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.

Frøydis Ree Wekre

froydis2.jpg"Through a long and distinguished career as one of the world's leading horn players, as a professor and celebrated cultural personality, Frøydis's work has been of tremendous value to the art of horn playing and its repertoire of contemporary music. Her distinctive tone and communicative abilities have captured audiences and composers all over the world, and numerous works have been written especially for her."

Frøydis Ree Wekre was born in 1941 in Oslo into a musical family. She studied piano and violin (playing in the Norwegian Broadcasting Junior Orchestra) before taking up horn at the age of 17, having become fascinated by the sound of the horn and the idea of having her own voice in the orchestra.

Her horn studies continued in Sweden, Russia, and the US. Her principal teachers were Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto and Vitali Bujanovsky. Frøydis first won a position with the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, then in 1961 she joined the Oslo Philharmonic and became co-principal in 1965. In 1991, she retired from the orchestra to be professor of horn and wind chamber music at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where she already held a part-time position.

Her role as a teacher has been important to Frøydis, and dozens of her students play in major orchestras around the world. She has been offered professorships in several countries. She received the Lindeman Prize in 1986 for her contributions as a teacher. With Nordic colleagues, she started the NORDHORNPED teaching group, whose activities include studying their own teaching on video. With Academy colleagues, she has been forging connections with music conservatories in the US.

Renowned as both teacher and performer, Frøydis has given master classes and workshops throughout Europe and North America. Her book On Playing the Horn Well has been translated into several languages, and she has contributed articles to various publications, including The Horn Call. Sometimes she demonstrates playing a scale with the main tuning slides pushed all the way in, then pulled all the way out; the scale is in tune at A=440 in both instances, showing that you can play in tune no matter the horn. She advocates practicing lip and mouthpiece buzzing while waiting for a bus, even if it might be considered a bit eccentric; "If people don't know you, it doesn't matter what they think of you, and if they do know you, well, then it's not a surprise."

Her CDs showcase her talents and include many works that have been dedicated to her or that she has commissioned, notably works by Andrea Clearfield and Norwegian composers such as Trygve Madsen and Wolfgang Plagge.

Frøydis is named after an Icelandic saga character; in the midst of war, her mother wanted to give her the name of a strong person. Her name is now instantly recognized in the horn world, and she prefers to be addressed by her given name.

In 1973, Frøydis sponsored IHS memberships for Peter Damm and Vitaly Bujanovsky, both of whom lived behind the Iron Curtain and were unable to send membership dues to the US. In 1976 the effort became formalized into the WestEast (WE) project (renamed the Friendship Project in 2000) to support members in countries where the economy or currency restrictions make regular memberships impossible.

Frøydis served on the IHS Advisory Council from 1974-1978 and 1993-2000 and as IHS President from 1998-2000, and she was appointed an IHS Honorary Member in 1994. She was co-host of the International Horn Symposium in Banff in 1998 and has participated in symposiums from the earliest days as performer, lecturer, and master, often humorous and always inspiring. She is famous for her whistling prowess, a highlight at otherwise business-like IHS General Meetings.

Walter Lawson (1923-2007)

lawson.jpgWalter Lawson is remembered for his warmth and caring as much as for the horns he built and repaired, and he led the way in research into what made horns sound beautiful. He contributed to the horn world in important ways and inspired many people with his energy, kindness, and creativity.

Lawson, the son of British parents, studied piano and horn as a youngster growing up in Binghamton NY. During World War II, he was a teletype mechanic for the Associated Press and served in the US Army Military Police and Signal Corps in the South Pacific. In 1947, he entered Peabody Conservatory, studying piano with Frederick Griesinger and horn with Jerry Knop and Ward Fearn. He was second horn in the Baltimore Symphony from 1949 to 1976. "He had an ability to match tone and intonation that was uncanny, and he made anyone he played with sound good and feel comfortable," says Bill Kendall, his lifelong friend, colleague in the Baltimore Symphony, and employee in the shop. "A true section player, he was always in 'support mode' on stage as well as off."

Lawson began working as an instrument repairman in 1949 at Ted's Musicians Shop and opened his own shop (Lawson Brass Instrument Repair Company) in 1956. His reputation as an expert repair technician and custom mouthpiece maker spread quickly, and many leading horn players sough his expertise and support. A fascination for improving horn mouthpieces led to his development of a mouthpiece kit with interchangeable rims, cups, throats, and back-bores that had over 12,000 possibilities! This allowed hornists to experiment and perfect a truly custom mouthpiece, which Walter would then produce. This led to studies of the lead-pipe, and by the early 1970s, Lawson was making custom pipes of his own design for installation on stock horns with great success. He then moved to investigating the properties of alloys and hardness of bell flares.

When he left the Baltimore Symphony, he moved to Boonsboro MD and in 1980 formed Lawson Brass Instruments with his sons Bruce, Duane, and Paul. Research and development of custom parts continued with modifications to existing instruments and production of the first Lawson horns in 1981. The Lawson Team continued to make acoustic and mechanical innovations, and the company thrived, producing many different models of double and descant horns as well as mouthpieces and custom parts.

The input of many professional players, including Barry Tuckwell (who lived nearby), was essential to their work, and Lawson equipment can now be found in the ranks of orchestras and on recital stages throughout the world, used by professionals, amateurs, and students alike. Walter Lawson retired in 2006 and the family sold the company to Kendall Betts, who carries on the Lawson tradition in New Hampshire.

Lawson exhibited his horns at international and regional workshops, often giving presentations that helped open communication between hornists and makers. He was a member of the IHS Advisory Council from 1977-1983 and elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2001. Tributes appear in the October 2007 issue of The Horn Call.

Paul Mansur (1926-2009)

mansur.jpgPaul Mansur has been dedicated to the horn, to education, and to the IHS. The success of The Horn Call and a scholarship in his name assure his legacy with the IHS.

Paul was born in Oklahoma in 1926 and began playing horn in the Wewoka High School Band. He graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy and entered the US Navy in 1944, serving in the Philippines. On discharge in 1946, he began studies in civil engineering at the University of Oklahoma, but then changed to music, completing degrees in theory and horn in 1951, followed by a master's degree in education from Arizona State College in 1953. After teaching in public schools for six years, he earned a doctorate in Music Education at the University of Oklahoma.

While working on his doctoral dissertation, Paul was Director of Music Therapy at Central State Griffin Memorial Hospital. "I count the experience as one of the best learning experiences and most satisfying job of my life along with being the poorest paid position of my career."

Paul began his 25 years at Southeast Oklahoma State University (SOSU) in Durant OK in 1969 as Chairman of the Music Department and retired in 1990 as Dean of the School of Arts and Letters; he is now Dean Emeritus.

Paul's playing experience includes the Oklahoma City Symphony (as an undergraduate), the Phoenix Symphony (as a master's student), and principal horn in the Sherman (TX) Symphony for 20 years while at SOSU (including transporting SOSU students).

During his years at SOSU, Paul was a representative to committees and conventions of the state association of college music departments, the Music Educators National Association, and the Jazz Educators Association. SOSU engaged in a thorough self-study and became an accredited full member of the National Association of Schools of Music during his tenure. He also preached for the Blue Church of Christ and later with the Utica congregation.

Paul has contributed immeasurably to the IHS since its inception. He served as the third Editor of The Horn Call for 17 years, from 1976 to 1993. During this era he was an ex-officio member of the Advisory Council and afterward served for two three-year terms as an Advisory Council member. From 1976 through 1999 he was the "corporate memory" of the IHS. In addition to his editorship, he contributed many articles to The Horn Call, including workshop reports, interviews, profiles, recording and book reviews, and the column "Mansur's Answers." He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2003.

Paul was further honored by the establishment of the Paul Mansur Scholarship, which provides opportunities for full-time students attending the IHS international symposium to receive a lesson from a world renowned artist or teacher (a featured artist or Advisory Council member) and a one-year IHS membership.

Paul and his wife, Norma, moved to Tennessee in 1995 to be near family.

Hans Pizka

pizka.jpgHans Pizka, because of his lifelong devotion to his art and his activities as ambassador through music, has been honored by the President of the Federal Republic of Austria with the honorary title of Professor. Hans is also associated with many performances of the Siegfried Long Call, and the photo was taken after one of his Long Call performances.

Hans was born in 1942 in Metz, Lorraine, France, the eldest son of horn professor Erich Pizka. His family roots go deep into Bavaria's Suebia province near Fuessen and Memmingen which was part of Austria then, and his mother's side goes back to the early 12th century in St. Hubert near Kempen, not far from Cologne and Duesseldorf, next to Cleve and Xanten. It is interesting to note that Xanten is the site of Wagner's Siegfried, and also there is a Maria Stich on his father's side of the family in Upper Austria, from central Bohemia in the early 18th century, the same century in which Johann Wenzel Stich (Giovanni Punto) was born.

Hans was educated at the Academic Gymnasium in Linz, Upper Austria, (a 450-year-old school) mainly by professors of the Jesuit tradition. A citizen of Austria, he speaks German, English, and Italian, understands and speaks other languages well enough to communicate (Spanish, some Japanese), and can read Greek and Thai (slowly). A scholar of history, he also can read the old-style Suetterlin German writings and the ancient French court writings of the 16th and 17th century. He began his musical education at age four on violin, and continued with viola and horn at age 9. His first horn teacher was his father, and later he continued his horn studies with Gottfried von Freiberg and Josef Veleba of the Vienna Philharmonic. His first public performance was at age 11, and he played his first horn concerto in front of a professional orchestra at 15.

His orchestral career led him from Linz (Bruckner Orchestra), to Duesseldorf as successor to Gerd Seifert, and to Munich as successor to Norbert Hauptmann. He held the "Franz Strauss Chair" as the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra's principal horn in Munich from 1967 to 2007, and is called as an extra player or to fill in as first horn with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has played under conductors Karajan, Boehm, Kleiber, Sawallisch, Mehta, Ozawa, Muti, Abbado, Kubelik, Bernstein, and many others, and he has been a frequent soloist in countries all over the world. Hans has been a concert soloist, author of several important horn-related books (Mozart and the Horn, Hornist Dictionary 1986, and Wagner and the Horn), lecturer, horn designer, horn collector, publisher of horn-related music, producer of compact discs, and an expert regarding nearly everything connected with the horn. He has published about 500 titles of music, most for or with horns. He has started a horn-making business under his own brand name, producing double horns and Viennese Pumpenhorns.

In 2002, Hans finished his sixth term on the Advisory Council (1982-95 and 1997-2002), having served the society in many capacities, including Vice President. He translated and published The Horn Call in German (Hornruf) from 1983-1994. Also in 2002, the IHS elected Hans an Honorary Member.

Valeriy Polekh (1918-2007)

polekh.jpgValeriy Vladimirovich Polekh was one of the leading Soviet horn players and teachers of his generation. He sang on his instrument, playing with lightness and mastery of technique. He led in the development of Soviet orchestral and solo wind playing and wrote magnificent pieces and exercises for the horn. He was known as an interpreter of the horn miniature.

Polekh was born in Moscow in 1918. Music was an important part of his family's life; he attended the Bolshoi as a child and played a balalaika at home. Polekh studied at the October Revolution Musical Technical School with Vasily Nickolaevich Solodyev and Anton Aleksandrovich Shetnikov, both members of the Bolshoi. In 1936 he played in the chamber theatre and gave his solo debut; the next year he studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Ferdinand Eckert, a Czech who had studied at the Prague Conservatory and settled in Moscow after a tour with an Austrian orchestra. The following year Polekh auditioned for the radio orchestra and became assistant principal. However, being drawn to opera, the next year he auditioned for the Bolshoi Theater and was accepted. The following year (1939), he began his compulsory service in the Red Army, playing in the Moscow army headquarters orchestra.

polekh3Polekh won the All-Soviet Union wind instrument solo competition in 1941 (while still in the army and on a borrowed horn), and in 1949 he won first prize at an international solo competition in Budapest when at a Festival of Youth and Students in Hungary with a Youth Symphonic Orchestra from Moscow.

Polekh was the inspiration for Gliere to write his concerto for horn, and Polekh gave the first performance in Leningrad in 1951 with Gliere conducting the Leningrad Radio Symphony Orchestra. The concerto is dedicated to Polekh, and Polekh wrote a cadenza that is in the style of the concerto and most often performed today.

Polekh toured with the Bolshoi to Covent Garden in London. He made the acquaintance of the horn players of the theater, who presented him with the music for the Britten Serenade. Polekh gave the first Russian performance of the Serenade in 1965 at the Moscow Conservatory.

Polekh played principal horn at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow for 34 years and taught at the Moscow Conservatory beginning in 1981. He published a horn method and edited the Mozart horn concertos.

Polekh was elected an Honorary Member in 2002. Through the intercession of James Decker, his detailed autobiography (Your Valeriy Polekh, translated by David Gladen) is serialized in The Horn Call beginning in the February 2007 issue.

Erich Penzel

playingErich Penzel first recorded many horn concertos and sonatas; his discography is perhaps the most legendary of any hornist in the twentieth century. Through his recording and his teaching, he has influenced horn playing in Germany and throughout the world.

Penzel was born in 1930 in Leipzig, in the former East Germany. He received his horn training at the Musikhochschule in Leipzig, where he studied with Wilhelm Krüger and Albin Frehse. From 1949 to 1961 was the solo horn of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig; from 1954 to 1960, he was a member of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra; and from 1955 to 1961 he taught horn at the University of Leipzig. In 1953 he won third prize in the Prague Spring competition.

In 1961 Penzel escaped from then East Germany and was solo horn of the WDR (West German Radio Orchestra) Köln (Cologne) until 1973.

In 1973 Penzel became the horn professor at the Musikhochschule in Köln and Maastricht.  Many important hornists have since studied with him, including Christian Lampert, Stefan Dohr, Wolfgang Wipfler, Marie-Luise Neunecker, Claudia Strenkert, René Pagen, Will Sanders, and Jens Plücker.

In 2005 Penzel was elected an IHS Honorary Member and received the Order of Merit, First Class, for his outstanding achievements. He continues to teach horn and chamber music at home and abroad.

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