by Petra Röpenack-Schäfer

koster koster

Music brings us together - especially, in this case, the horn. For nearly 4 decades, the horn was the binding element between teacher and student. The farewell party on May 20, 2019, made it abundantly clear that Prof. Ab Koster has succeeded in passing on his horn knowledge and talent to generations of players. On top of this, Prof. Koster’s personality has made him a role model for his many students. This was a common theme in the many speeches during the event. It’s an extremely fruitful combination - a whopping 94% of his students hold positions as professional performers. 

People traveled to Hamburg from all over Europe and from as far away as Asia and Australia, just to celebrate with their former professor. Now that is true appreciation! Joy, respect, and a deep regard for one another gave the reception its character. This extraordinary atmosphere was enhanced by the beautiful weather, allowing the event to move outdoors. This was a good thing indeed, as it gave ample room to the ensemble of 40 players. They started off with “A Winter Fanfare,” a composition for 8 horns and percussion by former student Thomas Campbell (all the parts quintupled). Of course, it would not have been complete without the “Evening Blessing” (“Abendsegen”) from Hänsel and Gretel, a piece dear to the heart of every horn player, and which conveyed the solemnity of the occasion. The horn-filled, official part was followed by a beautiful party, ending on a lively note.

Gastefoto komplett

Where to now? Of course, the horn will remain a constant companion. Starting in October 2019, Prof. Ab Koster will be teaching natural horn at the Hannover University for Music, Drama, and Media. More masterclasses and chamber music concerts are set to follow - as you can see, a nice, relaxing retirement.

Short bio:

  • Born in the Hague, the son of a Dutch horn player
  • Graduated with a “Prix d’Excellence” from the Royal Academy of Music in the Hague
  • Further studies at the Folkwang Conservatory in Essen with Hermann Baumann (who described Ab Koster as “the leading hornist of his generation”)
  • 1977-1990 - principal horn of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg

  • 1990 - Career shift: international career as soloist and chamber musician, virtuoso on modern valve horn as well as natural horn
  • Many years’ collaboration with Jean-Pierre Rampal, Gustav Leonhardt, and Frans Brüggen (Orchestra of the 18th Century)
  • Solo performances, recordings, radio and television recordings/broadcasts
  • Tours to nearly every country in northern, eastern, and western Europe as well as the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan
  • From 2018: regular masterclasses for natural horn at the University for Music, Theater and Media, Hannover

Translation: KMT

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