Under Construction - Backstage at IHS Online

by Dan Philips, Manager, IHS Online

under constructionIn the early days of the World Wide Web it was common to see “Under Construction” banners prominently displayed on many sites. In reality, every website is constantly under construction and IHS Online is no exception. Almost daily, updates are need to some aspect of the site. At the moment, we’re in the idea and planning stages of a facelift that’s likely to happen within the next few months. With a site this size and depth - as of this moment 1,361 content pages, 6,444 classified ads since we absorbed hornplayer.net in 2011, 472,473 visits to the excerpts section since we absorbed hornxcerpts.org in 2014, and 10,899 registered user accounts - that takes careful planning and execution to accomplish without disrupting normal operations.

One of the important functions of the website is offering online voting for Advisory Council members - this year’s elections close on April 15, so if you are a member and haven’t yet voted either online or by mail, please visit your online polling station, log in to your account, and vote.

In addition to the public facing content and services, the IHS website also provides officers, staff and Advisory Council members with record keeping, internal communication and voting, membership records and management, automated Friendship Project and club membership discounts, and a host of other services.

In addition to keeping all of that running, I construct and send the bi-weekly Updates from the IHS newsletter that lists new classified ads, teacher database entries and section listings, and of course, this Horn and More newsletter.

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Malaysia's Country Representative, Chee Ghee Sim

My name is Chee Ghee Sim, and I've just started representing my country, Malaysia. 

Malaysia consists of 13 states (11 in the Western Peninsula and 2 on the island of Borneo) and is a fairly "young" country as far as horn playing is concerned. We were a British colony until 1957. Music was then limited to the school marching bands, which are still very active today. Most of the school bands use either the Eb Alto Horn or Eb Mellophone for the horn parts, although some of the better-funded schools are slowly changing over to the horn.

I studied horn in Munich, Germany with Otto Schmitz and Johannes Ritzkowsky. After 4 years playing with the Staatstheater Cottbus in Germany, I joined the newly-founded  Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) from 1998, where I still presently play.

The MPO is the largest orchestra here (105 musicians from all over the world, including 6 horn players). The ensemble collaborates with renowned conductors and soloists. It has also hosted a number of prominent horn soloists in the past, including Radovan Vlatkovic, Marie-Luise Neunecker, Radek Baborak and Barry Tuckwell (as guest conductor). More info at www.mpo.com.my

Apart from the MPO, there are 2 other full-time orchestras in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The Orkestra Simfoni Kebangsaan (National Symphony Orchestra, 43 musicians with 2 horns) and the DBKL Orchestra (Kuala Lumpur City Council Orchestra, 50 musicians with 4 horn players). There are also a number of community symphony orchestras and symphonic bands in the capital as well as in other states; the most active ones are in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Johor Seremban, Pahanag in the peninsula and Sabah in Borneo.

I hope to able to form a horn community here in the near future by organizing gatherings, workshops, ensembles, clinics, etc. and with the support of IHS.


Angelo Bonaccorso - Country Representative for Italy


bonaccorsoSono Angelo Bonaccorso, professore di corno presso il Conservatorio di Catania e Terzo Corno presso il Teatro Massimo Vincenzo  Bellini di Catania e collaboro regolarmente con le migliori orchestre del panorama italiano.

In qualità di rappresentante dell'area IHS Italia con orgoglio posso dirvi che si stanno svolgendo parecchie manifestazioni che riguardano l'approfondimento dello studio del corno con ospiti internazionali, una di queste (in cui promuoverò l'iscrizione a tutti i ragazzi all'IHS) è la quarta edizione del Festival Cornistico Dell'Etna che quest'anno avrà come grandi ospiti Miklos Nagy, Zora Slokar, Nilo Caracristi, Guglielmo Pellarin e il direttore d'orchestra Antonino Manuli. In più per la prima volta ci sarà il primo Concorso Internazionale per corno con una giuria internazionale e premi fantastici offerti dai nostri partners Engelbert Schmid, Johnny Casalanguida e Magazzino Musicale Miceli. Il tutto con la supervisione della FEBASI (Federazione Bande Siciliane). Avremo conferenze, masterclass, esposizioni di corni e tanti concerti con solisti internazionali e tutti i partecipanti. Sarà una grande festa del corno che durerà 5 giorni dal 18 al 22 di Agosto 2019. Il tutto con lo spirito e la mentalità giusta che la IHS ha sempre insegnato a tutti noi.

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Representing the IHS in the UK - Amy Thakurdas

thakurdasAmy Thakurdas is the country representative for the United Kingdom where she was previously on the committee for the British Horn Society. This year she has encouraged players to join the IHS and attend the symposium in Ghent, Belgium. An octet from Oxford Horns will be performing, and this will be the first symposium for all 8 new members. Amy also encouraged her friends in the Coldstream Guards who also joined the IHS and are performing at IHS 51 in Ghent.

Upcoming events

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (one of the UK's most prestigious schools of music) is hosting a masterclass for Sarah Willis on 19th & 20th June at their conservatoire. The Coldstream Guards will be performing the Beethoven Sextet on natural horns on 25th April. Their annual 'Horns at the Movies 2' concert is 26th June. On 29th June they’ll be performing the Schumann Konzertstück. All concerts are at Guards Chapel, London.

Amy Thakurdas, N.D. is the musical director of Oxford Horn choir, which has ensemble playing opportunities for local players. Amy has played the horn for decades in London and Oxford orchestras, as well as in Los Angeles. In 2020 she will complete her two-year series of solo concerts titled Romance your Soul. Amy heads the editorial section of the Music, Health and Science column in The Horn Call.

Pedagogy - Play What You Know

by Tina Su

tina suOne of the most important things I have found in my career of teaching and playing horn is using positive reinforcement to help students build on what they already do well. 

At some point almost every student I have worked with has said “Oh, that’s just my old habit” to excuse a tendency in their playing that is less than desirable. Once they realize the tendency does not go away after a few attempts, they often jump to the conclusion that “it’s hard to break an old habit.” When I first started teaching, I made it a priority to come up with the best way to help them to “break their old habits.” I was successful with some students who were already prepared to break their habits, but not successful with other some students, who worked equally hard, or sometimes harder. No matter how many different approaches I tried, we would make little progress and the old habits would remain unchanged in the end. It finally hit me one day in a student’s lesson, and I suggested that the student “try building a new habit instead of breaking an old habit.” With this new goal, the student had an easier time focusing on building the new habit. 

Most of us are familiar with the power of positive thinking and how it affects our playing or life in general. I have decided to take this to the next level by reinforcing the elements in horn playing that the students already know and do well. In horn choir rehearsals, students often play with a timid tone when confronted with a technical passage. I found it effective to help them identify what they already know first, perhaps the scale patterns, intervals or rhythmic patterns, to establish the new/healthier habit, and then have them apply what they know with their best tone. By reinforcing what they know with the best tone quality they are capable of, students are more confident and are more likely to make the new habit stick. Tuning chords in horn choir rehearsals has also benefited from positive reinforcement. The quality of the chords is usually easier to identify when students play the chords with their best tone. I then proceed with the normal tuning procedure by building chords from the root followed by the fifth and the third. 

I find myself saying “play what you know” and “play  with your best tone” a lot more now in horn choir rehearsals and in lessons. The students respond to these comments with much more positive results in their playing. 

A native of Taiwan, Dr. Yu-Ting (Tina) Su is Associate Professor of Horn at the University of Northern Iowa and directs the UNI Horn Choir.  Prior to her teaching position, she was the third horn with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. As an active chamber musician, Su is a co-founder of the Wonder Horns (Taiwan), a member of the Northwind Quintet and the Northern Brass Quintet. She studied with William Purvis at SUNY at Stony Brook and the Juilliard School, as well as Verne Reynolds and Peter Kurau at the Eastman School of Music. Passionate about expanding the horn repertoire, Su has premiered pieces for horn and other instruments composed by Reynolds, Tsai, Lu, Schwabe, and Askim.  She also arranged several volumes of art songs for horn and piano; the first volume, Three Bizet Songs for Horn and Piano, was published