Kristina Mascher-Turner: Dear Nancy, let’s start right off with the color purple! How did your love affair with this hue start, and what does it symbolize for you?
Nancy Joy: Kristina, this question made me literally laugh out loud…
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away when I was a little child, I was absolutely mesmerized by the color purple. This enchantment led me to wanting to surround myself completely with the color, much to my parents‘ surprise. They thought it was odd that their little girl was so adamant about the color purple and told me I needed to wear other colors. As you would guess, that thought process only “fueled my fire.” The color purple makes me smile and makes me very happy!!
KMT: How and when did you first become involved with the IHS?
NJ: My first IHS symposium was in 1980 at The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. It changed my life forever, for the better. The camaraderie, sessions, concerts and playing in the Grand Finale with 500 horn players, was an incredible memory that I will always treasure. The IHS became “a family” to me that year, inspiring me to continue to share the love of horn with many people!
KMT: Every international symposium has its own special vibe. What’s unique about IHS 51?
NJ: IHS 51 will truly be an inspiring, historically exceptional experience for all of us. From all that I have learned in working with our fabulous IHS 51 host, Jeroen Billiet, we will be even more connected to each other, when we experience the Ghentian Horn traditions. Also, IHS 51 is being held in a beautiful and historical location that will add even more ambience to the week of activities!! As you know, the architecture is absolutely incredible and our hosts, Jeroen & Rik, have planned a week of Featured Artist concerts and activities that will inspire everyone.
Let’s Wake that Dragon together and break the Guinness Book of World Records!!
KMT: On my way to Brazil for IHS 49, I remember texting you for some contact information. You casually sent a photo from your hotel room there, where water was gushing down from the ceiling! What are some of the strangest things you’ve had to deal with on-site as coordinator?
NJ: Every symposium location has its unique learning curve and experiences, so I have learned it is best if I arrive a few days early to help the host and learn about the logistics. That way, I can help others when they arrive at the symposium. I do not think the unusual things I experience are a reflection of the different venues.
My guardian angel just wants me to keep my sense of humor!!
KMT: When does the work begin on putting together an international symposium?
NJ: What has worked best for everyone involved, is working with a potential host for 2-3 years prior to their year of wanting to host a symposium. We begin with discussions of a unique theme, logistics, dates, various venues to house the sessions, accommodations, marketing, potential expenses and income, etc., etc...
We work together to present a bid proposal to the Advisory Council about 2 years before the proposed symposium year, one that indicates all the planning we have done and that shows every possible scenario of expenses and income.
Once the Advisory Council accepts the bid, the host and I then move forward, making all the pieces fit, in the symposium schedule puzzle. There are times that I speak with the host daily or a few times a week, as we plan an incredible experience for all the participants and solve any potential problems together. My goal is to make sure that a new IHS Symposium participant will be forever inspired as I was in 1980!!
KMT: As a performer and educator, you have been a strong advocate for new compositions. What have you played/conducted recently that stands out?
NJ: This school year, I have added several composers to my repertoire for both chamber music and horn choir music: Cathy Likhuta, Emma Gregan, Scott C. Young and Michael Mikulka. Their works convey unique musical stories and sounds, always fun to share with an audience!
KMT: You are widely known for your positive attitude and nurturing nature. What is it that gives you strength and fuels this positivity?
NJ: I start every day by reading inspirational quotes so that I am mentally prepared for whatever may cross my daily path. The upbringing from my parents and all my relatives from Kentucky and Tennessee are the many reasons that I love life and people. My parents are both positive in their mindset and always share that with everyone around them!! (The nut doesn’t fall from the tree!!) I also think that growing up, surrounded with bluegrass and gospel music gave me a very special outlook on living my life!!
KMT: Who, or what, currently inspires you?
NJ: This is a perfect and current question for me!! I feel very blessed and grateful this semester to have had two guest artists, Steven Schaughency and Andrew Pelletier, work with my students in master classes and lessons. I learned so much from both of them, and I know their teaching inspired my students!
Last summer, I was inspired at the Spanish Brass Symposium, working with Manolo Pérez, Miklós Nagy, Javier Bonet, Jens Lindeman, Carlos Benetó, Juanjo Serna, Inda Bonet, Sergio Finca, Carlos Gil, and Luis Gonzales.
Most importantly, my horn students inspire me every week.
KMT: Where would you like to see an international symposium take place that has never had one before?
NJ: As Symposium Coordinator, my first answer of course would be Antarctica, since that is the only continent that we haven’t been to, yet!!
But honestly, I think it is important to our society to reach out to countries and cities that we have not yet been to, so that we can share the love of horn and the IHS family with the horn players of that particular region.
KMT: Music aside, what are your other joys in life?
NJ: I absolutely love nature and animals. I guess that comes from growing up on a “nut farm”. I planted over 5000 walnut trees with my parents when I was 7 years old. I also de-tasseled corn for the Landmark Corn company in the hot, humid summer in Ohio when I was 14 & 15 years old!!
Our farm included every animal possible, except pigs. So I rode ponies, milked cows, gathered eggs from the chickens, hung out with the sheep and tried to stay out of the way of the peacocks!! Our peacocks were quite “moody”!!
My entire life has included experiencing the outdoors, so when I travel I try to include some time enjoying the natural flora and fauna of the area.