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)