Gail Williams

gwilliamsGail Williams is admired for her tenure at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, her teaching at Northwestern University and at many clinics and workshops around the world, her solo and ensemble playing, and her support of new music.

Gail grew up on a farm in a musical family. Her mother studied percussion and viola; her brother, clarinet. Gail studied with Jack Covert at Ithaca College, then earned a master's degree at Northwestern University and performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago for four years before winning the audition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1978. She was assistant principal until winning the position of associate principal in 1984, where she remained until retiring in 1998.

Gail teaches at Northwestern University (since 1989), gives master classes at innumerable conservatories and workshops, is horn soloist with major orchestras, and is dedicated to performing chamber music. In 2001, 2005, and 2009, she has served as a judge for the Horn Solo Competition in Porcia, Italy and has coached young brass musicians with Summit Brass since 1986. She has been on the faculty of the Swiss Brass Week in Leukerbad, Switzerland for several years. Her music education degree and playing experience come together in her current teaching.

Gail is principal horn with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and was principal horn with the Saito Kenin Orchestra in Japan in 2004 and the World Orchestra for Peace in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009.

Gail has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, New World Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, and a number of regional orchestras.

Gail is a founding member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and Summit Brass. She has performed with the Vermeer Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Skaneateles Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Olympic Peninsula Chamber Festival, and she was the featured artist on a chamber music series in Ottawa, Canada with the National Arts Orchestra of Canada.

Gail is active in commissioning projects and has premiered new works by Dana Wilson, Anthony Plog, Oliver Knussen, Yehudi Wyner, Collins Matthews, and others. In 1995, she premiered Deep Remembering by Dana Wilson and Anthony Plog’s Postcards at the International Horn Society Workshop in Yamagata, Japan. In 1997, she premiered Dana Wilson’s Horn Concerto with the Syracuse Symphony. A year later, she performed the Knussen Horn Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Knussen. She helped commission Yehudi Wyner’s Horntrio, and was involved in the orchestration of Dragons in the Sky by Mark Schultz. She premiered another horn and piano work by Dana Wilson, Musings, in 2003 and performed the US premiere of a concerto for Horn and Orchestra by Collins Matthews at Northwestern University in June of 2005.

Gail can be heard on recordings from Summit Brass, including solo recordings 20th Century Settings and Deep Remembering, and Northwestern University’s Goddess Triology, featuring compositions by John McCabe and works for horn and percussion by Charles Taylor and Alec Wilder. A CD with the Chicago Chamber Musicians was nominated for a Grammy award.

Gail has been honored by Ithaca College with a Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate. She received the Charles Deering McCormick Teaching Professorship at Northwestern University in 2005, which allowed her to commission and performed new chamber works by Douglas Hill, Dana Wilson, and Augusta Reed Thomas. She was a member of the IHS Advisory Council (1997-2000), received the Punto award in 2008, and was elected an Honorary Member is 2012.

In October 2021, Anthony Plog interviewed Gail for his podcast, which can be heard here.

Vicente Zarzo (1938-2021)

zarzoVincente Zarzo Pitarch was a Spanish horn player who performed and taught in many parts of the world, but especially in Spain, Mexico, and the Netherlands, and wrote horn etudes and books on the history of the horn.

Zarzo was born in 1938 in Benaguacil, Valencia and studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música Joaquin Rodrigo in Valencia and later with Hans Noeth in Munich, Germany.

Zarzo had positions as solo horn with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica del Gran Teatro del Liceo de Barcelona, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the American Wind Symphony of Pittsburg, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and for 25 years with the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, Netherlands. As a soloist, he performed with the Orquesta Municipal de Valencia, Orquesta de Valladolid, Orquesta de Oviedo, Orquesta de Tenerife, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica de Port (Portugal), Philharmonic Orchestra of Groningen (Netherlands), Orquesta Nacional de México, National Orchstra of Reykjavik (Iceland), and others.

Zarzo was professor of horn and natural horn at the University of Mexico, the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and at the Conservatoire de Musique in Montreux, Switzerland. He was a guest professor at Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de Valencia, Conservatorio Superior del Liceo in Barcelona, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance of the Balearic Islands (Palma, Mallorca). He recorded the Brahms Horn Trio, the Hindemith concertos, works of Amando Blanquer, and the Mozart Quintet K452 with Radu Lupu (nominated for the Grand Prix du Disc).

Composers who have written works especially for Zarzo include Wim Laman (Quaterni II), Jan Van Vlijmen (Confronti horn concerto), Hans Henkemans (Concert), Paul de Ro, Eduardo Mata (Sinfónica No. 3), and Amando Blanquer (Sonata and Concierto para 4 trompas y orquesta).

Zarzo was honored with the Punto award at the 2004 International Horn Symposium in Valencia, Spain. In the same year, the Valencia Academy of Music appointed him as “Insigne de la Musica of Valencia.” A street in central Granada, Andalusia, Spain is named for him: Calle Músico Vicente Zarzo. He wrote an article about his collection of horns for the February 1995 issue of The Horn Call. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2020.

Image by JuanMartinezRodriguez / CC BY-SA

Tom Varner

tom varnerTom Varner is known as one of the top living pioneers of jazz and improvisation on the horn, an inventive and passionate composer for his various ensembles, and an authority on jazz horn history and repertoire.

Tom was born in 1957 and grew up in New Jersey, and studied piano with Capitola Dickerson. He started playing horn in fourth grade, choosing it from a photo. He started taking private lessons during his freshman year of high school, concentrating on classical music. When he got interested in jazz, he thought he would have to listen to it but never be able to play it because of his instrument until a friend introduced him to a Thelonius Monk record with a horn solo (by Julius Watkins). Tom played in school and community orchestras, but also the school jazz big band. He studied briefly in 1976 with jazz horn pioneer Julius Watkins, gaining confidence that playing jazz on the horn was possible.

Tom studied for two years at Oberlin College, then transferred to the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston), where he studied horn with Thomas Newell and jazz improvisation and composition with Ran Blake, George Russell, and Jaki Byard and earned a BM in 1979. He holds an MA (2005) from the City College of New York, where he studied with Jim McNeely, Scott Reeves, and John Patitucci. Tom lived in New York City for 26 years, moving to Seattle in 2005.

Tom appears on more than 70 albums and has recorded 14 albums as a composer/leader. He has been in the Down Beat Critics Poll Top Ten annually since the mid-1990s and has been awarded grants from the Jack Straw Foundation, Seattle’s 4Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation, and has been a resident at the MacDowell, Blue Mountain, and Centrum arts colonies.

Sidemen on his albums as leader have included Steve Wilson, Tony Malaby, Ed Jackson, Ellery Eskelin, Tom Rainey, Cameron Brown, Drew Gress, Matt Wilson, Kenny Barron, Victor Lewis, Fred Hopkins, and Billy Hart. He has performed and recorded with Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, McCoy Tyner, the Mingus Orchestra, and many others. His influences include Ornette Coleman, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Anthony Braxton, Sonny Rollins, and minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. His first album featured horn, alto sax, bass, and drums. Later albums were for a quintet of horn, two saxes, bass, and drums, with frequent guest artists. Nine Surprises is for a nonet of three brass, four reeds, and bass and drums.

Many of Tom’s albums reflect both serious and humorous interest in religion, in particular the first century, the upheaval of the Roman Empire, the first 200 years of Christianity, and also Hollywood Bible movies. Although he grew up in New Jersey, his parents were both from a small town in Missouri, and Tom went to church every week growing up. Other influences are science and sci-fi, mythology and folklore, Americana and urban kitsch, James Brown and 20th-century music.

Tom is now Associate Professor of Music at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He has written articles on Julius Watkins and afterwards for The Horn Call (1988, 1989). While living in New York City, he organized the first Julius Watkins Jazz French Horn Festival, featuring himself, Mark Taylor, John Clark, and Vincent Chancey. He plays a Paxman 20M full double horn.

Tom was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2020.

Kazimierz Machala

MachalaKazKazimierz (Kaz) W. Machala, a native of Poland, is a performer, teacher, and composer. He is a truly international musician, having played and taught in Europe, Australia, and the US, and back to Poland as Visiting Professor of Horn at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, retiring in 2019. His compositions and arrangements have become staples of the horn literature.

Kaz grew up on a farm in central Poland, riding his bicycle through snow and mud with his accordion strapped to his back to get to music lessons. He also played drum, mandolin, two-string bass, and accordion in the village band. When he was in high school, an ethnomusicology professor heard him play accordion at a folklore competition and described the horn to him as the most noble instrument in the entire orchestra. Kaz took the advice seriously, but also played piano, guitar, and banjo to support himself while studying horn. He played banjo and piano in a Dixieland band – daring during the cold war – where he made his first attempts at composing. Acquaintance with Kirk Douglas at a film school in Lodz motivated Kaz to learn English.

Kaz studied at the Janáček Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Brno, Czech Republic (1968-1973), attracted by its long tradition of fine horn playing and unique warm horn sound. After graduation, he played in the Cracow Radio Symphony for one year, but he wanted to learn more about orchestral playing and in 1974 was accepted at Juilliard, where he was the first horn player in the school’s history to receive a DMA degree. He won Third Prize at the 1974 International Music Competition for Woodwinds and Brass in Prague.

Kaz was principal horn in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (1979-1986) and played in several chamber ensembles. He returned to the US to be closer to family and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1989-2009), now Professor Emeritus. Kaz has performed as a soloist, in various wind and brass ensembles, and with major orchestras. and has taught and performed at festivals in New Zealand, Europe, Canada, and the US. In teaching, he stresses good habits, a well-balanced playing efficiency.

Writing started with transcribing and arranging for chamber ensembles at his first teaching job. He first transcribed music of composers who didn’t write solo works for horn. He wrote for the Dixieland band, songs for a rock band, a film score for a student project in Sydney, and exercises for his students. He wrote a horn quartet for his students, which the American Horn Quartet included in their concert repertoire. His arrangement of the American Folk Suite for wind quintet has been performed and recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet. Transcribing and arranging has led to Kaz writing original compositions. He premiered his own Concerto for Horn, Winds, and Percussion with the Wind Symphony at the University of Illinois; it has received numerous performances on five continents. He received the Excellence in Composition Award at the International Brass Chamber Music Festival in Louisville, Kentucky for his Brass Quintet No. 1.

Since his retirement, Kaz has been composing and giving masterclasses. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2020.

Ib Lanzky-Otto (1940-2020)

ib2.jpgIb Lanzky-Otto is known for his masterful technique, musicality, and exemplary tone, displayed during his long tenure with the Stockholm Philharmonic.

Ib was born in 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His family lived in Iceland from 1946-1951 when his father, Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto (also an IHS Honorary Member), taught piano and horn at the Reykjavik Conservatory and was principal horn in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Ib began studying horn with his father at the age of 16, and continued his studies at the Stockholm Royal Academy from 1957, still studying with his father.

In 1958, Ib became a regular member of the Royal Opera Orchestra in Stockholm. In 1961, he became co-principal horn of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, where his father was principal. He auditioned behind a screen and without his father on the jury. When his father stepped down to fourth horn in 1967, Ib took over as principal horn. Ib considers these years together with his father to have been of invaluable experience to him in his development as a horn player. He retired from the orchestra in 2007.

Swedish composers Gunnar de Frummerie, Åke Hermansson, Yngve Skjöld, and Sixten Sylvan have written solos and concertos for Ib. Ib made a number of recordings, some with his father at the piano.

As a soloist, Ib has played in all of the Nordic countries, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Canada, and the US. While never maintaining a regular teaching position, he has nevertheless frequently taught at summer courses and masterclasses throughout Europe and America, including the Paris Conservatory and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Frøydis Ree Wekre, soloist and pedagogue in Oslo, studied with Ib’s father starting in 1961; she met Ib then and they were friends for the rest of his life, serving as competition jurists together and recording the Friedrich Kuhlau double concerto with the Odense Symphony Orchestra in 1990. She recalls Ib’s beautiful and virtuosic playing, his inventive composing, and his humorous practical jokes.

Ib often performed at IHS symposiums. He was a member of the Royal Music Academy of Sweden, and an honorary member of the Icelandic Horn Club, the Norwegian Horn Club, and the IHS (elected in 2005).

Michael Hatfield (1936-2020)

mhpic.jpgMichael Hatfield was an extraordinary musician and horn player, a dedicated and inspiring teacher, an admired and valued colleague, and an active member of the IHS.

Mike was a native of Indiana, born in 1936. He studied both trumpet and horn in his youth but also had early ambitions towards a career in the television industry as a producer or director. At Indiana University, he earned both the Bachelor of Science degree and the first Performer's Certificate in Horn granted by that institution under the tutelage of Verne Reynolds. He also studied with Christopher Leuba and Philip Farkas.

Upon graduation in 1958, Mike joined the Indianapolis Symphony as assistant principal horn, moving to third horn the next season. In 1961, he was appointed principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for the next 23 years. While in Cincinnati, Hatfield also served as Adjunct Professor and Chair of the Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion Division at the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, and was a member of the Cincinnati Woodwind Quintet with his principal colleagues from the Symphony. Summers he returned to Aspen where he played second horn to Philip Farkas in the Aspen Festival Orchestra from 1960-68. In 1972 he became co-principal of the orchestra and joined the faculty of the Festival, positions he would hold until 1989.

In 1984, Mike joined the faculty at Indiana University, replacing his former teacher, Philip Farkas, upon Farkas's retirement, and served as Chair of the Brass Department. In the summers he was also principal horn of the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the Grand Teton Festival Institute faculty and its Orchestra. He retired from IU with the title Professor Emeritus. In 2000, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Cormont Music where he offered input into the planning and execution of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp and its scholarship program.

Mike was a featured artist at the 1983 and 1985 IHS International Workshops, co-host of the 2003 symposium at Indiana University, served two terms on the Advisory Council (1999-2005), and was chair of the scholarship program. He was presented with the Punto Award in 2003 and elected an Honorary Member in 2006.

Barry Tuckwell (1931-2020)

tuckwell2.jpgBarry Tuckwell was the most recognizable name in solo horn playing in the latter half of the 20th century, but he was also revered as a conductor, educator, and author. He was present at the first horn workshops and was the first president of the IHS.

Barry was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1931 into a musical family. He learned organ, piano, and violin and had perfect pitch. He started playing horn at the suggestion of family friend Richard Merewether, who became his first horn teacher. At age 15, Barry joined the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as third horn, moving to Sydney a year later to study with Alan Mann at the Sydney Conservatorium and play assistant to Mann in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

In 1951, at age 19, Barry arrived in London. Over the next four years, he played in the Buxton Spa Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, and Bournemouth. In 1955 he became first horn of the London Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 13 years. He was also on the board of the orchestra and chairman of the board for six years.

Barry left the LSO in 1968 to pursue a free-lance solo career. He had already begun that type of work, so the transition was smooth. "If you are the principal in an orchestra, in a sense you are playing in public more, because you have to come to the rehearsals, which are not just yourself playing. The other thing is that if you are playing in an orchestra, you are actually playing more. If you're not in an orchestra, you to be very careful not to under-play. You have to actually practice more – you have to, otherwise your lips go, you lose all your strength. It's not easier – it's just another set of problems." Barry was the world's most recorded horn player and received three Grammy nominations. He formed a horn trio and a wind quintet with which he toured and recorded.


photo courtesy of Walter Hecht

Barry listed as inspirations Dennis Brain, Gottfried von Freiburg, Tommy Dorsey, the Chicago orchestra with Farkas, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He championed the double horn when the British tradition held to single horns, and he worked with Mark Veneklasen, Walter Lawson, and Holton in testing, analyzing, improving, and designing horns. He played the Holton Tuckwell Model 104 with a Lawson bell for his retirement concert in 1997. The Kruspe sound was his ideal.

Barry taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London for ten years, was artist-in-residents at Dartmouth and Pomona College, was a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and led the Tuckwell Institute for several summers in the US.

Barry inspired many composers, including Thea Musgrave, Gunther Schuller, Richard Rodney Bennett, Don Banks, and Oliver Knussen, who have written concertos or chamber music for him.

Barry founded the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in 1982 as its conductor, was chief conductor of Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and conducted many other orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and the Queensland Orchestra.

Major publications include:

Horn (Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides)
Fifty First Exercises for Horn
Playing the Horn; A Practical Guide
Great Performer's Editions
Mozart Concertos for Horn

In addition to serving as the first president of the IHS (1970-76), he served again as president from 1992-94, and then continued as a member of the Advisory Council until 1998. He was elected an Honorary Member in 1987. He was also Honorary President of the British Horn Society and a Patron of the Melbourne International Festival of Brass.

The Barry Tuckwell Scholarship was established with the IHS in 1997 to encourage and support worthy horn students to pursue education and performance by attending and participating in master classes and workshops anywhere in the world.

Barry was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1992. Among the many other awards he received were the Honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Sydney, Fellow of the Royal College of Music, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America, the Andrew White Medal from Loyola College, the Harriet Cohen Memorial Award, the JC Williamson Award, and the Bernard Heinze Award for outstanding contribution to music in Australia. He was also an Honorary member of both the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music in London. In 2007 Live Performance Australia presented him with the James Cassius Williamson Award for performing excellence.

The May 1997 issue of The Horn Call is devoted to Barry and includes a discography and bibliography.

Julian Christopher Leuba (1929-2019)

Being introduced as the newest Honorary Member
La Chaux-de-fonds, Switzerland, 2007

Chris Leuba is known as much for his pedagogical writing and lecturing and his many prominent students as for his distinguished and varied playing career. He taught at the Aspen and Chautauqua festivals, Portland State University, and most notably the University of Washington in Seattle. His publications include A Study of Musical Intonation (highly regarded as a seminal work for teaching the principles of just intonation to musicians),  Rules of the Game, Phrasing Concepts, and Dexterity Drills (all used by brass teachers around the country).

Chris was born in 1929 in Pittsburgh and later lived in Seattle. He started playing the horn during his senior year in high school, studied with Aubrey Brain and Philip Farkas, and served two terms in the United States Army (West Point and the English Midlands). He was a member of the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Orchestra), finally becoming principal horn, then served as principal horn with the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner during the 1960-1962 seasons. He has also appeared with the Philharmonica Hungarica under the direction of Antal Dorati.

As a student at Tanglewood in the 1940s

Additional indication of Chris's playing range is shown by his having performed fourteen complete Wagner Ring cycles as second horn in the Seattle Opera and appeared with Sarah Vaughn, Quincy Jones, and the Bill Russo big band. While teaching at the University of Washington (1968-1979), Chris was a member of the faculty wind quintet, Soni Ventorum, and participated in the university's Contemporary Group.

Chris was principal horn of the Portland Opera in Portland OR for 23 years and participated in IHS symposiums for many years. He became an IHS Honorary Member in 2007.

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