Ingbert Michelsen (1917-1991)

michelsen.jpgIngbert Michelsen was the leading horn player in Denmark and the teacher of a generation of Scandinavian horn players.

Michelsen was born in Skanderburg, Denmark in 1917. His father was a carpenter and amateur musician. Even before entering school, Michelsen started playing on an old tenor (alto) horn, then switched to trumpet. At age 10, he was admitted to a new Conservatory of Music in Århus. The teacher, Ejnar Knudsen of the Jutlandian Dragoons, arrived at the first lesson in his uniform, carrying his horn in a sack. He unpacked the horn and asked Michelsen, who had never seen a horn before, to try it. Michelsen did not dare refuse the imposing figure, and so horn became his instrument. Lessons were taken standing, with the military teacher also standing. Michelsen started playing third horn with the Århus Symphony Orchestra at age 12.

After four years at the Conservatory, Michelsen started training to become a builder since music was not considered to be a safe way to make a living. However, he paid for his education by playing wherever he could, and then, in quick succession, won an audition for the Royal Opera Orchestra in Copenhagen, was offered solo horn in the Århus Symphony, and finally won an audition for the Danish Radio Symphony, the position he held for 27 years (1942-1969). In 1949, he received a scholarship to study for four months with Gottfried von Freiberg in Vienna. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen from 1956 to 1984.

In addition to his outstanding orchestral work, Michelsen was highly regarded as a soloist and chamber musician. He performed many Danish premieres (Britten Serenade, Hindemith Sonata and Concerto) and solos dedicated to him (Niels Viggo Bentzon Sonata and Launy Grøndahl Concerto) as well as performing standard concertos throughout Europe. "[His] fabulous technique and outstanding flexibility over the whole range of his instrument, combined with his brilliant musicianship, made him one of the most loved chamber musicians of the country." He was also heard on soundtracks in Swedish films.

Few recordings of Michelsen are known, but admirers have collected tapes of his radio performances; Ib Lanzky-Otto played some of these at a Scandinavian Horn Club gathering. Michelsen was held in high regard by many conductors and visiting soloists. Rostropovich insisted that Michelsen share the solo bows after a performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1.

Michelsen's first horn was a Gottfried F horn dating from the 1880s; in later years, he found it in a second hand shop and bought it back. After leaving the conservatory, he acquired in double horn. Later he had a D descant horn made for him by Alexander, intended for the Bach B minor Mass but used for many other works in D, for its lighter, elegant tone quality rather than for ease of playing. He also designed mouthpieces and was a skilled furniture maker.

Michelsen was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1978. A tribute appears in the April 1992 issue of The Horn Call.

Richard Moore (1914-1988)

moore.jpg"Whether lasting through a Salome, pounding out a Long Call, backing up NBC script shows, or playing in Xavier Cugat's orchestra, Dick served his Art well. Loyal to his colleagues and dedicated to his students, Dick Moore demanded much of himself in maintaining the highest standards of teaching and performance."

Richard Moore studied with Lorenzo Sansone during his last year of high school. During his college years in Los Angeles, he studied with Georg Hofmann, played in a repertoire orchestra, and worked as an usher at the LA Philharmonic. "I was so interested in music that even though nobody had any money during the Depression, I'd go to a store that had miniature scores that were badly printed, seconds that were yellowed and old so they cost just pennies." He also worked summers at the Hollywood Bowl as a stage guard. He used the opportunities to listen to great musicians and learn from what he heard, marking the scores with his observations.

Moore returned to New York for graduate work at Juilliard, studying horn with Josef Franzl, his most influential teacher. He also took a few lessons with Anton Horner. He played in the National Training Orchestra. In 1936 he was offered his first professional contract as second horn with the Chautauqua Orchestra.

In quick succession, Moore played principal in the National Symphony, assistant first in Pittsburgh (where he spent his time practicing), then Radio City Music Hall and free-lance work in New York City. In 1940, he was accepted into the NBC Symphony, which included various other work such as brass band. A euphonium player in the brass band was also personnel manager of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and he recommended Moore to the Met.

Even while playing full-time at the Met (1942-1985, principal 1942-1964), Moore continued to free-lance and play television shows. He was justifiably proud of his accomplishments with the Met, especially the recordings of Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel (1947, no splicing), Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti (with Stiedry), and Strauss's Salome (with Welitch and Reiner). He appreciated working beside Gunther Schuller at the Met. "I was lucky to have such a sensitive musician who knew the scores that completely as a colleague." He felt that much musicality was lost in later years as horn players seemed concerned with playing higher, louder, faster. "Today we are getting players who are far better instrumentally prepared, better technicians, but not musically prepared."

Moore taught for 22 years at the Manhattan School of Music. He wrote methods (A French Horn Primer and French Horn Method I & II), a warm-up book (Master Horn Warm-up and Flexibility Studies), Operatic French Horn Passages, and Anthology of French Horn Music (excerpts with detailed comments, published in 1993). He was a demanding but inspiring teacher. He listened to live and recorded music, especially of singers, and studied scores to know what everyone else was playing, and he recommended such studies to his students. "I'd study how singers phrased things, especially in opera, since I often played the same phrase with them before, during, or after they sang it."

Moore was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1987. A tribute on the occasion of his retirement from the Met appears in the April 1986 issue of The Horn Call, and another, after his death, in the April 1989 issue.

Reginald Morley-Pegge (1890-1972)

Picture reproduced with permission
of the University of Oxford

Reginald Morley-Pegge's book The French Horn (Benn, 1960) is one of the finest and most scholarly texts on the history of the instrument, although long out of print. His vast collection of wind instruments is housed in the Bate Collection ( at the University of Oxford.

Reginald Frederick Morley Pegge was born in London in 1890. Morley, the name most used by his friends, was originally a given name that eventually muted into his surname. The family moved to Brighton and Morley-Pegge was sent to school at Summerfields in Oxford and Harrow, where he was a member of the school orchestra. Here he came into contact with Tom Busby and through him W.F.H. Blandford; correspondence with Blandford is a source of much horn lore.

France played an important part in Morley-Pegge's life. He was sent there to learn the language, spent a short time as an estate agent in Essex, and then returned to France at age 21 to study at the Paris Conservatoire. He studied horn with Brémond and hand-horn with Vuillermoz, laying the foundation for his tremendous control of the instrument. He was admired for the style and integrity of his performance, although he never had great physical strength or endurance.

In 1917, he married Anne Taylor of Paris, and his son was born in 1918. Morley-Pegge served in the British Forces in both World Wars. After World War I, he served with the army of occupation in France until 1919, then with the Reparation Commission until 1925, during which time he had leisure to play the horn and investigate its history. He then worked in the advertising department of Citroen in Paris until he secured posts as a professional musician in 1927. When the Germans invaded in 1940, the family fled to Edinburgh, leaving most possessions, including his instrument collection, behind. His son later returned to the house in France and found the collection mostly intact.

From 1927, Morley-Pegge played with the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, then the Colonne (Paris) Orchestra, Association des Concerts Poulet, and the Paris Radio Orchestra. During world War II, he played for the Reid Orchestra in Edinburgh (while also working in military transport) and later for the Ballet des Champs Élysées and the International Ballet. While in Edinburgh, he developed a friendship with Lyndesay Langwill, and their correspondence is also a trove of lore. At this time, he became a historian of the serpent and of other brass and woodwind instruments in addition to the horn.

During all this time, Morley-Pegge added to his knowledge of the history and theory of the horn, examining, playing, and photographing every example that came his way. He built up an encyclopedic body of knowledge that was the basis for his authoritative book, articles for Grove, and a vast correspondence. In the 1930s, he was invited to recatalogue the wind instruments in the collection of the Paris Conservatoire, a mark of the esteem in which his scholarship was already held. He also became an accomplished photographer and frequently exhibited at the Paris Salon. He was known as a genial man, a wit, and a connoisseur of wine and food.

Morley-Pegge was friends with Philip Bate from 1939, first by correspondence and then in person. Most of his instrument collection and all of his papers went to the Bate Collection at Oxford. Morley-Pegge was a founder and active in the Galpin Society from its inception in 1946. This brought him into a wider musicological circle. He also had many correspondents, including many from the US, and he was meticulous in replying.

During most of his playing career, Morley-Pegge was faithful to the French type of horn on which his technique had been formed, although later he used a Kruspe double horn and finally a Berlin Schmidt B-flat horn with an added valve and supplementary slides. This last horn was bought by Harold Meek of the Boston Symphony Orchestra after Morley-Pegge's death (the two had corresponded but never met).

Morley-Pegge was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1971. Tributes appear in the November 1972 issue of The Horn Call and at the Bate Collection website.

Max Pottag (1876-1970)

pottag.jpgMax Pottag's methods, exercises, and excerpt books have been the foundation of many hornists' studies. He was also one of the first to write for and lead large horn ensembles, including 148 horns at the first horn workshop in 1969.

Pottage was born in Forst, Germany in 1876. He started music with a toy violin at age five and the accordion at seven. He took up trumpet at 14, playing in the city band as an apprentice and changing to horn after a year. At 19, he joined the band of the German Navy in Wilhelmshaven and traveled extensively with Kaiser Wilhelm on his private yacht.

In 1899, Pottag entered the Leipzig Conservatory as a scholarship student, studying with Friedrich Gumpert, and graduated with honors in 1901. He played first horn with the Hamburg Symphony for a short time before emigrating to the US.

In the US, Pottage became second horn in the Philadelphia Orchestra (1901-1902), Pittsburgh Orchestra (1902-1905), and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1905-1907). He was a member of the Chicago Symphony for 40 years (1907-1947), playing second horn until 1944, then fourth horn until his retirement. While in Chicago, he was also associated with the Little Symphony Orchestra of Chicago and taught horn at Northwestern University (1934-1952). He gave clinics and conducted large horn ensembles all over the US.

Pottag wrote and arranged music for the horn throughout his life. His three volumes of excerpts was one of the first compilations of the standard orchestral horn passages in the US, an invaluable aid to generations of horn students. His publications also include daily exercises, a method book with Nilo Hovey, and numerous arrangements for horn and horn ensemble. He wrote articles on various aspects of horn playing in The School Musician, The Instrumentalist, Symphony, and Woodwind World.

Pottag designed a horn for Reynolds, with a design similar to the Holton Farkas model, that was known as the Pottag Model. He also helped redesign the Conn 6D and developed several mouthpieces for each company.

Pottag was honored as an honorary member of Pi Kappa Lambda and the Horn Club of Los Angeles. He was cited by Ball State University (Muncie IN) as "Master Musician, Master Teacher, Teacher of Master Teachers."

Pottag was a founding member of the IHS and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1974. A tribute appears in the Fall 1971 issue of The Horn Call.

Lorenzo Sansone (1881-1975)

sansone.jpgLorenzo Sansone is known to many horn players for his publications and his innovative designs of equipment, especially the five-valve B-flat horn. He was also highly regarded as an orchestral player and a teacher.

Sansone was born in 1881 in Monte Sant'Angelo, Italy. Despite disapproval from his father, Sansone began playing flugelhorn in the town band at age 10. At 13, he was hired by a band in another town to play horn and also played in the town orchestra. Because no horn teachers lived in the area, he taught himself, and he was proud of this fact.

In 1903, Sansone emigrated to the US and started playing in the Chiafferelli Italian Band. After three years, he became conductor of the Ventura (CA) City Band. He arranged, edited, and composed music for that band and taught various instruments in Oxnard CA.

Sansone's orchestral career included virtually all the major orchestras in the US in the first half of the 20th century (some now defunct); Los Angeles Symphony, Denver Symphony (1909-1910), St. Paul Symphony (1910-1911), St. Louis Symphony (1912-1915), Chicago Symphony (1914 summer), Cincinnati Symphony (1915-1918), Detroit Symphony (1918-1919), New York Symphony (1920-1922), Beethoven Symphony (1927), National Broadcasting Orchestra (1929), Metropolitan Opera (1931-1933).

Sansone was on the faculty of Juilliard School from 1921 to 1946, where he taught nearly 300 students. He also taught privately at his shop and later at his home. He often said, "You are your own best teacher." He taught primarily from method books and stressed learning transposition by clefs rather than intervals. He often played for his students to illustrate his ideas. Sansone published etudes, two method books, editions of standard repertoire, and French Horn Music Literature with Composers' Biographical Sketches. Southern Music took over his publications. He published a series of articles in The International Musician in the early 1940s.

Sansone played a Kruspe double horn for 11 years but switched to a five-valve B-flat horn in 1914, while he was playing in St. Louis, and stayed with the B-flat horn for the remainder of his career. The horns were manufactured to Sansone's specifications by Wunderlich in Chicago from 1914, by Kruspe from 1916, and finally, from 1954, by Sansone at his shop, Sansone Musical Instruments, in New York City. The shop was established in 1925, with most of the business in publications in the early years. After 1954 he manufactured the five-valve B-flat horn, other brass and wind instruments, mouthpieces (metal and Lucite), woodwind reed tools, and mutes. His son Lawrence, who was also a professional horn player, eventually took over the business.

Sansone was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1971. A tribute appears in the November 1975 issue of The Horn Call and an article on his life and accomplishments in the February 2005 issue.

James Stagliano (1912-1987)

stagliano2.jpgJames Stagliano was best known for his expressive style of playing and his great high register, and he was the first hornist to record the high baroque music of Steinmetz, Barsanti, Handel, and Telemann. For a time, he held the record for the highest note recorded on a horn, an E-flat (concert A-flat) in the cadenza of a the Mozart Concert Rondo. He was a great lyrical player and truly representative of the style of cantabile playing taught by the fine Italian musicians of that period.

Stagliano was born in Italy in 1912 and emigrated to the US as a child. He first learned piano, then studied horn with his uncle. His father, a trumpeter, also gave him some training. At age 16, Stagliano joined the Detroit Symphony as assistant principal horn to his uncle. He moved to the St. Louis Symphony as principal horn, then in 1936 to Los Angeles, where he played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic until 1944 and became a leading player in the studios, especially Fox Studios. His movie credits include Gone With the Wind and Fantasia.

He left Los Angeles to play in the Cleveland Orchestra under Leinsdorf, but after a year was persuaded by Koussevitzky to join the Boston Symphony, where he stayed for a remarkable reign from 1947 to 1973. He founded Boston Records and, with Sarah Caldwell, the Opera Company of Boston.

Stagliano reached many players through his recordings and broadcasts, although his recorded legacy suffers from primitive recording techniques and little or no splicing. He was a natural player and had few students, but he did have some advice. He recommended standing up while practicing because of the natural support this provides. He felt that the best horn playing has "repose," by which he seemed to mean savoring each tone to the maximum, avoiding any sense of urgency or compulsion to get through. He refused to let a poor performance bother him, and he advocated relaxing when away from the horn.

Stagliano played an Alexander double horn for nearly everything except Bach, for which he used a Kruspe single high F horn. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1981.

Louis Stout (1924-2005)

Louis StoutLouis Stout was a highly-regarded orchestral player (he never lost an audition), a revered teacher with scores of successful students, and a renowned collector of brass instruments. He had inexhaustible energy and curiosity, learned solfège early, memorized all the horn excerpts, and was always willing to share his expertise and stories. His teachers were Elaine Kessler, Marvin Howe, Mason Jones, and Robert Schultz.

Louis was born in 1924 in Hallisport NY, a village of 75 people with a two-room schoolhouse. There he studied piano with a fine teacher, learned solfège, and developed a love for literature and the arts that led to his vast collection of books, music, recordings, and instruments. He learned to play the trumpet, trombone, violin, clarinet, and guitar in high school, taking up the horn as a high school sophomore.

By the age of ten, Louis was listening to the Chicago Symphony on the radio. He vowed that he would one day play in the orchestra, a vow that he was able to fulfill. During high school, a friend died and the friend's mother asked Louis to play for her son. Many times over the years, Louis would face difficult solo passages with a sense of perspective that made the passages less important than other elements of life.

Louis graduated from high school at age 15 and spent most of the following year playing horn solos with a pianist friend. Then he enrolled at Ithaca (NY) College, where his horn teacher made a major change in his embouchure, which he later said was the best thing for his career even though it was difficult at the time. It was also at college that his teacher insisted he learn the B-flat side of the horn, and he became primarily a player of the B-flat horn. During his junior year, Louis borrowed money to buy his first "professional" horn, a 45-year-old Schmidt that he later said was the best horn he ever owned, and played an audition for first horn in the New Orleans Symphony. He had won the audition and signed the contract when it was discovered that he was not a union member; however, the manager wanted Louis enough to arrange the necessary membership.

In New Orleans, Louis learned to fly an airplane and found his wife, flutist Glennis Metz. The orchestra season was only 20 weeks, so Louis toured with the North Carolina Symphony and played with the Virginia Symphony for additional income. After two years, he went to New York City and joined the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall. In 1950, when a new conductor took over and brought his own players, Louis went back to Ithaca College to finish his bachelor's degree. During his senior year, he taught all the horn students plus other brass students and became a flute major (since he couldn't teach himself), playing his wife's flute.

Ithaca College wanted Louis to continue teaching, but he need more income to support his family and took a job with Kansas City. After four years, with a growing family, Louis was looking for an orchestra with a longer season. He auditioned for Chicago and got a contract as associate principal for a 36-week season and a salary of $100 more per week. He asked to take lessons from Philip Farkas, the first horn and his idol. He was refused but felt that he got his lessons by sitting next to his "teacher" in the orchestra.

Louis played in Chicago for five years (1955-1960) under Reiner, then applied for a position at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. At the audition, he played from memory for two hours and was accepted in spite of not having a master's degree. He taught at Michigan for 28 years, and was known as a demanding teacher, with a thorough and tough regimen, combined with fatherly concern. Even after retirement, he taught privately.

During his Chicago and Michigan years, Louis acquired an amazing collection of instruments, with which he toured the US and Europe in a lecture/demonstration called "The Horn: from the Forest to the Concert Hall." The collection is one of the largest private collections in the world and is now in the Franz Streitweiser's Trumpet and Horn Museum at Schloss Kremsegg in Linz, Austria. Louis's interest in historical horns led to his pioneering use of natural, single B-flat, and descant horns for early music performance.

Louis served on the Fulbright committee, and he and Glennis taught in Taiwan for two years on a Fulbright grant after his retirement. Louis participated in many IHS symposiums, often surrounded by adoring students. He was given the Punto award in 1991 and was elected an Honorary Member in 2005.

A tribute to Louis appears in the October 1989 issue of The Horn Call and a remembrance in the February 2006 issue.

photo courtesy of Holton

Willem A. Valkenier (1887-1986)


Valkenier is recognized as one of the "founding fathers" of horn-playing in the United States. He came from the European (Czech and German) tradition, and his tenure in Boston influenced players and his many students.

Valkenier was born in 1887 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He had piano lessons as a child and started horn with a military clarinetist, who, when Valkenier was 14, sent him to Edward Preus. Preus was a natural horn player from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) who had played first horn in a German opera company in Rotterdam and settled there. He was a strict taskmaster, sparing with praise, who taught the Czech cantabile tradition.

After two years studying with Preus, Valkenier started playing in a vaudeville theater orchestra. In the summer, he played in a Civil Guard symphonic band with Preus playing first horn, a continuation of his education. His first major professional job was third horn in a symphony orchestra in Gronignen (Netherlands), then a year as first horn in Haarlem. Wanting a better living than he could attain in the Netherlands, he found a job as first horn in the Collegium Musicum in Winterthur, Switzerland. After a year, he saw an advertisement for first horn in Breslau (Silesia, later part of Poland), a larger city, where he won the job and got an excellent grounding in opera.

Valkenier applied for a summer engagement in Bad Kissingen, Germany, where the Konzertverein Orchestra from Vienna played. After he had performed the Aria from the Bach B Minor Mass, Valkenier was offered the permanent first horn position; the orchestra bought out the remainder of his Breslau contract. In Vienna, Valkenier played a lot of Mahler (Mahler had died the year before) as well as chamber music. World War I wreaked havoc with the orchestras in Vienna, so in 1914 Valkenier found a position as first horn with the Berlin State Opera, where he stayed nine years and played under Furtwangler and Richard Strauss, among others.

In 1923, Valkenier, a pacifist and still a Dutch citizen, began to see that conditions in Germany were going to "go wrong" in response to the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. He was friendly with cellist Pablo Casals and considered settling in Barcelona, but finally decided to try America. Valkenier talked with conductors in New York and Chicago, but both had six-month union waiting periods, so he went to Boston (a non-union orchestra until 1942) as first horn of the second horn section.

Valkenier was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1923 to 1950. His first year was under Pierre Monteux, then Koussevitsky took over for 25 years. Around 1950, Valkenier started having trouble with his teeth and so decided to stop playing. He had not liked playing under Koussevitsky, so he stayed long enough to play a season under Charles Munch.

While in Boston, Valkenier delighted in performing chamber music, in both professional engagements and informal pick-up sessions with his colleagues in the BSO or with visiting artists such as Arthur Schnabel, Arnold Schoenberg, and Paul Hindemith. He also played viola and cello parts on his horn.

Valkenier taught many students at New England Conservatory during his BSO tenure and others on Cape Cod during his retirement. He had high standards and insisted on everything being played correctly, but he was also gentle and encouraging, and he was an advisor and confidant to his students, taking a paternal interest in them.

Valkenier started playing on a hand horn, then a Slot single horn. His first double horn was a Kruspe, and the second a Schmidt. Later he used a Kruspe single B-flat horn for operas and a Schmidt single high F horn for high Bach cantatas.

Valkenier was elected an Honorary Member in 1971. A profile of him appears in the October 1983 issue of The Horn Call, a memoriam in the October 1986 issue, and a transcription of an interview in the February 1994 issue. Additional photos of Boston Symphony Orchestra sections appear in the April 1988 issue.

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