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|Volume 4 Issue 3, June 2019|
An unfinished version of this newsletter was inadvertently sent to some subscribers. We apologize for that mistake and are happy to present the finished version here.
Welcome to Horn and More, the e-newsletter of the International Horn Society! In this issue you will find an interview with IHS Honorary Member Douglas Hill and learn that he is also a jazz bass player. Horn history enthusiasts will learn about Jean Devémy and the 20th century French school of playing as well as “horn life” in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. You will read that “The Art of Playing with Others” is the key to a long and successful performance career. Appreciating that today we stand on the shoulders great artists who contributed so much through their artistry and teaching, we salute the 39-year career of Professor Ab Koster and acknowledge a posthumous award presented to Joan Watson by the International Women’s Brass Conference. We also reprint a 1977 article by the legendary Ib Lanzky-Otto, and learn of cutting-edge scientific research into embouchure physiology. WOW! That’s a horntastic collection of articles.
If horn playing fires you up, head to IHS51 Gent where you will hear fabulous hornists perform, stimulating lecturers speak, see exhibitors from around the globe and hang out with some of the finest people on the planet!
On a personal note, I have enjoyed membership in our extraordinary Society since my freshman year in college, and I am honored and excited to have been elected to serve another term on the IHS Advisory Council. Thank you, IHS members, for your trust in me to work on behalf of hornists world-wide. If you are not a member, I encourage you to join so that you, too, can enjoy the many benefits of membership in the International Horn Society.
Randy C. Gardner
Interview of the Month - Douglas Hill - performer, pedagogue, composer
Since starting this series a few years ago, it’s always been a desire to interview my former teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Douglas Hill. As a performer, pedagogue, author, and composer, he has left his mark on the music world. On a personal level, he helped to shape me as an artist and human being in ways I am still discovering today. The IHS is in the process of acquiring the majority of his compositions and books for our Online Sales, so the time is ripe to share his warm-hearted wisdom with you. -KMT
Kristina Mascher-Turner: A word that often comes up in conversation with you is “gratitude” - you’ve even composed a piece with the same name. Can you tell us about this work and its conception? What are some of the things you are grateful for?
Doug Hill: Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for authors to acknowledge all those who helped them along the way while simply writing a single book? Well then multiply that many times over. I’ve had a good life thanks to Karen, my wonderful wife and musical companion of 52 years, a terrific and loving daughter Emily, some absolutely remarkable teachers and mentors, a diversified and very satisfying career, generous friends and colleagues, many magnificent students, and above average good health. Lots to be grateful for. Without gratitude, griping and grief are allowed way too much room to dominate. The composition you mentioned, titled “Gratitude”, began as the third movement of an octet for horns (“Recollections”), commissioned by Michael Ozment in memory of his father. While writing for him I was revisiting the fact that most of my compositions are autobiographical (that can’t be helped) and are largely rooted in either empathy, compassion, respect, or celebration. The melodies in this piece felt so good to write and have continued to stay with me. I’ve had opportunities to conduct the octet many times, often with my wonderful students, thus revisiting my own feelings of gratitude. Recently I decided to create an unaccompanied version which then evolved into two short preludes entitled “Grace/Gravitas/Gratitude”.
KMT: Let’s go back to where it all started, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Who first set you upon your musical path? What were your earliest influences and experiences?
DH: My parents were wonderfully supportive. Both had musical abilities and encouraged piano for each of us four boys, and band instruments along the way. My older brothers played trombone and cornet, so I tried to be like them and learn to buzz my lips. That made the horn easier for me at age 10 than it should have been. By junior high I was playing tunes. However, my true musical foundation came between the ages of 12 and 14 from Kenneth Freese. He was a man doing exactly what he was meant to do, teaching music to a bunch of junior high school kids. He was there to bang out some chords behind my rendition of “The Beer Barrel Polka”. He showed me how to “slap the bass” and how to read basic chord symbols at the piano. He helped me to notate the tunes that were running through my head, and then he let me show off those “compositions” to audiences full of band parents. By high school I was in a combo playing bass gigs at proms with “Dickie Von and the Softones”, and I had started lessons with Jack Snider, an amazing, tough-love horn teacher at the university. I soon became very active in local jazz combos, playing bass with amazing improvisors like Duane Schulz and his family band, and Dennis Schneider, the trumpet professor at the university, earning some decent money in local nightclubs. All this early stuff laid the groundwork for my diversified career and my respect and love for teaching and teachers, as well as playing horn well, the power of all music, jazz, and great tunes!
Question #1: Jazz horn pioneer Julius Watkins, and the King of Pop, Micheal Jackson, spent several years (at different times) working for/collaborating musically with which music industry giant?
A. Quincy Jones
Bonus question #1: What nickname did Watkins earn during his time working with the answer to Question #1?
Question #2: Due in part to the incorporation of the Mellophonium (a forward facing F alto horn with a cornet shank) into a couple of jazz big bands during the late 1950‘s, hornists now have quite a large repertoire with 4 „horn“ parts plus big band. Name the famous big band leader responsible for the development of this instrument and with which instrument manufacturer did he collaborate?
A. Woody Herman and DEG
Homage à Jean Devémy
By Emily Britton
In the nineteenth century, with increased wealth from industrialization, the American public began to establish orchestras. Many of the musicians in these orchestras were immigrants, mostly from Germany and Bohemia. To this day, many of the instrumental traditions or schools in the United States are in the German tradition; the horn is no exception. Today, most American horn players play on German-style horns and focus primarily on Austro-German repertoire. Concertos by W. A. Mozart, Richard Strauss and his father, Franz, and Franz Joseph Haydn are standard works, along with sonatas by Paul Hindemith and Joseph Rheinberger and the Johannes Brahms’ Horn Trio. The average undergraduate horn player will play three standard French works: the Dukas Villanelle, Bozza’s En Forêt, and the Saint-Saëns Morceau de Concert. A few will play the Poulenc Élégie or the Françaix Divertimento. Sadly, this leaves a wealth of French repertoire neglected by most American collegiate horn players. While it is important to learn standard repertoire, there are many hidden gems in the existing French repertoire.
In exploring twentieth-century French repertoire, it is common to see inscriptions “à Jean Devémy.” As horn professor at the renowned Paris Conservatory for over thirty years, from 1937 to 1969, Devémy had a powerful influence on the development of horn playing and repertoire in France in the twentieth-century. Thirty-one pieces from twenty-six composers, all French, were commissioned as examination pieces during Devémy’s tenure at the Paris Conservatory. Only two have become standard pieces in the American repertoire: Bozza’s En Forêt and the Françaix Divertimento. The remaining twenty-nine pieces are of mixed quality, but hidden in this collection are works that deserve more recognition and exposure and that reflect the rich heritage left by M. Devémy.
Jean Devémy was born in 1898 in Valenciennes, a French city located near the Belgian border. Initially, he was attracted to the oboe, but the horn teacher at the Conservatoire de Valenciennes, Arthur Cantin, had a “friendly and noble air,” so Devémy chose to study with him instead. In 1921, he won the Premier prix by unanimous vote at the Paris Conservatory in the class of François Bremond and began his career, playing principal horn with the Colonne Orchestra and the band of the Republican Guard. As a member of the Quintet of Soloists of the Republican Guard, he traveled throughout France and much of Europe, giving over one hundred fifty concerts. For many young French musicians, the idea of becoming a uniformed member of the Musique de la Garde represented the ultimate prestige, as many of the professors from the Paris Conservatory played in its ranks, creating a veritable showcase of the excellence of French wind playing. Devémy remained with the group throughout his career and welcomed several of his students as his colleagues in the horn section.
Teaching the horn in 2019 “The Art of Playing with Others”
by David Byrd-Marrow
Greetings fellow horn enthusiasts! I’d like to thank the IHS for the opportunity to contribute my two cents.
When I was in high school in Atlanta, my first teacher, Richard Deane, used to end all of our lessons with duets. It was my favorite part of the lesson, playing with an all-star hornist and trying to mimic everything he did. I even had one of his homemade bell rests (and this was 1997!). In turn, I would play duets with my friends at school and in youth orchestra. I’ve since always loved playing duets, and I find the habit invaluable. I often travel with some sort of a duet book. It’s a great way to get to know your peers and have a good time, not to mention a great way to stay in shape. It also embodies the essence of most of what we do as musicians: listening, reacting and adjusting. You inevitably get inside the headspace of your partner, and it becomes a transcendent connection. I almost always feel closer to people after having had a duet hang.
After 15 years of freelancing in NYC, I’ve spent a lot of time considering what it is that gets you hired back to the gig. Once you get past the nonstarters like being a semi-agreeable person who can generally operate a French horn, there are other details and characteristics that come into play. In one form or another, I’ve recently found myself answering the following question a lot in masterclasses and mentoring settings:
“To what do you attribute your freelancing success?”
Scrisoare din Transilvania
Numele meu este Constantin-Lucian Tompa și sunt cornist în orchestra Operei Naționale Române din Cluj-Napoca. Am fost prim cornist pentru aproape 18 ani, până în stagiunea 2017-2018, când am ales să renunț la poziție și să trec la cornul 2, 3, etc. De asemenea, sunt profesor la Colegiul de muzică Sigismund Toduță din același oraș. M-am născut într-o familie de artiști: mama mea a fost designer vestimentar, iar tatăl meu a fost violonist în orchestra Operei Maghiare Cluj, instituție în care acum profesează ca și cornist fratele meu mai tânăr cu care am împărtășit de mici dragostea față de acest instrument, Sergiu-Florin Tompa. Accesând acest link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx6ESO91HLE, îl puteți asculta cântând ca și solist alături de Filarmonica de Stat Transilvania în anul 2012, pe perioada studiilor de master. Amândoi ne-am format ca muzicieni în orașul nostru avându-i ca și profesori de specialitate pe Vasile Oprea (pe perioada gimnaziului și în liceu) și pe Alexandru Marc (pe perioada studiilor universitare și a masterului).
Nu doresc să scriu mai multe despre mine, ci prefer să supun atenției câteva lucruri din viața cornistică de aici din Cluj-Napoca, oraș din România care are o populație de aprox. 450,000 locuitori și este situat în binecunoscuta regiune numită Transilvania. Aici, instituțiile culturale principale sunt cele două opere (finanțate de către guvern) și anume Opera Națională Română (care anul acesta sărbătorește 100 de ani de la înființare) și Opera Maghiară de Stat; aceasta este o situație unică, deoarece orașul nostru a făcut parte din Imperiul Austro-Ungar până în anul 1918. O altă instituție culturală importantă este Filarmonica de Stat Transilvania, formată din Cor și Orchestră. Principalele instituții care fac posibilă continuitatea învățământului artistic muzical în Cluj-Napoca sunt Colegiul de muzică Sigismund Toduță și Academia Națională de Muzică Gheorghe Dima.
Cântatul la corn are o veche și puternică tradiție în Cluj-Napoca, dar în opinia mea, cel mai important aspect este legătura care se naște între cei care cântă la corn. Forța care unește corniștii din întreaga lume este foarte vie și aici, creând o frumoasă comunitate de corniști care gravitează în jurul dragului nostru profesor Alexandru Marc, (în vârstă de 64 de ani) care este prim cornist în orchestra Filarmonicii de Stat Transilvania și profesor de corn la Academia de Muzică Gheorghe Dima. Un om foarte pasionat, instrumentist virtuoz, care ca profesor s-a zbătut toată viața pentru ca studenții săi să învețe și să lucreze în cele mai prielnice condiții, să aibă instrumente de calitate, o persoană dedicată profesiei, care a transmis studenților pe lângă cunoștințe valoroase, dragostea pentru corn. Nu exagerez atunci când spun că toți corniștii profesioniști care acum lucrează în orchestrele instuțiilor de cultură din Cluj-Napoca au fost studenții săi la un moment dat.
14th International Mozart Competition Salzburg
International Horn Society