by Neil Hawkins
Jon Erik Hawkins was born in Stockholm on July 14, 1965, when his parents were working and studying in Sweden. He arrived in the United States on his first birthday, and two years later began a nomadic childhood when his father reentered the US Air Force. After moving for the third time, he had his first piano lesson in Montana at age 6. He continued his piano lessons when his family moved to England.
At age 11, while living in Illinois, he was smitten with another passion − orchestral music. After listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture for the first time, he said, "Someday I will play in a major orchestra!" He wanted to play any instrument. To Jon it didn't matter, but the school band needed French horns, so a horn it was. Jon immediately fell in love with the instrument which, from the beginning, to him was not a French horn but THE Horn.
In Illinois he studied with Larry Strieby of the St. Louis Symphony and played one year with the St. Louis Philharmonic before his family moved to Burke, Virginia in 1982. In Virginia Jon studied with Ted Thayer of the National Symphony and played with the Northern Virginia Youth Orchestra, American University Orchestra, and the Brass of Peace Ensemble. In 1983 he auditioned for and was accepted to fill an opening with the Air Force Band of the Golden Gate at Travis Air Force Base, California. There he played with the concert band and woodwind quintet and studied with A. David Krehbiel of the San Francisco Symphony.
In 1988, just prior to his reassignment to the Air Force Band in Japan, Jon attended the IHS Workshop in Potsdam, New York, where he purchased a Vienna pumpen horn, the horn he wanted to help him achieve his greatest desire, to play with the Vienna Philharmonic.
On April 5, 1991, Jon left the Air Force to pursue his dream to study and play in Vienna, Austria. On his way home the following day, his dream suddenly ended when he died in a traffic accident.
Jon was a life member of the IHS, just starting his career as a professional musician. To commemorate his life and help preserve his dreams and aspirations, Jon's parents, Neil and Runa Hawkins, decided to support projects related to horn playing as a continuing form of a memorial for their son.
The first step was initiated by Eric Strohecker, Jon's close friend and fellow musician. He developed a plan to commission a concerto for horn and orchestra that would be dedicated to Jon. Eric selected Dr. Werner Pelinka (born 1952) of Vienna, Austria to compose the concerto. Dr. Pelinka is experienced in writing for the Vienna Horn and has written several works for horn in consultation with Roland Horvath of the Vienna Philharmonic. Eric prepared a brochure regarding this concerto. A copy of the concerto is presented to the winner of the Jon Hawkins Memorial Award each year.
The second memorial is an award, funded by Jon’s parents, to a deserving student to attend the IHS symposium each year. The award includes funds for attending the symposium, a lesson at the symposium, an opportunity to perform at the symposium, and a one-year IHS membership.