Fourth Northeast Horn Workshop

by Jim Freund, The Horn Call, August 2001

Daniel Grabois hosted the fourth annual Northeast Horn Workshop at Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, on the weekend of March 23-25, 2001. An impressive program of concerts, demonstrations, lectures, clinics, and master classes explored many facets of horn playing. Participants came from all over New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to listen and perform. Representatives from Brass Arts, Dillon, Osmun, Pope, Puna, Rayburn, Wind Music, and Woodwind and Brasswind offered music, instruments, and accessories.

The weekend started off with a joint concert by Boston Horns (Jean Rife, Pedja Ivanovic, Ken Pope, Kevin Owen, and David Ohanian) and jazz hornist John Clark with guests Mike Holober, piano, and Peter Herbert, bass. Boston Horns performed music from Bach to Basler and Hindemith. John Clark gave us "Mostly Ballads" including My Funny Valentine, and Body and Soul. On Saturday, participants were treated to a performance of the Top Brass, a group of delightful young horn players in grades 7 through 12 who performed works by Kabalevsky, Vincze, and Shaw. Director Dolores Beck-Schwartz explained the rewards of working with these talented young people. A joint concert on Saturday evening featured Tony Cecere, New York free-lancer, Joe Anderer of the Metropolitan Opera and St. Luke's Orchestra, and Jean Rife, noted interpreter of contemporary music, in works mostly from the second half of the twentieth century.

The workshop offered more than just recitals. Hartt faculty member Sue Spaulding presented a clinic on "Teaching Young Beginners". Daniel Grabois spoke about concentrating on the music you are playing rather than how you are making the sounds. Jean Rife presented "Yoga for Horn Players". University of Louisiana faculty member Catherine Roche-Wallace lectured on the origin of the horn and works by F. A. Rosetti. Al Spanjer, second horn in the New York Philharmonic, demonstrated the Alexander Technique, a process that teaches improved use of the body and helps reduce stress and fatigue. Dan Sweeley, second horn with the Buffalo Philharmonic, gave us valuable information on how to prepare for an audition with a symphony orchestra.

Some presentations were part performance and part lecture. Julie Landsman, Principal Horn of the Metropolitan Opera, presented a concert/ masterclass with four students giving us all valuable insight into daily exercises, mostly from Carmine Caruso's method. Dr. Douglas Lundeen of Rutgers University, assisted by three of his students, performed and lectured on "Some Thoughts on Bel Canto Approach to Horn Playing".

The student competition winners, Carolyn Landis (Juilliard), Louis Schwadron (Juillard), and Juliann Welch (Albany high school) gave marvelous performances. They were followed by a mass horn choir under the baton of Daniel Grabois performing works by Bach, Handel, and Wagner. More than forty attendees, plus one of the featured artists, participated in the choir, one of the most popular events of the workshop, which was warmly received by everyone not on stage. The weekend was brought to a close with a concert by the New York Philharmonic horn section, Phil Myers, Al Spanjer, Erik Ralske, and Howard Wall, which included some unusual works for horn quartet and a pop quiz on multiple horn orchestral excerpts. The phenomenal playing of the section coupled with the informal style of Mr. Myers was a delightful ending to a very rewarding weekend.

The following photos were taken by Jim Freund, except the choir photo, which was taken by Dick Ayers.

Click on a picture for a larger view!

Al Spanjer/Dan Grabois Julie Landsman Mass choir rehearsal
Phil Myers Tony Cecere Carolyn Landis

To report of 2000 Northeast Horn Workshop

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