Eliz Erkalp Interview

IHS Vice-President Kristina Mascher-Turner interviews IHS 51 Featured Artist Eliz Erkalp (in French with English subtitles).

Pedagogy Column: Horn Playing and Teaching in Portugal

by Bohdan Sebestik


bohdanA few weeks ago, I was asked by Ab Koster to write an article about horn playing and teaching in Portugal. Here are a few words about the issue from my experience, knowledge and view. More complex information would require deep study. Portugal is a beautiful country situated on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, with an ocean, mountains, and valley, as well as a  Mediterranean lifestyle. Its history is long and rich - from the struggle for independence from Spain, wars with Moors, to impressive world discoveries and conquests at sea. It is breathtaking, the way Portuguese sailors navigated their boats to Africa, India, South America, Japan etc. Here the Portuguese  already demonstrated their great capacity and potential to achieve high goals, and it continues to this day.

When I came to Portugal in 1988 from what was then Czechoslovakia, it was 14 years after its revolution (1974). I could still see the consequences of the dictator leadership for a long time, affecting the economy, health care, education and culture in the whole country.

There were only two orchestras in Portugal, one in Lisbon and one radio orchestra in Oporto. I started my work in the 3rd orchestra in Lisbon Nova Filarmonia Portuguesa (a new international chamber orchestra). After a year and a half, I won the audition for a new international orchestra in Oporto, after the old radio orchestra was dissolved. During this time I already started teaching privately due to lack of teachers. Later I started teaching at professional music schools (sort of secondary schools or colleges for music ). After  Portugal joined the EU in 1986, it began to receive financial subsidies to improve its economy, roads, culture and also education. This contributed to the creation of a new professional music school. At the time I was asked to teach at three professional schools, where I started almost from scratch. There was enormous potential to create new future secondary and university students, future players and teachers. In 1995 I started teaching horn at the ESMAE in Oporto (Superior School of Music and Performing Arts), where I could fill an educational gap, preparing students for national and international competitions, jobs in orchestras and future teaching engagements.  At that time in Portugal, there were only 2 universities offering studies in the horn, in Lisbon and Oporto.

In the beginning it was not easy to teach horn in Portugal. It was considered a second-class instrument, known more for bands. The first-class instruments were piano, violin, cello etc. It was good to teach and play in the orchestra at the same time, to be active as a musician, playing great repertoire with world-class soloists under excellent conductors, as well as playing chamber music. Thus it was not only possible to invite my students to listen to the concerts, but also to be able when necessary to integrate the best students into the orchestra on their road to becoming professionals.

Read more: Pedagogy Column: Horn Playing and Teaching in Portugal

See you in Ghent!

By Tom Varner


varner2Hello to horn friends all around the world!  I am looking forward to playing and sharing with you all in Ghent this summer 2019.  It will be great to see many old friends  and to meet new ones. I've been performing at IHS events ever since Towson, Maryland (1985?), and it is always wonderful.  

At Ghent, I'll be performing on Thursday with the Mallet-Horn Jazz Band, led by Arnaud Delepine. It's a fantastic group, a kind of big band but only with horns and vibes and rhythm section.  We'll be doing music by Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, and also two pieces by me: Seattle Blues, and the Main Section from my suite Nine Surprises.  Here is Seattle Blues in its original form (three brass, four reeds, bass and drums) — the reeds and brass will be played by the multi-horns and vibes.  Here is Nine Surprises Main Theme (first three minutes or so) — This piece has a bit of a Bach cantata influence, with low group, middle group and high group weaving in and out — in Ghent all the groups will be played by horns. We'll have a blast!  

We also plan to have another special guest joining us--my old friend Arkady Shilkloper.  I've known Arkady since the early 80s, when we used to write each other old-fashioned letters in the Reagan-Brezhnev era ("I wish you peaceful skies!")  Here is a nice example of Arkady and me playing together in the Vienna Art Orchestra, on "Bruxelles ma Belle," a little bit ago, in 2000.  Arkady solos first. 

And lastly, I'll be leading a large horn ensemble workshop on improvisation, open to all, so join us!  This is an example of some of the wild and beautiful workshop sounds we made at IHS Regional Symposium in Indiana Pennsylvania, 2016 (thanks to Heidi Lucas, George Marshall and Steven Cohen)   --Who knows what kind of beautiful sounds we will make in Ghent!  See you there! All the best, Tom Varner

Greetings from the Hornet Quartet!

Hornet Quartet 9When we received the news that The 51st International Horn Symposium would be hosted by Jeroen Billiet and Rik Vercruysse in the beautiful city of Ghent, it filled us with great joy and excitement. It is wonderful to hear that the biggest and most prestigious horn event in the world is coming back to Europe this year!  

The International Horn Symposium has a very special meaning for our ensemble. During IHS 49, wonderfully hosted by Radegundis Tavares in Natal, Brazil, we managed to win the horn quartet competition and give several performances. We also made a lot of friends, and therefore we are extra happy that we will be able to attend and contribute to the 2019 symposium in Belgium.

We are very excited to announce that during IHS 51 we will have the honor once again to share the stage with the amazing Virtuoso Horn Duo and to perform Kerry Turner’s Introduction & Main Event with the Royal Band of the Belgian Guides. We will also have the privilege to present our first, full CD album with original works by Włodzimierz Kotoński, Kazimierz Machala, Marc Papeghin, Walter Perkins and Kerry Turner.

We hope to see you all there, experience the magical atmosphere of the International Horn Symposium once again, and last but not least, give considerable support to the world-famous Belgian beer industry 

Michal, Lukasz, Gabriel and Piotr

An Exciting Discovery - Valery Kikta’s Concerto for Horn

By Hervé Joulain


Participating in the International Horn Symposium (IHS51) next July is very exciting for me for several reasons:

joulainI met Jeroen Billiet on the jury to select the horn professor for the Royal Conservatory of Mons in Belgium in 2016, but it was in Muncie (Indiana) at the 50th IHS symposium last summer that we discovered one another artistically. From that moment on, we began to communicate on many different topics, with no particular purpose in mind, bringing us closer together. Over lunch one day, the idea of ​​my participating in the next international symposium was born. This fit the desire of the hosts to feature artists from countries with a cultural link to Belgium. I liked the concept straightaway, and as it turned out, I had just discovered and fallen in love with a new concerto. Dreaming of an opportunity to perform it, I loved the idea of ​​introducing it to a wide audience due to the international exposure at the workshop in Ghent. Before last summer, while finishing up writing my method of advanced studies for horn, I was doing some research online. Totally by chance, I discovered the concerto for horn and string orchestra by Valery Kikta, a Georgian composer living in Moscow. I had to contact him, his family, and his editors before finally finding the orchestra score (thanks to a Russian horn player). Unfortunately, only the score existed, so I prepared a horn part and piano reduction myself.

Even though my proposal was immediately accepted by the IHS51 artistic committee, it was not possible to play it during the concert with the Brussels Philharmonic on July 5th due to differences in instrumentation with the rest of the program. Instead, Valery Kikta's concerto will be played during a piano and horn recital, after Emmanuel Chabrier's Larghetto, a concert I will be sharing with Bill VerMeulen on July 2nd.

 In order to promote the event next July, I already included the concerto of V. Kikta on a concert in Paris on December 1st. I must say that I had a great time introducing this masterpiece to an enthusiastic audience! The piece is complex and rich in its form and musical language. Indeed, both the different parts of the concerto (in a single movement) as well as the different elements of his writing for the horn are a marvel to me. The concerto requires a command of many different technical elements (staccato, a wide range, intonation in the low range, various special effects, etc...) but all to serve the music, not just to embarrass the player, or hear him suffer! In this sense, the piece is similar to Olivier Messiaen’s Appel Interstellaire, a truly inspired piece of music. I hear many influences in Kitka’s concerto - Shostakovich, Tchaikowsky, Britten, Prokofiev - in short, noble sources of inspiration for a work for horn! The musical language is in turn emphatic, melodic, sustained in the bass, rhythmic, chromatic, heartbreaking, contradictory; then the piece revisits all of these elements in reverse.

In the near future, I wish to offer an “up-to-date” version of this little gem for all horn players to enjoy. Music must be shared; it’s not the sole property of any individual.

Ghent 2019 will also provide me the opportunity to teach. I have given master classes in 22 countries, but never in the land of my Francophone neighbors! A Belgian horn player, after having ordered my method book, told me he has already registered for my class...

Jeroen Billiet also asked me to play a beautiful Belgian piece for horn and orchestra by Prosper Van Eechaute (1904-1964) entitled “Poème Nocturne” as well as “Collages” by James Horner.

Exciting moments await us in early July in the beautiful city of Ghent. The horn players of the European continent have no excuse to miss this tribute to our noble instrument as seen through the eyes of these very sensitive Belgian artists, because this year there is no football World Cup!

A sampling of some unrealeased live performances of Hervé Joulain:


Hervé Joulain has appeared as soloist with 120 orchestras, performing in France, Canada, the United States, Russia, Romania, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, and Spain. As a chamber musician he has played with Paul Tortelier, Vadim Repin, Gidon Kremer, Natacha Gutmann, Pinchas Zukerman, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Amoyal, Michel Dalberto, Alisa Weilerstein, Renaud Capuçon and many others, in Europe, Canada, the United States, and Israel.

He was named principal horn of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France at the age of 20, and then with the National Orchestra of France. He has also performed with the orchestras of New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Cologne, Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm, Munich, Boston, Seoul, also with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe,led by many of the great conductors of our time.

Joulain has given masterclasses in many French cities, as well as in over 20 countries around the globe.


English translation: KMT
Translation of artist bio: Nancy Fako