Antonio Iervolino (1912-1990)

iervolino.jpgAntonio Iervolino was responsible for developing horn playing in Latin America, through his students and with the Association of Trompas of Latin America (ATLA), which was formed in 1987.

Iervolino started playing professionally at age 15 in the movie theaters, zarzuelas, and operas in his native Buenos Aires. He became first horn in Montevideo, Uruguay at age 19, and at age 24 he returned to Buenos Aires to the Teatro Colon, where he remained for 17 years. With little formal instruction or prior teaching experience, and before he had developed a virtuoso technique himself, he produced five virtuoso horn players among his students.

In 1951, after a dispute with management, Iervolino resigned his lifetime position at Teatro Colon. He taught and free-lanced in Buenos Aires, then in 1958 returned to Montevideo, where he played first horn for four years. Then he and his wife moved to Italy, where he became first horn in a chamber orchestra in Milan and later first in the Italian Radio and Television Chamber Orchestra in Naples while his wife pursued an opera career. An automobile accident took his wife's life and injured his mouth severely, and he and his doctors thought that playing again would be impossible.

In 1966, during his convalescence, Iervolino attended a rehearsal at Avery Fisher Hall in New York and he met his future wife, who encouraged him to try playing the horn again. He retaught himself to play on scar tissue and permanent bridgework, became second horn with the American Ballet Theater touring company, and then was invited to Puerto Rico to play first horn in the orchestra and teach at the conservatory where Pablo Casals was the director.

In 1973, Iervolino returned to New York City to teach at Mannes School of Music. He lived in a studio apartment and taught there, often inviting students to stay for days or longer. He never charged anyone who spoke Spanish. His teaching turned into a three-volume method book (The Horn, Its Theory and Basic Technique).

The idea for the ATLA association and its first meeting in San Carlos Bariloche, Argentina was accepted throughout Latin American because of Iervolino's teaching. Luckily, the Teatro Colon Foundation came together with private funds to make the association possible just before the financial crisis in Argentina. Hornists traveled great distances from all over Latin America to attend in a beautiful natural setting. Iervolino later left a substantial portion of his estate to support a foundation to promote and educate horn players in Latin America.

Iervolino was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1990, shortly after his death. A tribute appears in the October 1990 issue of The Horn Call.

Ifor James (1931-2004)

iforjames.jpgRichard Ifor James was known for his incredible agility and secure high range, but also a broad spectrum of tone color. Philip Jones has said, "What fascinated me about Ifor was his ability to play all over the instrument with enormous panache and great momentum." Ifor left a legacy of recordings, many successful students, and a gift for humor and friendship.

Ifor was born in 1931 in Carlisle, England. His father was a top amateur cornet player and his mother (Ena Mitchell) was a famous soprano. At the age of four, Ifor began playing cornet in a local championship Brass Band. Only three years later he became a "professional," playing trumpet frequently in the theatre, paid in chocolate bars and pens because of child labor laws.

From age 16 to 21, Ifor played football (soccer) for Carlisle United, but at the same time he knew that music was his future. He had always wanted to be an organist, and during this time he became an assistant cathedral organist in Carlisle. When a horn player in the local orchestra became ill, Ifor borrowed the man's horn and played the job. He liked the horn and decided to try it for two years. He studied privately with Aubrey Brain and then won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. He would train for football in the morning, study music afternoons, and play football games on the weekends.

He began his horn career with the Halle Orchestra (after being invited to audition for Sir John Barbarolli) and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He also played concertos, recitals, chamber music, and broadcasts and founded the Ifor James Horn Quartet. He loved most playing recitals.

Later Ifor moved to London where he played with many orchestras and chamber groups. He became professor of horn at the Royal Academy of Music, principal horn of the English Chamber Orchestra, and horn player in the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble (1966-1980). With this group he toured the world and made more than 30 recordings. He also recorded many little gems of the horn literature for his Cornucopia project, which also included a lecture series and publishing music for winds.

Ifor became professor for horn at the Royal Northern College (Manchester) and the University of Aberdeen. In 1983 he became professor for horn at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, where he taught until retirement in 1996. He was one of the world’s most successful teachers, with over 60 players in the profession, among them several who are now following solo careers and over 20 principal horns. He advocated developing the discipline to practice for hours and to love practicing and never be satisfied. "The world owes you nothing, and this profession is not waiting for you. You have to work hard enough to deserve to be in it."

james-drawing.jpgThe orchestras with which Ifor James performed are too numerous to name, as are the countries he toured. Many famous composers have written for and dedicated works to him. He was also a composer who has written both for the horn and many other combinations. Ifor said about himself: "I play the horn because I can't sing. If I could sing, I would not play the horn."

To relax while on tour, Ifor drew in black and white. He also enjoyed spending time away from professional life at his house in Norway in summer or his flat in Tenerife in winter.

Ifor played a Hess, a Paxman, a Raoux piston F horn, and finally a Paxman B-flat/A and a piccolo B-flat for extremely high works. He enjoyed experimenting with equipment.

Ifor performed at many horn workshops and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2003. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Aberdeen, also in 2003.

Kurt Janetzky (1906-1994)

janetzky2.jpgKurt Janetzky was a distinguished low-horn specialist and world-class musicologist who enriched the horn and chamber music repertoires with the editing and publication of over two hundred manuscripts, plus books and articles on the history of the horn. He often said, "If I should again be reborn on the earth, I would return as a hornist – and I want to play fourth horn again!" But his lasting legacy is to the horn repertoire and his treatises on the history of the horn.

Janetzky was born in 1906 in Breslau, Silesia (now part of Poland). He studied in Dresden with Adolf Lindner and Ernst von Schuch, then played fourth horn in the Saxon State Orchestra and Dresden Opera under conductors Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner, and Karl Böhm. He played briefly with several other orchestras, then moved to Leipzig, where he was a member of the Leipzig Radio symphony Orchestra from 1946 to 1971. He was honored with the title Kammervirtuose in 1952. He made numerous recordings playing horn and lute with the Leipzig orchestra and with the early music ensemble Pro Arte Antiqua Lipsiensis. He was also a member of the Schaffrath Horn Quartet, which was noted for its performance of the Schumann Konzertstück.

In 1972, after he had retired from the orchestra, Janetzky moved from the GDR (former East Germany) to the West, where he was able to publish and disseminate his manuscripts more easily. He corresponded extensively with international horn soloists from his apartment near Heidelberg.

Janetzky found many manuscripts in small libraries and castles in the former GDR. Among the composers whose manuscripts Janetzky rescued from oblivion are CPE Bach, JC Bach, WF Bach, Boccherini, Danzi, Josef Haydn, Michael Haydn, Hummel, Leopold Mozart, WA Mozart, Nicolai, Pagnini, Anton Reicha, Schubert, Stamitz, Telemann, and von Weber.

Janetzky lectured at numerous horn conferences and wrote many articles on the history of the horn and chamber music. His article "The Metamorphoses of Possibilities" (translated by Dr. Ceceilia C. Baumann) appears in the May 1972 issue of The Horn Call. A collection of his lectures and a listing of his editions is found in:

  • Aus der Werkstatt eines Hornisten:Gesammelte Aufsätze von Kurt Janetzky, published by Michael Nagy, Vienna, 1993.


Janetzky's books are authoritative references.

  • Cultural History of the Horn (Kulturgeschichte des Horns), with Bernard Brüchle, translated by Cecilia Baumann-Cloughly, published by Schneider, Tutzing, 1976.
  • The Horn (Das Horn: Eine kleine Chronik seines Werdens und Wirkens), with Bernard Brüchle, translated by James Chater, published by Schott, Mainz, 1984 and Batsford, London, 1988 and Amadeus Press, Portland OR, 1988.
  • A Pictorial History of the Horn (Seriöse Kuriositäten am Rande der Instrumentenkunde) Schneider, Tutzing, 1980.

Janetzky was one of the first elected an IHS Honorary Member, in 1978. A tribute appears in the May 1995 issue of The Horn Call.

Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto (1901-1991)

wl-o.jpgWilhelm Lanzky-Otto was the father of the modern Swedish school of horn playing and arguably the single greatest influence on Scandinavian horn playing as a whole. He inspired a so-called "Lanzky School" of horn playing, influencing others as both player and teacher. Indeed, many of the prominent horn players throughout Scandinavia today are either pupils of, or have been influenced by, the "Lanzky School" style.

Wilhelm was born in Copenhagen in 1909 and began intensive musical studies in piano at age five, first with his mother then at a piano school. Later his studies included the violin, viola, music theory, conducting, and organ. He concertized and taught piano on many occasions throughout his life. In 1928 he was offered a free place at the Royal Danish Conservatory; the same year he received an academic degree.

Along with many other activities, Wilhelm learned to play horn with such success that after only a year he was engaged as assistant principal in Denmark's leading opera orchestra, the Royal Orchestra. He still continued his studies at the conservatory, receiving a piano diploma in 1930 and an organ diploma in 1931.Wilhelm took up the horn so that, if he did not succeed as a professional pianist, he would have an orchestral instrument to fall back on. He could have continued with violin, but with more violinists than demand at this time, the horn provided better opportunity. He studied with Hans Sörensen until 1929. After graduating from the conservatory, he became principal horn in the Tivoli Concert Hall Orchestra. Both the Tivoli and Royal orchestra seasons were four months in the summer, which allowed him to study the rest of the year.

During these years, Wilhelm helped found Blaserkvintetten af 1932 (1932 Wind Quintet), which inspired Danish composers to increase the repertoire for wind quintet.

From 1936-45, he was principal horn with the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra, frequently appearing as piano and/or horn soloist. In 1944, his teacher, Hans Sörensen, died. Wilhelm took over his position as principal horn in the Royal Orchestra and horn professor at the Royal Danish Conservatory. Then he took a post as piano teacher at the conservatory in Reykjavik, Iceland, combined with principal horn with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted bands and toured as pianist, horn player, or accompanist and worked with many of the great musicians of the day as they stopped in Iceland on their way to and from America. Wilhelm later often referred to "the happy years in Iceland."

Wilhelm was asked to fill a position with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. Travel was expensive, so a "lacquer" recording and a photograph were sent in place of an audition. He also became teacher of horn and piano at the orchestral school of Gothenburg. After solo tours and broadcasts (in part to make himself known in Stockholm), he was offered the principal horn position in the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956, then applied for and was given the post of horn teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Later he helped found the Stockholm Wind Quintet and a brass group, Musica Nova.

Horn playing is at a high standard in Sweden, in large measure due to Wilhelm's influence. His style is a continuation of the classical Danish horn tradition, which itself is a continuation of the tradition found in France, Austria, and Germany. Notable students include his son Ib (who also has been principal horn in the Stockholm Philharmonic and is an IHS Honorary Member), Frøydis Ree Wekre, Rolf Bengtsson, and Sören Hermansson. Because of his broad musical and general education, Wilhelm was known for his interpretative skills. He had a gift for working from particular students' limitations and needs, preaching a particular style of playing while leaving students free to interpret works in their own way.

Wilhelm also promoted equality between the principal and associate principal horn in the orchestra to the point that one never knows quite who is playing which horn part in the Stockholm Philharmonic. In this way, the associate does not build up a fear of the big solos, and the principal has the freedom to pursue solo and other activities without the orchestra suffering. On the other hand, he believed that the section should follow the style of the principal horn without question.

Philip Farkas, in his book A Photographic Study of 40 Virtuoso Horn Players' Embouchures, describes Wilhelm as having "an extremely large, round, and ringing tone, superior high register, superior middle register, superior low register, superior legato and slurs, moderately fast tongue speed, excellent loud dynamics, and superior soft dynamics."

In 1967, Wilhelm "retired" to fourth horn in the Philharmonic, and retired from the orchestra in 1974. He was made an IHS Honorary Member in 1978 and died in 1991. A longer article about Wilhelm by his son Ib appears in the May 2005 issue of The Horn Call.

Harold Meek (1914-1998)

meek2.jpgHarold Meek is described by everyone as a gentleman, a perfectionist, and one who loved the horn. He was the first editor of The Horn Call and was responsible for this statement in every issue, "The International Horn Society recommends that HORN be recognized as the correct name for our instrument in the English language."

Meek grew up in the family farmhouse in Newark OH, an old house that he later rebuilt. He studied at Denison University (Ohio), with Anton Horner at Curtis, and with Arcadi Yegudkin at Eastman. He was principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic (1942-1943), principal and third horn of the Boston Symphony (1943-1963), and principal horn of the Boston Pops (1943-1963). He made solo appearances and recordings and performed chamber music. He had many friends in the horn world, including Dennis Brain.Meek taught at Denison University, Shurtleff College, New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and Harvard University. His scholarship included articles in publications such as The Horn Call, Symphony, and Music Educators Journal; music such as Basic Technical Studies, transcriptions for wind quintet, and reprints of out-of-print editions; and books, notably Horn & Conductor.

Meek thought deeply about the horn, its history, and its music, and he combined playing and research. For all his appreciation of history, however, and his participation in one of the first period-instrument recordings in the mid-1950s, he commented, "Thank God for the invention of the valve!" He played a single B-flat horn.

Meek was a member of the IHS Advisory Council from 1971-1976, the first editor of The Horn Call (1970-1971), and elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1980. Tributes appear in the November 1998 issue of The Horn Call.

Georges Barboteu (1924-2006)

barb.jpgGeorges Barboteu was the leading horn player in France and wrote etudes and other compositions for the horn that are staples of the repertoire and have been used as examination pieces at the Paris Conservatoire. He was "loved and appreciated for his charisma, his steadfast good humor, and his immense cordiality."

Barboteu was born in Algiers in 1924. His family was originally from Catalan but had lived in Algeria for generations. His father, Joseph Barboteu, was a professional horn player and professor at the Conservatoire d'Algiers. Georges started horn with his father at age nine and at age twelve was awarded a premier prix at the conservatory. At age 14 he played next to his father at the Grand Casino in Biarritz, France.

In 1939, Georges auditioned for the Paris Conservatoire, but World War II broke out and both Barboteus returned to Algeria. Georges played next to his father in the orchestra of Radio Algiers, then after three years his father turned the solo position over to his son. During this time, Georges also studied harmony and counterpoint, learned to play double bass, and wrote his first compositions.

After the war, in 1948, Barboteu returned to France and joined the Orchestre National (Radio France) under Charles Munch. In 1950 he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1951 he won the premier prix, soon thereafter winning first prize at the Geneva International Competition.

Barboteu played in the Orchestre del Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (the future Orchestre de Paris), solo horn with the Opera Comique, and in 1969 with the Orchestre de Paris. He was horn professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1969-1989 and founder of the Quintette Ars Nova.

Barboteu was a member of the IHS Advisory Council from 1976 to 1979 and appeared as a featured artist at many symposiums. He was elected an Honorary Member in 1998.

Barboteu was a consummate musician. He was involved in all styles of music, from baroque to contemporary, including jazz (recording with Duke Ellington). He was a master at inspiring jazz and theatrical arrangers and composers to include horns in their orchestrations, from Franck Pourcel to Claude Bolling.

His recordings include an early recording of Schumann's Konzertstück, which was reissued in 1994 with other solo performances on The Magic of the French Horn.

A tribute to Barboteu by his friend and colleague Daniel Borgue appears in both French and English in the February 2007 issue of The Horn Call.

Edmond Leloir (1912-2003)

leloir2.jpgEdmund Leloir is known around the world for his editions and publications, but he also had a long and distinguished career as an orchestral player and soloist. In his study was a photo of Ernest Ansermet, the conductor who hired him for the Orchestre del la Suisse-Roman, with this dedication: "To E. Leloir, exceptional and exemplary horn player, a very cordial and grateful remembrance." (Á E. Leloir corniste exceptionnel et exemplaire, un bien cordial et reconnaissant sourvenir.)

Leloir was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1912. He first played horn with his father and brother, both amateur horn players, in one of the many city wind bands. His first teacher, after his father, was Hubert Dubois. He studied at the Brussels conservatory with Théo Mahy, and he was awarded six premier prix by the age of 16. He was the last student in Belgium required to perform on both natural and valve horn.

Leloir played in several Belgian orchestras (Anvers, Liège, Brussels) and Monte Carlo, then in 1935 migrated to Switzerland, where he play in Winterthur, Zürich, Bern, and finally in the Orchestre del la Suisse-Roman in Geneva, a position he held for 31 years (1939-1977).

After Leloir won the first International Horn Competition at Geneva in 1939, conductor Ernest Ansermet hired him as principal horn and then orchestrated Schumann's Adagio and Allegro for him to play with the orchestra. In 1952 his horn quartet, Quator de Cors Leloir (with Gérald Dentz, Achille Bonnal, and Jacques Béhar), premiered the Hindemith Sonata for Four Horns.

Leloir played a number of different horns over his career, starting with a single F piston valve Raoux-Millereau, then a rotary valve instrument (German), a Czech horn by Lehman, and an Alexander in B-Flat/A – always searching for a compromise between the French and German sounds. He collected horns of all types, some of which he gave to museums.

Leloir played under Richard Strauss, starting when he was 14 or 15 years old, and after the war, Strauss lived in Switzerland not far from Geneva. Leloir played the premiere of his Serenade in Winterthur. He spoke with Strauss many times and asked him about his horn music. Strauss said that the breath marks in the first concerto were for musical phrasing purposes. Strauss told Leloir that in all his compositions he indicated the metronome markings, but that everyone played everything too fast. Leloir believes that Strauss himself arranged the first concerto for four horns and Till Eulenspiegel as a septet, but published them under another name.

Leloir taught at conservatories in Berne, Fribourg, Monte Carlo, and Geneva, with students from all over Europe and the US. He served on juries for international competitions in Geneva, Munich, Prague, and Toulon. He recorded orchestral works of many composers (all the symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, all the works of Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, and others), many solo horn works (Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, the Sikorski concerto), and the Hübler concerto for four horns. An early recording of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto was issued on 78 rpm but repeated later on 33 rpm.

Leloir wrote a method, books of etudes, and compositions for horn, and he discovered, edited, and published hundreds of works that had been lost or had gone out of print, including concertos by Leopold Mozart, Rosetti, Michael Haydn, Telemann, the Haydn concerto for two horns, the Hübler concerto for four horns, and others.

Leloir was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1983. He retained his interest in the instrument to the end of his life, attending the International Horn Symposium in Lahti, Finland in 2002. An interview with Daniel Bourgue appears in the May 2002 issue of The Horn Call, an article detailing his accomplishments in the May 1995 issue, and a tribute in the February 2004 issue.

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