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.

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.

Robert Paxman (1929-2011)

Bob received a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the
Musical Idustires Association in 2010.

Robert (Bob) Paxman, MBE transformed Paxman Music Instruments from a maker of various instruments to one devoted to horns.

Bob's father had established Paxman Musical Instruments – as the company is still known – as a maker of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments in 1919. Bob began working there when he was just 14 years old.

It was Bob Paxman’s partnership with an Australian horn player, Richard Merewether, that was to transform the company into one specializing in horns. Merewether arrived in England in 1950 with ideas about horn design – especially f-alto and  F/f-alto horns. Paxman began producing instruments in line with Merewether’s philosophy, and the two men collaborated closely until Merewether died in 1985 – with around 50 designs to their joint credit.

Bob became Managing Director of the company in 1961. He introduced a number of important improvements to horn design, including the dual-bore system for full double horns, the dual bore system for double descant horns, triple bore horns, and lighter weight titanium valves. In 1993 Bob was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and received his award from the Queen – the citation said the award was “in recognition of his services to the musical instrument industry.”

A modest and private man with a quiet, dry wit, Bob remained actively involved in horn design and was constantly looking to make design improvements. As recently as November 2010 – some time after his retirement as Managing Director - Bob was awarded a life time achievement award from the Musical Industries Association.

Bob was elected an IHS Honorary Membership posthumously in 2012.

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