Milan Vach ( -2000)

Milan Vach was a forester and played the hunting horn. He was important in the Stich-Punto Society in the Czech Republic and mayor of Plzen in 1968. He organized a Stich-Punto Festival at Punto’s birth place Zehusice, near Zaslav, the court of his benefactor, Count Thun.

Vach served as a veterinarian at a slaughter house in Plzen and as a lay judge on the court. He was not involved in any politics and was highly respected, so the political changes did not affect him.

Vach co-edited (with Jan Trojan) a book, The Horn in the past and present of Czech music, published in Prague in 1983, available in Czech, German, and English. It is the proceedings of the Musicological conference in memory of 300 years of the horn in Bohemia, held in Brno, Czech Republic in 1981.

Vach organized a concert in the Great Synagogue of Plzen to raise funds for restoration of the synagogue in 2000 and died shortly thereafter.

Vach was honored with the Punto Award at the IHS symposium in Detmold, Germany in 1986.

Frank Franano

Frank Franano played in the Kansas City Philharmonic from 1943 (at age 16) and its successor, the Kansas City Symphony, until 1993, the last 25 years as principal horn. He also taught at the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City and had a significant impact on horn playing in Kansas City. At one point, the entire orchestra section was Frank and his students.

Frank was born in 1926 and began his musical studies with three years of solfeggio study with his father, an Italian-trained pianist, clarinetist, and opera coach. He was a student at Interlochen the summer before joining the Kansas City Philharmonic. He studied horn with Karl Schinner, Merle Smith, and, briefly, Alfred Brain. While in Los Angeles, he won an audition for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra but was immediately drafted into the armed forces.

Early in his career, he toured with the Claude Thornhill big band, the American Ballet Theater, the Virginia Symphony, and the Virtuoso Orchestra. Later he also played in the Filarmonica de las Americas in Mexico City and the World Symphony Orchestra, made up of musicians from 60 countries, which played Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and for the opening of Disney World in 1971. He also toured with Stan Kenton and Henry Mancini.

He was drafted near the end of World War II and played in the port of embarkation band stationed in Fort Kilmer NJ. A second draft in 1952 sent him to the 4th Infantry Division Band in Frankfurt, Germany, then into the 7th Army Symphony (1952-1954). This symphony was part of the Marshall Plan, an effort to improve the image of American GIs in Europe, at which it was successful.

Frank was instrumental in the formation of the Kansas City Symphony and served as its personnel manager from 1982-1995. He was the founding principal horn of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, performed with the State Ballet of Missouri, and taught at Drake University in Des Moines IA and Stephens College in Columbia MO. He played at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, an outdoor summer stock company; its first production was the Student Prince, at which Sigmund Romberg conducted the overture.

Frank received the Punto Award at the 1994 International Horn Symposium in Kansas City MO.

Werner Späth

Werner Späth was solo horn in the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich after World War II and a professor at the Zürich Conservatory of Music for many years. He was an outstanding horn player and composer, and also an amateur violist.

Späth is German, but he fled to Switzerland from Nazi Germany.

Späth was honored with the Punto Award at the 2007 International Horn Workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Xiang Fei

feiXiang Fei was president of the China Musicians' Association Horn Society and worked with Paul Meng and Xiao Li Jun to host the IHS symposium in Beijing in 2000.

Fei was given the Punto award at the 1995 symposium at Yamagata, Japan, the first IHS symposium in Asia.


Geoff Collinson

collinsonGeoff Collinson was principal horn of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (1990-2000), a member of the Canberra Horn Consort (1983-1988), and head of the brass department at the University of Melbourne (2000-2010), is founder and co-director of the Melbourne International Brass Festival, and is founder and Managing Director of The Music Page, a website dedicated to making musical performances and music education available to anyone over the internet. His dedication to music and music education make him an important influence in Australia's music world.

Collinson began studying horn in Melbourne in 1979, moving to Canberra in 1993 to study with Hector McDonald. Hector’s influence and passion for teaching has always been an inspiration to Geoff and has led to him teaching at all levels throughout his career. His aim has always been to teach others how to learn through the study of their instrument.

He has also been guest principal horn of the Sydney Symphony, Queensland Symphony, and Australian Chamber Orchestra; he has served as brass tutor at the Australian Nation Music Camp; and he was resident at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts in 2003.

Collinson received the Punto Award at the IHS workshop in Brisbane, Australia in 2010.

Hector McDonald

mcdonaldHector McDonald has been principal horn with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Concentus Musicus Wien since 1989, performing on the Vienna, Baroque, Classical, natural, and modern double horn. Over his 45-years playing brass instruments, he has also played tenor horn (alto horn in the US), euphonium, and trombone.

McDonald was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia in 1953. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Alan Mann and later with Campbell Barnes and Hermann Baumann. He played in the RAAF Band and the ABC Training Orchestra before becoming a member of the Berlin Philharmonic 1976. He returned to Australia in 1980 to teach at the Canberra School of Music. His playing and teaching have influenced horn playing in Australia and around the world.

McDonald performs as soloist with leading orchestras in Europe, the US, South-East Asia, and Australia. He is professor of horn at the University for Music and the Performing Arts in Graz, Austria ( and appears regularly at workshops and seminars around the world. He has recorded solos and chamber music, including Weber's Concertino and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante K.297b on natural horn as well as concertos by Haydn, Telemann, Förster, and Teyber.

McDonald received the Punto Award at the IHS workshop in Brisbane, Australia in 2010.

photo by Bubu Dujmic

Peter Luff

luff2Peter Luff hosted the 2010 IHS Symposium in Brisbane, Australia, at the Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium where he is on the faculty. He is also associate principal horn with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Luff cites Barry Tuckwell as his role model, and Tuckwell was Patron of the symposium. Luff also admires Hector McDonald and the American Horn Quartet, and they were featured artists at the symposium.

Luff was born in Perth, Western Australia. He received a music scholarship to attend Churchlands Senior High School, where he developed his interest in the horn. He continued his studies at the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium, graduating in 1986 and taking a position with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He has earned a master's degree and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Queensland Conservatorium.

Luff has performed with the Adelaide Symphony, West Australian Symphony, State Opera Orchestra of South Australia, Queensland Philharmonic, Queensland Wind Soloists, and Southern Cross Soloists. He has published and recorded arrangements for the Southern Cross Soloists.

Luff has conducted brass ensembles, wind ensembles, youth orchestras, and the Queensland Orchestra. He has tutored horn students at institutions and music camps in Australia, Korea, Japan, and the US and has adjudicated competitions at the Australian Academy of Music and Education Queensland's Fanfare competition.

Luff was honored with the Punto Award at the 2010 IHS Symposium.

Fred Fox

fox-2Fred Fox was honored at age 97 with the Punto Award at the 2011 International Horn Symposium in San Francisco. At the symposium, Fred presented an inspiring early morning session on playing accurately by applying the “hanging lip” or “sure shot” principle. He enlivened a panel discussion with his Hollywood colleagues Jim Decker, George Hyde, Alan Robinson, and Gene Sherry. His book Essentials of Brass Playing has been a bible for not only horn players but other brass players as well since its publication in 1974.

Fred was born in 1914 in Brooklyn NY and studied violin before he took up horn. He graduated from Juilliard and studied with Robert Schulze, Joseph Franzl, and Bruno Jaenicke. He was first horn in the National Symphony (1931-32), Minneapolis (1934-37), and Los Angeles (1944-46, following Alfred Brain), and then solo horn with the Paramount and RKO studios. He also played with the Chautauqua Symphony (1934) and toured with Xavier Cugat (1954), Stan Kenton (1956), and the Roger Wagner Chorale (1965).

One time when Fred was first horn in the Minneapolis orchestra and Ormandy was the conductor in Tchaikovsky's 5th, the dress rehearsal went poorly and Fred was called to the office. The concert was terrific and all the orchestra wondered what Ormandy had said to him. Ormandy told them, “I simply said he was good and not to worry.”

Fred has taught at the University of Southern California, Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara), Pepperdine College, and California State University in Los Angeles and Northridge. His students include Howard Hillyer, Henry Sigismonti, Hyman Markowitz, and Richard Linenhahn, Daniel Katzen and Jim Thatcher.

Since retiring from playing in 1969, Fred and his wife have traveled extensively. Fred has continued teaching part-time because he enjoys it, but although he practices, he “found life more interesting not worrying about jobs.” An early experience affected his outlook. At a lesson in 1930 with Bruno Jaenicke, Jaenicke told him, “Today we had a new conductor in the Philharmonic, and he told me how to phrase the Tchaikovsky 5th horn solo. He was wrong. I would have stood up and resigned from the orchestra, I have enough money, but what would I do? Sit by the fireplace and become an old man?” Fred determined then that he would “leave horn playing before it left me.”

Fred has contributed articles to The Horn Call: “The Key to High Notes on the Horn” (February 1971); “Playing a Simple Crescendo-Diminuendo on Middle ‘G’” (May 1971); “A ‘Sound’ Formula for the Hand Position in the Bell” (April 1979); “’Bull’s Eye’” (April 1981); “Decreasing ‘Clams,’ Increasing Virtuosity” (May 1998); and “1938 New York Philharmonic Horn Section” (February 2009). In addition to Essentials of Brass Playing, he has published a book of poetry: Kaleidoscope: The Many Facets of an Octogenarian, Everett Press, 1998.

In his now “old age,” Fred says a prayer each night! He looks up and says, “If anyone is listening, thank you for another nice day!”

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