Adriaan van Woudenberg
Adriaan van Woudenberg was the solo hornist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for 41 years and also the hornist in the Danzi Wind Quintet, one of the most highly regarded quintets active in the 1960s and 1970s. He was also an exponent of the natural horn.
Woudenberg was born in 1925 in Amsterdam and studied horn at the Conservatory there with Richard Sell. In 1943 he won a position in the Concertgebouw Orchestra and was promoted to solo horn in his second year, a position he held until 1985.During his tenure in the orchestra, he devised the system of co-principals that has become standard throughout the world.
Woudenberg made many recordings with both the orchestra and the quintet and collaborated with Hermann Baumann in recordings of natural horn. Many composers wrote works for the quintet, including Rob du Bois, Peter Schat, Ton de Leeuv, Misha Mengelberg, and Josef Tal.
Woudenberg has taught at the conservatories of Maastricht, Tilburg, and the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. His students include Fergus McWilliam, Sören Hermannson, Peter Steinmann, and Herman Jeurisson.
Woudenberg was elected an IHS Honorary Member at the symposium in London in 2014.
Phil Myers, a native of Elkart, Indiana, has been principal horn of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra since 1980 and a member of the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet. He frequently solos with the orchestra and and at other venues and has recorded as soloist and with members of the horn section.
Phil started piano at age 8 and horn at age 9. He studied with Frank Brouk and Dale Clevenger, then with Forrest Standley at Carnegie Mellon University (on Clevenger’s recommendation). He was principal horn of the Atlantic Symphony in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1971-1974), third horn with the Pittsburgh Symphony (1974-1977), and principal horn of the Minnesota Orchestra (1978-1980) before joining the New York Philharmonic. Dennis Brain and Myron Bloom were early influences.
Phil is currently a faculty member at Mannes College, New York University, and the University of Music Lausanne in Fribourg, Switzerland. At one point he owned 17 instruments; currently three or four. He was known for playing Conn 8Ds for years, but later switched to an Engelbert Schmid triple horn.
Phil was elected an Honorary Member in 2014 at the IHS Symposium in London, where he and the New York Philharmonic horn section performed a recital and the Schumann Konzertstück.
Lowell Greer (1950-2022)
Lowell Greer holds a unique place among the hornists of his generation. Known for his musicianship and versatility with or without valves, he has received critical acclaim and international recognition as an orchestral hornist, chamber musician, soloist, educator, and horn maker.
A Wisconsin native, Lowell began violin studies at age 4 and took up horn at age 12 due to a hand injury. His parents, both college professors, changed jobs several times, so Lowell had many horn teachers, the most notable being Ernani Angelucci of the Cleveland Orchestra. Lowell returned to Wisconsin to study with John Barrows at the University of Wisconsin and then pursued studies in Chicago with Helen Kotas, Frank Brouk, Dale Clevenger, and Ethel Merker. While in Chicago, he freelanced extensively, performing with the Chicago Civic Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, shows, recordings, and as extra horn with both the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphonies.
Lowell joined the Detroit Symphony in 1972 as assistant principal. In 1978, he accepted the position of principal horn of the Mexico City Philharmonic and began to pursue his solo career. In 1980, he moved to Europe to better pursue his natural horn interests, and performed in Belgium as guest principal horn of the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He returned to the US in 1984, where he served as principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony until 1986. He also performed as principal of the Toledo Symphony from 1990-1997.
During this time, he won seven first prizes at six prestigious international horn competitions: Heldenleben (1977), Gian Battista Viotti, Vercelli (1978), Hubertus Jaachthoornfestival (1979), SACEM, Paris (1981), Jacques-Francois Gallay (1981), and American (1983, 1984).
As a soloist, Lowell performed on natural and modern horn with some fifty orchestras in the US, Canada, Mexico, and across Europe, not to mention his appearances at numerous chamber music venues. His extensive discography includes four CDs on Harmonium Mundi, including the Mozart Horn Concertos and Quintet, Brahms Horn Trio, and the Beethoven Sonata on natural horn, and a recording for Decca L’oiseau Lyre of the entire music of Mozart for winds performed on original instruments.
A dedicated scholar and educator, Lowell taught at Wheaton College, Oakland University, Interlochen Arts Academy, the School for Perfection in Mexico City, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, and at the Carl Neilsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. An acclaimed expert on natural horn performance, his research led him to become a maker of fine reproductions of classic instruments, and he taught a course in natural horn building techniques at the William Cummings House starting in 1994.
Lowell was honored with the Punto Award at the 2008 International Horn Symposium in Denver, where he led his natural horn group, the Hunting Horns of General Washington. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2014 at the symposium in London.
Nancy Jordan Fako
Nancy Jordan Fako (born 1942) became a member of the Chicago Symphony in 1964, the first female horn player in a major orchestra since Helen Kotas left the Chicago Symphony in 1948. She was also a mainstay of the IHS in its early years, becoming Secretary-Treasurer and handling correspondence and records, all without the aid of computerization until 1976 or of an executive secretary until 1979. The IHS is incorporated in Illinois because it was Nancy’s residence. She served four terms on the Advisory Council (1974–1981 and 2000–2008) and was secretary-treasurer in 1974-77 and 2000-2008.
Nancy studied with Philip Farkas in high school and at Indiana University, collaborated with him on The Art of Brass Playing, remained a close friend and colleague throughout his life, and after his death (at the request of his widow) wrote a biography, Philip Farkas & His Horn: A Happy, Worthwhile Life (Crescent Park Music Publications, 1998).
In addition to the Chicago Symphony, Nancy has been a member of the Houston Symphony, the Florida Symphony, and the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra. She was principal horn in the Florida Symphony at age 20, the first female brass player in the Houston Symphony at age 21, and a member of the Chicago Symphony at age 22.
Nancy is now a freelance horn player and teacher. She plays the alphorn at many festivals, including taking part in the Alpenfest in Gaylord, Michigan for over 25 years. She has contributed to professional journals (including The Horn Call) as a writer and as translator for several languages. She translated Daniel Bourgue's Conversations About the Horn from French to English.
Nancy received the Service Medal of Honor in 2012 and was elected an Honorary Member in 2016.
Gail 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.
Robert Paxman (1929-2011)
Bob received a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the
Musical Idustires Association in 2010.
Robert (Bob) Paxman, MBE transformed Paxman Music Instruments from a maker of various instruments to one devoted to horns.
Bob's father had established Paxman Musical Instruments – as the company is still known – as a maker of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments in 1919. Bob began working there when he was just 14 years old.
It was Bob Paxman’s partnership with an Australian horn player, Richard Merewether, that was to transform the company into one specializing in horns. Merewether arrived in England in 1950 with ideas about horn design – especially f-alto and F/f-alto horns. Paxman began producing instruments in line with Merewether’s philosophy, and the two men collaborated closely until Merewether died in 1985 – with around 50 designs to their joint credit.
Bob became Managing Director of the company in 1961. He introduced a number of important improvements to horn design, including the dual-bore system for full double horns, the dual bore system for double descant horns, triple bore horns, and lighter weight titanium valves. In 1993 Bob was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and received his award from the Queen – the citation said the award was “in recognition of his services to the musical instrument industry.”
A modest and private man with a quiet, dry wit, Bob remained actively involved in horn design and was constantly looking to make design improvements. As recently as November 2010 – some time after his retirement as Managing Director - Bob was awarded a life time achievement award from the Musical Industries Association.
Bob was elected an IHS Honorary Membership posthumously in 2012.
Radovan Vlatković (born 1962) is widely considered to be one of the world's most exceptional horn players. He grew up in Zagreb, Croatia and studied with Prerad Detiček at the Zagreb Academy of Music and Michael Höltzel at the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. He was principal horn of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (1982-1990), a post he left to devote himself to a solo career. He has been professor of horn at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria since 1998 and also teaches at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid. Radovan is a senior artist at the Marlboro Music Festival and has performed in chamber music and solo recitals for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
As a student Radovan already won prizes at the International Horn Competition in Liége, Belgium, at the 12th Yugoslavian Music Competition, and at the International Competition "Premo Ancona" in Italy. Especially noteworthy was First Prize at the ARD International Competition in Munich in 1983; the prize had not been awarded to a horn player in 14 years.
As soloist Radovan has travelled most of the European continent, America, Canada, Mexico, Israel, the Near East, East Africa, Japan, and Australia. Among his appearances he played with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Camerata Academica des Mozarteums, in Japan with the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, and at IHS symposiums. He was Artistic Director of the September Chamber Music Festival in Maribor, Slovenia (2000-2003).
Radovan has an especially wide repertoire, reaching from the Ba roque to the 20th century. He has recorded for EMI Classics, with the English Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate, all the concertos by Mozart and Strauss. His recording of the Mozart concertos was awarded the German Recording Critics Prize. He received the Croatian Porin Award for his Life's Work in 2012 and the IHS Honorary Membership in 2013.