Charles Kavalovski

kavalovskiCharles (Chuck) Kavalovski retired in 1997 after serving as principal horn in the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. He won this position with an unusual background for a horn player – a PhD and career in nuclear physics, and playing only in chamber ensembles and community orchestras. While teaching nuclear physics, he decided he wanted to see what he could do for a career as a horn player, so he took and won several auditions for principal horn. He played first horn in Denver for a year, during which results from other auditions came in, including first horn in the Boston Symphony, the position he took the following season.

Chuck was born in 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the oldest of five children of Polish immigrants who wanted to give their children an education and musical training. His mother insisted he take piano lessons, which he hated. When he entered high school, his mother bought a Pan American single F horn and said that if he played the horn, he could quit the piano.

His college education led to a master’s degree in mathematics and another in business administration, plus a PhD in nuclear physics. Music was primarily a hobby, but he studied privately with the successive principal horns of the Minnesota Orchestra: Waldemar Linder, Christopher Leuba, and Robert Elworthy. In fact, he found a high correlation between science and music, and he and his colleagues in the Physics Department formed a wind quintet.

Chuck was on the physics faculties of the University of Washington in Seattle, University of Lowell in Massachusetts, now the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (while doing research at MIT), and Eastern Washington State College in Spokane. He has taught horn at Boston University and the University of Minnesota. He recommends a daily routine for all players, including spending time on fundamentals, starting every day learning to play the instrument over again so that technique does not deteriorate.

"I've been lucky to have two careers," he comments. "In this day and age, you have to specialize. I loved physics, but I also wanted to play the horn. Fortunately, I've been able to do both." He is also lucky, he says, "to have had the best horn job in the US." The BSO has the best hall, good management/orchestra relations (no strikes), and Ozawa was flexible with scheduling. Chuck had a say in hiring everyone in the section, and they were great colleagues. Boston is the "easiest large city to live in," the orchestra has summers at Tanglewood, and Chuck particularly appreciated the BSO Chamber Players, a unique arrangement for the first chair players, who don't play Pops. Boston also has a wonderful tradition of a public attitude that respects musicians as much as it does, for example, physicists.

Chuck has always been disciplined in his practicing, studying, work, and taking care of himself. He advises his students to train, physically, like an athlete. Because he had no formal musical education, his real training began on the job in Boston. He listened carefully to his colleagues in the orchestra and benefited from manuals written for Olympic and professional athletes. He values the ability to “focus on the passage in question while I’m playing it – note by note, so intently that everything else is shut out.”

Discipline helped Chuck recover from a serious fall off the roof of his house, landing on his head. He has no long-term effects, but for several months he was physically debilitated and could not move much. He pushed his recovery, walking before he was supposed to be out of bed, for example, starting slowly on the horn but then increasing his pace.

The BSO audition committee members were not sure they wanted to hire someone with a degree in nuclear physics and not much orchestral experience. They asked him to sight-read something and he responded that, if he won the job, he would never be sight-reading for them. They let him take the piece, practice it for an hour, and return to play it. He began his BSO tenure at Tanglewood and practiced on his apartment balcony in the rain and sun during the weeks before the summer series to prepare himself for the weather. He explained that he won all the jobs he did and performed so well for years in the BSO because he knew how to study – he was an excellent student.

Since retiring from the BSO, Chuck recorded 14 CDs of Reicha quintets with the Westwood Wind Quintet, until back problems forced him to retire again.

Chuck most often played a Geyer, Kruspe, or Schmidt horn and sometimes a Paxman descant. When he retired he owned over 20 horns, explaining that one good violin cost more than that.

Chuck served on the IHS Advisory Council (1994-1997) and was a featured artist at several international workshops. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member at the International Horn Symposium in San Francisco in 2011. Interviews with him have appeared in the November 1976 and February 1998 issues of The Horn Call.

Anthony Halstead

halstead-2Anthony Halstead has been a leader in the period instrument movement as horn player, harpsichordist, scholar, advisor, and conductor. He is a teacher who has influenced many professionals and is a coach of amateur hornists and other musicians. As an inventive technician, he has developed a range of mouthpieces (with Tony Chidell) and other aids to better sound production.

Halstead was born in 1945 in Manchester, England, attending Chetham’s School and the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he studied piano, horn, organ, and composition. At the suggestion of his horn teacher, Sydney Coulston, Halstead specialized in horn. He was principal horn in the BBC Scottish Symphony in 1966, later a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and first horn in the English Chamber Orchestra (1973-1986). It was during his tenure with the ECO that he became interested in the natural horn.

Halstead recalls a lecture-recital with Barry Tuckwell and Horace Fitzpatrick (author of The Horn and Horn Playing and the Austro-Bohemian Tradition from 1680-1830). Tuckwell played a fragment of a Mozart concerto or the Beethoven sonata on the modern horn, and then Fitzpatrick played the same passage on the natural horn. "I was utterly fascinated and charmed by the range of color," says Halstead, "as well as the appropriateness of the use of the stopped notes to either enhance a musical phrase or to bring some dramatic point to life."

halstead-1After leaving college, Halstead took several lessons with Horace Fitzpatrick and Myron Bloom. He also studied harpsichord with George Malcolm and conducting with Michael Rose and Sir Charles Mackerras.

His first public performances on natural horn occurred in 1973: the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and the Telemann Concerto a tré for horn and recorder. He played on a Paxman hand horn (basically a modern horn with the valves removed) with the orchestra all on modern instruments. He has since been associated with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and especially Hanover Band, has taught at the Guildhall School of Music, and is active as a private teacher and in the British Horn Society.

Halstead's work as a conductor in the period-instrument movement takes him to modern orchestras whose players, using conventional instruments, wish to develop a stylistic awareness of authentic practice in the baroque, classical, and romantic eras. He has a special empathy with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, and the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra.

Halstead made his first solo CD in 1986, recording Weber’s Concertino on the natural horn with the Hanover Band for Nimbus. This been re-released. Halstead completed a seven-year project with the Hanover Band, recording on 22 CDs all the orchestral music of J.C. Bach and playing solo harpsichord or fortepiano in the 27 keyboard concertos, directing the orchestra from the keyboard.

Other solo CDs include the Concertos of Joseph and Michael Haydn, and two separate recordings, six years apart, of the Mozart concertos, with the Hanover Band and the Academy of Ancient Music. On the modern horn he has recorded the Britten Serenade with American tenor Jerry Hadley.

Halstead was elected an Honorary Member at the 2010 IHS Symposium in Brisbane, Australia. He is also an Honorary Member of the British Horn Society. Paul Austin interviewed him in the February 1996 issue of The Horn Call.

Myron Bloom (1926-2019)

Photo by Peter Hastings, Cleveland Orchestra

Myron Bloom was a distinguished performer and teacher, known particularly for his tenure as principal horn with the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. He was professor of music at Indiana University from 1985 until his death.

Bloom attended a concert with his parents at age 12, under protest, with no interest in music, and walked out of the concert featuring Emanuel Feuermann playing the cello knowing that he wanted his life to be in music. All his life, he was imitating Feuermann and Casals, and his true love was the cello. However, Myron's father encouraged him to play the horn as the war was coming and he needed to get in a band or be shipped to Japan. Myron first began on trumpet, then studied horn with Marty Morris (Cleveland Orchestra), who later was in the section with Myron.

Myron studied with Arkady Yegudkin at Eastman for one year, then went to New York to study with James Chambers. He played in the Navy Band in Great Lakes, Illinois during the war, where he met cellist Frank Miller (always the cello link!).

Bloom was principal horn in the New Orleans Symphony (1949-1954) before joining the Cleveland Orchestra (1954-1977). In 1977 he was principal horn of the Casals Festival Orchestra in Puerto Rico and then at the invitation of Daniel Barenboim became principal horn of the Orchestre de Paris (1977-1985).

In addition to his teaching at Indiana University, Bloom has taught at the Curtis Institute (1982-2001), Carnegie Mellon University (1993-2001), Cleveland Institute of Music (1961-1977), Oberlin Conservatory, Juilliard School of Music, Boston University, and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Music de Paris.

Bloom has been a member of the Marlboro Music Festival from its inception. He has been a jury member at the International Geneva Horn Competition and juries in Canada. He has performed with the Budapest Quartet. His recordings include Strauss Concerto No. 1 with Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, Schubert's Auf dem Strom and the Brahms Trio, along with Cleveland Orchestra and Marlboro Music Festival recordings. He influenced the design of Hans Hoyer horns and Houser mouthpiece rims.

Bloom received the Punto Award at the IHS symposium in Bloomington IN in 2003 and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2014.

Michael Höltzel (1936-2017)

hoeltzel.jpgMichael Höltzel is a soloist, an orchestral and chamber music artist, a conductor, and an influential teacher. He has also established a number of chamber music ensembles and symposiums.

Höltzel was born in 1936 in Tübingen, Germany. After high school, he studied horn and viola at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, completing his studies in horn and conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He was solo horn with the Camerata Academica in Salzburg, the Orchestra Palazzo Pitti Florence, the Bamberg Symphony, and the Munich Philharmonic.

His studies included the wind chamber music class of clarinettist Philip Dreisbach in Stuttgart, where he also benefited from musical lessons with Hans Köhler, violist with the Wendling Quartett. In Salzburg he learned Mozart from Bernhard Paumgartner, president of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and of the Salzburg Festival and conductor of the Camerata Academica. As a result of these studies, Höltzel founded and directed the Wind Ensemble of the Bamberg Symphony.

In the summer of 1970, Höltzel wanted to study with Philip Farkas at Indiana University. After Farkas and Dean Bain had listened to the audition tape (Haydn's first horn concerto with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra), they refused Höltzel as a student, but hired him as a visiting teacher instead.

In 1972, Höltzel was soloist and conductor of the Mozart four concertos and Concert Rondo with the Camerata Academica Salzburg, after which the orchestra offered him the position of principal conductor (until 1975).

Höltzel has been professor of horn and chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold (1973-1999), Indiana University (1970-71, 1975-76, 1980-81, 2005-06), and currently at the Hochschule für Musik and Theater Rostock as well as the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen. He has conducted numerous chamber music courses (Salzburg, Bloomington, Weimar, Bobbio, Tokyo, Bologna, etc.).

Many of Höltzel's former students have become award winners and play in major symphony orchestras: Radovan Vlatkovic, Eric Terwilliger, Daniel Katzen, Bruno Schneider, Esa Tapani, Alessio Allegrini, and others.

Höltzel appears frequently as guest conductor with various symphony and chamber orchestras, and with ensembles such as the Piccola Academia di Roma, the Wind Academy Sachsen in Chemnitz, the winds of the Hamburg Symphony, and the Radio-Symphony Orchestra Helsinki, Finland.

Höltzel has founded various chamber music ensembles, such as the Detmolder Hornisten, Gran Partita Detmold, and Detmolder Serenadenensemble. Several of his CDs have been issued by the MDG label, including Le Grand Sextuor by Dauprat with his Detmolder Hornisten and Romantic Music for Horn and Piano with Friedrich Wilhelm Schnurr.

In 1980, Höltzel hosted the First European Horn Symposium in Trossingen and in 1986 was host for the IHS Symposium in Detmold. Together with his wife, Petra Mendes, he organized the International Horn Festival 2000 in Detmold and is co-founder of the International Horntage that takes place every two years (established in 2002).

Höltzel's method for horn (Hohe Schule des Horns) has been published by Schott International in three volumes. The third volume, which was awarded a German Book Prize in 2001, is available in English asMastery of the French Horn: Technique and Musical Expression.

Höltzel has served on the IHS Advisory Council (1976-1982 and 1988-1991) and as Vice President (1978-1981). He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2009.

Randall Faust

Randall FaustHornist, composer, author, and professor, Randall Faust has contributed to the horn community both regionally, in Western Illinois, and internationally, through the IHS and other organizations. Randy has participated in many IHS symposiums and was host of the 2009 International Horn Symposium in Macomb IL.

Randy has been the horn professor at Western Illinois University since 1997, hornist of the Camerata Woodwind Quintet and LaMoine Brass Quintet, and host of the annual Western Illinois Horn Festival and annual BrassFest. He has participated in regional and international symposiums. His compositions, including Quartet for Four Horns in memory of Philip Farkas, are often heard on concerts and in recordings. He has produced an instructional DVD, How to Stop a Horn. He performs and records, including works of contemporary composers. Performance credits include broadcasts over Peach State Public Radio during 12 years as principal horn of the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony Orchestra and recording as a member of the Clarion Wind Symphony.

Randy was born in 1947 in Vermillion, South Dakota, into a musical family. He studied at Interlochen, Eastern Michigan University (BS 1972), Minnesota State University Mankato (MM 1973), and the University of Iowa (DMA 1980). His horn teachers have included Marvin Howe, John Berg, Marvin McCoy, Don Haddad, Eugene Wade, Orrin Olson, Paul Anderson, Michael Hatfield, Arnold Jacobs, and Helen Kotas Hirsch; his composition teachers were Rolf Scheurer, Warren Benson, Anthony Iannaccone, Peter Tod Lewis, and Donald Martin Jenni. He has taught at Shenandoah University (1973-1982) and Auburn University (1982-1997), and has been on the faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts for over two decades. In 2006 he recorded Fantasies on American Themes, a CD of compositions by William Presser.

Randy’s articles and reviews have appeared in The Horn Call since 1980. He chronicled the work of his teacher, IHS Honorary Member Marvin Howe, in a 1996 Horn Call article “Marvin Howe, Singer of Smooth Melodies,” in his edition of Marvin Howe's The Singing Hornist (2001), an ongoing series of instructional videos, and in a lecture/performance involving many former Howe students at the 2016 International Horn Symposium.

Randy’s compositions have been performed at the International Trumpet Guild, the International Trombone Association, the National Gallery of Art, and the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall and have been the subject of several doctoral dissertations. His music has been recorded on Albany Records, MSR Classics, Crystal Records, Summit Records, and ACA Digital Recordings by artists such as The Palisades Virtuosi, Andrew Pelletier, David Griffin, Ralph Lockwood, Steven Gross, Michael Hatfield, Randy Gardner, David Krehbiel, and Douglas Hill. He and his wife, Sharon, have been publishing his compositions through Faust Music since 1974.

In addition to his activities with the IHS, Randy has been president of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (1992-1994) and has served as Interim Chair of the Western Illinois Department of Music. He has been honored by the Western Illinois University Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi as its Outstanding Artist for 2004 and in 2006 and 2010 by the College of Fine Arts and Communication with its Creative Activity Award. He has received the ASCAP Award in annually since 1990 and the Orpheus Award from The Auburn University Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity in 1987.

Randy has served on the IHS Advisory Council (1984-1990), as Secretary-Treasurer (1986-1987), President (1987–1990), Music Review Editor for The Horn Call (1981-1990), and Composition Contest Coordinator since 2013. He received the Punto Award in 2009 and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2016.

Frank Lloyd

lloyd.jpgFrank Lloyd is renowned for his technical virtuosity, his musicality, and his willingness to share his expertise. Among many memorable performances at IHS symposiums are Paganini Caprices (with David Pyatt) at Tallahassee in 1993, the Britten Serenade at Tuscaloosa in 2005, and the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor at several symposiums (2006-2008).

Frank was born in Cornwall in 1952 and began his musical career on the trombone in his school brass band at the age of 13. At 16, he left school to join the Royal Marine Band Service and was subsequently changed to the horn.

On leaving the Royal Marines in 1975, Frank went to study with Ifor James at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Soon after starting, however, he was offered the post of principal horn with the Scottish National Orchestra (now The Royal Scottish Orchestra), where he remained until 1979. He returned to London to take up a post with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and soon after that became a member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, the Nash Ensemble, and the English Chamber Orchestra.

Frank has been on the faculty of the Guildhall School of Music, Trinity School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and, since 1998, Professor for Horn at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany, following in the footsteps of the legendary Herman Baumann after Baumann's early retirement. He has toured the world as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician and has recorded much of the horn solo and chamber literature.

Frank is an Honorary Member of the British Horn Society and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. He has served on the IHS Advisory Council (2000-2006) and as President (2004-2006). He was elected an Honorary Member in 2009.

For more information on Frank's life and career, see his website .

Ethel Merker (1923-2012)

kem1.jpgKathryn Ethel Merker has been a pioneer as a woman in what at the time was a man's world of professional music. She has played with major orchestras, in sessions with recording artists, shows, and jingles and has taught at several universities. The diversity of her work is astounding. She helped design the Holton Merker-Matic horn and has been a clinician and spokesperson for Holton, now Conn-Selmer.

She studied piano first, then and started playing horn in the third grade. She studied with Max Pottag through high school and then at Northwestern University, where she earned BME (1946) and MM (1947) degrees. She free-lanced in Chicago and was principal horn in the Chicago NBC Radio Orchestra (1941-50), where she was the only woman and one of the youngest members.

In the late 1950s, Ethel Merker bought her "umpteenth" Geyer horn. In this picture, she is trying it out under the watchful eyes of the maker.

Ethel has also played with the Chicago Symphony, Chicago Pops, Chicago Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Berlin Radio Orchestra, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, and the Boston Pops, and in shows in Las Vegas.

Ethel has recorded with the Jackson Five, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, John Denver, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Mimi Hines, Ramsey Lewis, Curtis Mayfield, the Smothers Brothers, and Quincy Jones. Peggy Lee insisted on having Ethel in her orchestra and Johnny Mathis called her his favorite horn player. At the Universal Studios in Chicago, a set-up called the Ethel Merker Flying Wedge put Ethel in front, with two trombones, three trumpets, four woodwinds, five rhythm, six violins, and seven low strings. Jingles include Marlboro, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Budweiser, and United Airlines.

She has been on the faculty of Indiana University, DePaul University, Vandercook College of Music (Chicago), Northwestern University, and Valparaiso University. Students include Dan Phillips, Randy Gardner, Herbert Winslow, Jack Dressler, Eric Terwillinger, and Oto Carillo. Ethel believes in exposing students to all types of music. Vandercook College conferred an honorary Doctor of Music degree on her in 1995.

Ethel was a colleague of Philip Farkas, assisting him in the Chicago Symphony on many occasions. They often discussed horns and horn design, and Farkas took her along to the Holton Elkhorn, WI factory to play and listen to the horns he was developing. In 1995 the owner of Holton, Vito Pascucci, asked Ethel to help produce a new horn design. Ethel worked with engineer Larry Ramirez to develop the Merker-Matic.

Ethel has participated in horn workshops and symposiums as a Holton clinician. She was presented with the International Women's Brass Conference Pioneer Recognition Award in 2001 and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2009.

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