Hector McDonald

mcdonaldHector McDonald has been principal horn with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Concentus Musicus Wien, 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. He recently retired from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1989-2018) and as Professor of Horn at University for Music and the Performing Arts in Graz, Austria (1997-2018).

The Vienna Symphony stated, “A true legend bids farewell. Having shaped the sound and life of the orchestra for close to three decades, our Principal Horn retires. We will miss him deeply.” Peter Luff, Griffith Conservatory in Brisbane, says, “Next to Barry Tuckwell, Hector is the most influential living Australian horn player/pedagogue, and along with Barry was a major inspiration to me as a student and still is!”

Hector was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia in 1953. He studied 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. He appears regularly at International workshops and seminars.

Hector has performed 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 (kug.ac.at) 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. More recently, he has performed as Principal Horn with the Australian World Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle, and Simone Young.

Hector received the Punto Award at the IHS symposium in Brisbane, Australia in 2010 and was elected an Honorary Member at the IHS symposium in Muncie, Indiana in 2018.

John Clark

clarkJohn Clark has advanced horn playing in both classical and jazz improvisation, playing and teaching, recording, composing, and publishing. He is one of the first and one of the few full-time jazz horn artists in the US. He has been a leader and teacher in modern and free jazz and free improvisation. He received a patent for the “hornette,” an instrument with the same range as the horn but with a forward-facing bell. His book, Exercises for Jazz French Horn, has been a standard for both jazz and classical students since its publication in 1993.

John was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and grew up in Rochester, New York. He earned a BA at the Eastman School of Music, played in the US Coast Guard Band, and then earned an MM degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. John’s teachers included Verne Reynolds, James Stagliano, Thomas Newell, and Paul Ingraham on horn and Jaki Byard, Ran Blake, and George Russell for composition and improvisation. He taught at SUNY Purchase (2001-1008), then at the Manhattan School of Music.

John hosted the Northeast Horn Workshop at SUNY Purchase in 2005, featuring three IHS Honorary Members: Gunther Schuller (discussing the horn solo in Till Eulenspiegel), Willie Ruff (in performance with his duo partner, pianist Dwike Mitchell), and Verne Reynolds; although Reynolds was unable to attend, his 48 Etudes were performed and recorded by a series of artists.

John has freelanced in the New York City area and performed and recorded with many jazz and popular artists and ensembles, classical ensembles, and on films. His recording and publishing label is Hidden Meaning Music. His awards include the Down Beat Critics’ Poll (1979-1982), a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Award (1986), and IHS Honorary Member (2018).

Marie-Luise Neunecker

NeuneckerMarie-Luise Neunecker has excelled as an orchestral musician, soloist, and teacher. She has won competitions, served on competition juries, and recorded concertos and chamber works. Among her premieres is György Ligeti's Hamburgishes Konzert, which was composed especially for and dedicated to her.

Marie-Luise was born in 1955, first studying musicology and German, then completing her horn studies with Erich Penzel at the Hochschule für Musik Köln. Her playing career began with the Frankfurt Opera. In 1979 she was appointed principal horn with the Bamberg Symphony, followed by principal horn with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony (1981-1989).

Marie-Luise won the German Music Competition in Bonn (1982), ARD International Music Competition in Munich (1983), and Concert Artists Guild competition in New York (1986), and was awarded the Frankfurt Music Prize in 2013. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world.

In addition to the Ligeti concerto she has recorded works by Mozart, Strauss, Britten, Hindemith, Gliere, Glazunov, Schoeck, Shebalin, Koechlin, and Smyth. Volker David Kirchner dedicated Orfeo for baritone, horn, and piano to her. She has participated in festivals including Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Marlboro, Aldeburg, Risör, and Vienna.

Marie-Luise was appointed professor at the Frankfurt Academy of Music and Performing Arts in 1988 and has been professor at the Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler in Berlin since 2004. She wrote about preventing dystonia in the May 2017 issue of The Horn Call and was a featured artist at the 2017 IHS International Symposium in Natal, Brazil. She was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2017. 

Paul Staicu

Paul Staicu has been an orchestral player, a professor, and a conductor who escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in Romania to settle in France. He was solo horn in the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra (1961-1968) and professor of horn and chamber music at the Bucharest Academy (1966-1978). He founded and conducted the Constanta Symphony Orchestra in 1980, which later toured outside communist Romania, including the US in 1984 and 1989. He was denied a departure visa for many years, but in 1989, after suffering two heart attacks, he was allowed to leave Romania to serve on the jury for the Munich Woodwind Quintet Competition. Rather than return to Romania, he went to France, had heart bypass surgery, was advised to give up playing horn, and, as a conductor, founded a new orchestra in Montbéliard in northwestern France.

Paul was born in 1937 in Bucharest, Romania. He graduated from the Prague Academy of Music in 1961 and the Vienna Academy of Music in 1970. He won international competitions, including Bucharest (1953), Moscow (1957), Birmingham (1965), Geneva (1965), and Prague (1967). He adjudicated solo horn and chamber music competitions in Munich, Prague, and Cassello di Duino, Italy. His students have won international prizes and play in orchestras around the world.

Paul recorded the three Mozart concertos in E-flat as both soloist and conductor in 1987. He was awarded a Cultural Medal in Romania in 1968, the Richard Wagner Anniversary Medal in Bayreuth in 1974, and a special Life Achievement Prize and Medal of Honor from the city of Montbéliard. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2017.

Julie Landsman

landsmanJulie Landman is widely known and admired for her 25 years as principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, teaching at Juilliard, master classes at horn workshops, and as a proponent of the Carmine Caruso method. She has been a mentor and role model to many young horn players.

Julie was born in 1953 and aspired to play at the Met after attending the opera and hearing Howard T. Howard playing principal. She studied at Juilliard with James Chambers, Howard T. Howard, and Carmine Caruso. After serving as co-principal in the Houston Symphony, she won the position of principal at the Met from behind a screen through the audition finals, saying later that she was convinced that she would not have won without the screen.

At the Met, Julie specialized in the demanding Wagner and Strauss operas, but has also been active in summer chamber music festivals. She premiered Gunther Schuller’s Quintet for horn and string quartet in 2009.

In 2015, retired from the Met, Julie is still actively teaching and playing.