sadly, the prototype needs a bit more work.... This test has inspired me to rig a blind up for our stage at Siegfried's Call to administer similar tests for our clients.
New French Horn Mouthpiece Rims March 18 2014, 0 Comments
Siegfried's Call has been working very closely with Dave Houser the last year in development of a new series of rims for french horn players.
We have noticed that for horn players who enjoy "setting in" with their embouchure, the exterior shapes haven't provided a real concrete feel on the face. We explored this observation a bit further and found that only on cushion rims did it exist. Therefore we developed a line of cushion rims, as well as thin rims (based roughly off of a Bloom rim face) but with a nice curve on the inside edge and a grippy shelf on the outside....
We also chose to use stainless steel as a material because of the enduring quality of the material... with a finished Bronze H-Kote that will provide years of durable wear.
There are 3 series of rims to choose from: SCCR (Siegfried's Call Cushion Rim), SCTR (Siegfried's Call Thin Rim), SCUTR (Siegfried's Call Ultra Thin Rim).
In addition to our own series of rims, we are developing a line called the SCASR (Siegfried's Call Artist's Series Rims). These rims are customized by our artist's to suit their performance situations.
Sizes for each series are:
SCCR: 17.5mm -18.50mm
SCASR: Variable depending on the Artist. Our first rim is the Rachel Drehmann rim (17.75mm)
The sizes are available in .25mm increments. The threads are 3/4 x 36 Giardinelli standard threads, with a junction point of .660". The rims are designed to work well with older Giardinelli, Schilke 2-piece, Mooswood, Osmun, and Houser cups. They may work on other cups made with the same threading too... We just have to try it!
Stop by the shop or see us at the next workshop to test these out. We are extremely pleased to begin offering these rims!!
Top 10 reasons to attend the Fearless Performance Workshop January 01 2014, 0 Comments
Each day, we will be doing a countdown of the Top 10 leading up to the workshop on January 11.
“Jeff Nelsen’s Top Ten Reasons for Attending a Fearless Performance Workshop”:
10. Learn how Fearlessness affects all areas of your life…not just in music.
- Anytime you are in front of a group as a teacher, lecturer, performer, etc... you can use this information to help you.
9. Know how to make and execute your practice plans.
- Some people "wing it" through life without a plan; that is not always the best way to approach music preparation!
8. Learn how to make permanent improvements in the practice-room
- People often say, "practice makes perfect." But, only PERFECT practice makes perfect! Learn how!
7. You can actually look forward to your next performance
- Playing should be fun! Put the joy of playing back into your performance.
6. Close your quality gap between what you can do and actually do in performance.
- Wouldn't it be nice to show the world what you really are able to do? Everyone should hear what you hear in the practice room!
5. Learn how to get the gig!
- Isn't that one of the reasons you play? And, if you get paid for doing so, bonus!
4. Stop wasting time in the practice room
- We are a society of procrastinators~ learn how to use your time wisely and efficiently!
3. Learn how to get into your dream music school(s)
- Audition. The mere word can instill fear into even the most talented players. Learn how to prepare for the audition(s) of your life and "WOW" the powers that be!
2. See how you can get better faster than everyone else
- Just like our New Year's resolutions, we want instant gratification. While we cannot promise that, we CAN show you ways to get better faster than you have in the past. That might be better than a resolution!
1. Learn how to nail your next audition
- This one is for ALL performers! Whether you are auditioning for a seat in your ensemble, county, district or state festivals, youth symphonies, college auditions or a professional gig, we all could use tips on how to make the audition the best it can be~
Please visit Jeff's website, http://www.jeffnelsen.com/products/the-workshop for schedule and registration information.
We hope to see you this weekend!
Are you in need of the Fearless Performance Workshop? December 28 2013, 0 Comments
Have you seen the trailer for the movie "Grand Piano"?
If not, here is a link to the movie:
Much like Tom, the main character, we often find ourselves in a place of fear - fear of failure, fear of disapproval, or stage fright itself. You can overcome this! Register to be a participant in the Fearless Performance 2-day workshop with Jeff Nelsen being held at Siegfried's Call.
You can register here:
More details about the workshop can be found on our previous blog posts, and, on our Facebook page.
We hope to see you there!
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