As I enter Washington State to attend the Northwest Horn Symposium at the Central Washington University in Ellensburg, hosted by Jeff Snedeker, I think back on the very first workshop I attended, and the significance it had on my own career
It was in Montreaux, Switzerland, in 1976; I was invited to attend by Paxman’s to demonstrate their instruments. All the in great players of the day were there: Barry Tuckwell, Herman Baumann, Peter Damm, Gerd Seifert, Frøydis Ree Wekre, to name but a few. I had recordings of all these people, as they were at the very top of their profession and, like many young players, I aspired to play like them. To be among such distinguished guests was a great thrill at the time, although I was not to know how it would influence my own career. It was Barry Tuckwell who, after hearing me play, got me an impromptu spot in the programme to perform Bach’s Badinerie for horn quartet. The quartet was me, Peter Damm, Ib Lanskey Otto, and Frøydis (if I am not mistaken - it was a long time ago!). This opportunity gave me the chance to play for hundreds of people, which spawned other invitations to attend other workshops – and then others – and so it went.
Horn workshops or, to use the posh word, symposia, offer a great opportunity for all those interested in the horn (pre- sumably to all of you reading this) to immerse themselves in all aspects of the horn, be it in performing, teaching, listening, participating, or just enjoying the many activities and to browse the music and instrumental exhibitions that are offered at every symposium. You may want to meet the very people you aspire to as a player yourself, or just take in the atmosphere, meet old friends and acquaintances, and make new friends.
You might well be considering attending the Symposium this summer and, with summer vacation not so far, you should waste no time in signing up! You never know, like me, it might just be the turning point in your life!
The 43rd IHS Symposium, hosted by Wendell Rider, will take place this year in San Francisco from 20–25 June - so what better opportunity to visit a great city and what promises to be a great event!
I will look forward to seeing many of you there! All the best for a sunny and successful summer season.