A. David Krehbiel
David Krehbiel has been a quintessential orchestral horn player, and he is passing on that experience in clinics, a CD, conducting, and teaching. In addition to playing principal horn in the San Francisco Symphony for 26 years, Dave was Chair of the Brass Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a founding member of the Summit Brass as a player and conductor.
Dave was born in 1936. He took his first music lessons on the trumpet in his hometown of Reedley CA. He was in the eighth grade when he heard his future teacher, James Winter, play, and from then on, he knew that the sound of the horn was the sound he wanted to make. "Recently, I unpacked a horn I hadn't used for a while and out came this smell of an old brass instrument, moldy and musty. Instantly I was back in school again, opening a case for the first time, seeing this magic thing I was going to make sounds with."
He spent three years at Fresno State and played with the newly formed Fresno Philharmonic. During these years, he spent summers pumping gas at Yosemite National Park. "Every night I would take my horn up to Mirror Lake. The sound would float across the lake and reflect off Half Dome and seem to fill the whole valley. This was Horn Heaven."
His teacher suggested that he transfer to Northwestern University in his fourth year to study with Philip Farkas, who was then principal horn of the Chicago Symphony and had been Winter's teacher. A few months later, he won a position as assistant principal with the Chicago Symphony and remained there for five years, being elevated to the position of co-principal horn under Fritz Reiner. He left Chicago to become principal horn of the Detroit Symphony and nine years later, in 1972, went back to California as principal horn of the San Francisco Symphony.
While with the Detroit Symphony, Dave and Tom Bacon (also a member of the orchestra) played in a rock group, Symphonic Metamorphosis, which recorded twice for London Records and played a concert with the Detroit Symphony.
In addition to his position at San Francisco Conservatory, Dave has been on the faculty at DePaul University, Wayne State University, San Francisco State, Fresno State, Northwestern University, and most recently at Colburn School in LA. He is a member and conductor of Summit Brass and Bay Brass. He has taught and conducted at the Music Academy of the West for ten years. He has conducted members of the San Francisco Symphony in special concerts, including a performance commemorating the first anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. In 1998, the National Academy of Recording Art and Sciences presented him with a special award in honor of his many musical contributions to the community, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music named him Professor of the Year. He is also involved with the educational activities of the New World Symphony in Miami.
Dave has been a soloist with many orchestras. His CD, Orchestral Excerpts for Horn on the Orchestral Pro Series with Summit Brass, has been a boon to horn students everywhere.
Dave continues to teach, play, and conduct, including participating in IHS symposiums. He has contributed articles to The Horn Call and was interviewed for the February 1997 issue. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2008.
Daniel Bourgue, "who must surely be the last representative of the old school of French playing," has been acclaimed as one of the finest soloists of his generation, praised for his virtuosity, his tone quality, and the elegance and purity of his style. In addition, he is a renowned teacher and his publications are major contributions to the horn literature.
Bourgue was born in 1937 in Avignon, France and began his musical education there, studying cello, horn, harmony, music history, and chamber music. After receiving a Premier Prix at the Avignon Conservatory while still in secondary school, he entered the Paris Conservatory, where after eight months he obtained a Premier Prix in horn in the class of Jean Devemy. At this time he began his career as soloist and chamber musician, which has taken him throughout the world.
Bourgue has performed with the Orchestre National de France, the Concerts Pasdeloup, the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the orchestras of Munich, Sofia, and Cologne, and the Salzburg String Quartet. From 1964 until 1989, he served as principal horn of the Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris.
Numerous composers, such as M. Bleuse, G. Barboteu, G. Delcrue, M. Constant, A. Tisne, and E. Cosma, have dedicated works to Bourgue, and he has given premier performances of numerous contemporary compositions by Messiaen, Delerue, Pousseur, Jolas, Ballif, Constant, and Francaix.
Bourgue's publications include five volumes of the method Techni-Cor, a book Parlons du cor (translated into several languages), a transcription of the Bach cello suites, and numerous editions and arrangements of horn literature. He is a director of the publisher Edition Billaudot.
In later years Bourgue has been devoting himself to solo performances and teaching. He has been on the faculty of the Versailles Conservatory until recently (now retired) and frequently participates in conferences and leads master classes. Since 1987, he has directed programs for the National Youth Orchestra of Spain. His discography has been awarded Grand Prix du Disque.
Bourgue is President of the Association Nationale des Cornistes Français. He has served two terms on the IHS Advisory Council (1980-86), was host of the 1982 International Horn Symposium in Avignon, France, and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2008.
Frank Lloyd is renowned for his technical virtuosity, his musicality, and his willingness to share his expertise. Among many memorable performances at IHS symposiums are Paganini Caprices (with David Pyatt) at Tallahassee in 1993, the Britten Serenade at Tuscaloosa in 2005, and the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor at several symposiums (2006-2008).
Frank was born in Cornwall in 1952 and began his musical career on the trombone in his school brass band at the age of 13. At 16, he left school to join the Royal Marine Band Service and was subsequently changed to the horn.
On leaving the Royal Marines in 1975, Frank went to study with Ifor James at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Soon after starting, however, he was offered the post of principal horn with the Scottish National Orchestra (now The Royal Scottish Orchestra), where he remained until 1979. He returned to London to take up a post with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and soon after that became a member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, the Nash Ensemble, and the English Chamber Orchestra.
Frank has been on the faculty of the Guildhall School of Music, Trinity School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and, since 1998, Professor for Horn at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany, following in the footsteps of the legendary Herman Baumann after Baumann's early retirement. He has toured the world as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician and has recorded much of the horn solo and chamber literature.
Frank is an Honorary Member of the British Horn Society and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. He has served on the IHS Advisory Council (2000-2006) and as President (2004-2006). He was elected an Honorary Member in 2009.
For more information on Frank's life and career, see his website .
Ethel Merker (1923-2012)
Kathryn Ethel Merker has been a pioneer as a woman in what at the time was a man's world of professional music. She has played with major orchestras, in sessions with recording artists, shows, and jingles and has taught at several universities. The diversity of her work is astounding. She helped design the Holton Merker-Matic horn and has been a clinician and spokesperson for Holton, now Conn-Selmer.
She studied piano first, then and started playing horn in the third grade. She studied with Max Pottag through high school and then at Northwestern University, where she earned BME (1946) and MM (1947) degrees. She free-lanced in Chicago and was principal horn in the Chicago NBC Radio Orchestra (1941-50), where she was the only woman and one of the youngest members.
Ethel has also played with the Chicago Symphony, Chicago Pops, Chicago Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Berlin Radio Orchestra, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, and the Boston Pops, and in shows in Las Vegas.
Ethel has recorded with the Jackson Five, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, John Denver, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Mimi Hines, Ramsey Lewis, Curtis Mayfield, the Smothers Brothers, and Quincy Jones. Peggy Lee insisted on having Ethel in her orchestra and Johnny Mathis called her his favorite horn player. At the Universal Studios in Chicago, a set-up called the Ethel Merker Flying Wedge put Ethel in front, with two trombones, three trumpets, four woodwinds, five rhythm, six violins, and seven low strings. Jingles include Marlboro, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Budweiser, and United Airlines.
She has been on the faculty of Indiana University, DePaul University, Vandercook College of Music (Chicago), Northwestern University, and Valparaiso University. Students include Dan Phillips, Randy Gardner, Herbert Winslow, Jack Dressler, Eric Terwillinger, and Oto Carillo. Ethel believes in exposing students to all types of music. Vandercook College conferred an honorary Doctor of Music degree on her in 1995.
Ethel was a colleague of Philip Farkas, assisting him in the Chicago Symphony on many occasions. They often discussed horns and horn design, and Farkas took her along to the Holton Elkhorn, WI factory to play and listen to the horns he was developing. In 1995 the owner of Holton, Vito Pascucci, asked Ethel to help produce a new horn design. Ethel worked with engineer Larry Ramirez to develop the Merker-Matic.
Ethel has participated in horn workshops and symposiums as a Holton clinician. She was presented with the International Women's Brass Conference Pioneer Recognition Award in 2001 and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 2009.
Anthony Halstead has been a leader in the period instrument movement as horn player, harpsichordist, scholar, advisor, and conductor. He is a teacher who has influenced many professionals and is a coach of amateur hornists and other musicians. As an inventive technician, he has developed a range of mouthpieces (with Tony Chidell) and other aids to better sound production.
Halstead was born in 1945 in Manchester, England, attending Chetham’s School and the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he studied piano, horn, organ, and composition. At the suggestion of his horn teacher, Sydney Coulston, Halstead specialized in horn. He was principal horn in the BBC Scottish Symphony in 1966, later a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and first horn in the English Chamber Orchestra (1973-1986). It was during his tenure with the ECO that he became interested in the natural horn.
Halstead recalls a lecture-recital with Barry Tuckwell and Horace Fitzpatrick (author of The Horn and Horn Playing and the Austro-Bohemian Tradition from 1680-1830). Tuckwell played a fragment of a Mozart concerto or the Beethoven sonata on the modern horn, and then Fitzpatrick played the same passage on the natural horn. "I was utterly fascinated and charmed by the range of color," says Halstead, "as well as the appropriateness of the use of the stopped notes to either enhance a musical phrase or to bring some dramatic point to life."
After leaving college, Halstead took several lessons with Horace Fitzpatrick and Myron Bloom. He also studied harpsichord with George Malcolm and conducting with Michael Rose and Sir Charles Mackerras.
His first public performances on natural horn occurred in 1973: the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and the Telemann Concerto a tré for horn and recorder. He played on a Paxman hand horn (basically a modern horn with the valves removed) with the orchestra all on modern instruments. He has since been associated with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and especially Hanover Band, has taught at the Guildhall School of Music, and is active as a private teacher and in the British Horn Society.
Halstead's work as a conductor in the period-instrument movement takes him to modern orchestras whose players, using conventional instruments, wish to develop a stylistic awareness of authentic practice in the baroque, classical, and romantic eras. He has a special empathy with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, and the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra.
Halstead made his first solo CD in 1986, recording Weber’s Concertino on the natural horn with the Hanover Band for Nimbus. This been re-released. Halstead completed a seven-year project with the Hanover Band, recording on 22 CDs all the orchestral music of J.C. Bach and playing solo harpsichord or fortepiano in the 27 keyboard concertos, directing the orchestra from the keyboard.
Other solo CDs include the Concertos of Joseph and Michael Haydn, and two separate recordings, six years apart, of the Mozart concertos, with the Hanover Band and the Academy of Ancient Music. On the modern horn he has recorded the Britten Serenade with American tenor Jerry Hadley.
Halstead was elected an Honorary Member at the 2010 IHS Symposium in Brisbane, Australia. He is also an Honorary Member of the British Horn Society. Paul Austin interviewed him in the February 1996 issue of The Horn Call.
Charles (Chuck) Kavalovski retired in 1997 after serving as principal horn in the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. He won this position with an unusual background for a horn player – a PhD and career in nuclear physics, and playing only in chamber ensembles and community orchestras. While teaching nuclear physics, he decided he wanted to see what he could do for a career as a horn player, so he took and won several auditions for principal horn. He played first horn in Denver for a year, during which results from other auditions came in, including first horn in the Boston Symphony, the position he took the following season.
Chuck was born in 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the oldest of five children of Polish immigrants who wanted to give their children an education and musical training. His mother insisted he take piano lessons, which he hated. When he entered high school, his mother bought a Pan American single F horn and said that if he played the horn, he could quit the piano.
His college education led to a master’s degree in mathematics and another in business administration, plus a PhD in nuclear physics. Music was primarily a hobby, but he studied privately with the successive principal horns of the Minnesota Orchestra: Waldemar Linder, Christopher Leuba, and Robert Elworthy. In fact, he found a high correlation between science and music, and he and his colleagues in the Physics Department formed a wind quintet.
Chuck was on the physics faculties of the University of Washington in Seattle, University of Lowell in Massachusetts, now the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (while doing research at MIT), and Eastern Washington State College in Spokane. He has taught horn at Boston University and the University of Minnesota. He recommends a daily routine for all players, including spending time on fundamentals, starting every day learning to play the instrument over again so that technique does not deteriorate.
"I've been lucky to have two careers," he comments. "In this day and age, you have to specialize. I loved physics, but I also wanted to play the horn. Fortunately, I've been able to do both." He is also lucky, he says, "to have had the best horn job in the US." The BSO has the best hall, good management/orchestra relations (no strikes), and Ozawa was flexible with scheduling. Chuck had a say in hiring everyone in the section, and they were great colleagues. Boston is the "easiest large city to live in," the orchestra has summers at Tanglewood, and Chuck particularly appreciated the BSO Chamber Players, a unique arrangement for the first chair players, who don't play Pops. Boston also has a wonderful tradition of a public attitude that respects musicians as much as it does, for example, physicists.
Chuck has always been disciplined in his practicing, studying, work, and taking care of himself. He advises his students to train, physically, like an athlete. Because he had no formal musical education, his real training began on the job in Boston. He listened carefully to his colleagues in the orchestra and benefited from manuals written for Olympic and professional athletes. He values the ability to “focus on the passage in question while I’m playing it – note by note, so intently that everything else is shut out.”
Discipline helped Chuck recover from a serious fall off the roof of his house, landing on his head. He has no long-term effects, but for several months he was physically debilitated and could not move much. He pushed his recovery, walking before he was supposed to be out of bed, for example, starting slowly on the horn but then increasing his pace.
The BSO audition committee members were not sure they wanted to hire someone with a degree in nuclear physics and not much orchestral experience. They asked him to sight-read something and he responded that, if he won the job, he would never be sight-reading for them. They let him take the piece, practice it for an hour, and return to play it. He began his BSO tenure at Tanglewood and practiced on his apartment balcony in the rain and sun during the weeks before the summer series to prepare himself for the weather. He explained that he won all the jobs he did and performed so well for years in the BSO because he knew how to study – he was an excellent student.
Since retiring from the BSO, Chuck recorded 14 CDs of Reicha quintets with the Westwood Wind Quintet, until back problems forced him to retire again.
Chuck most often played a Geyer, Kruspe, or Schmidt horn and sometimes a Paxman descant. When he retired he owned over 20 horns, explaining that one good violin cost more than that.
Chuck served on the IHS Advisory Council (1994-1997) and was a featured artist at several international workshops. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member at the International Horn Symposium in San Francisco in 2011. Interviews with him have appeared in the November 1976 and February 1998 issues of The Horn Call.
Robert Paxman (1929-2011)
Bob received a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the
Musical Idustires Association in 2010.
Robert (Bob) Paxman, MBE transformed Paxman Music Instruments from a maker of various instruments to one devoted to horns.
Bob's father had established Paxman Musical Instruments – as the company is still known – as a maker of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments in 1919. Bob began working there when he was just 14 years old.
It was Bob Paxman’s partnership with an Australian horn player, Richard Merewether, that was to transform the company into one specializing in horns. Merewether arrived in England in 1950 with ideas about horn design – especially f-alto and F/f-alto horns. Paxman began producing instruments in line with Merewether’s philosophy, and the two men collaborated closely until Merewether died in 1985 – with around 50 designs to their joint credit.
Bob became Managing Director of the company in 1961. He introduced a number of important improvements to horn design, including the dual-bore system for full double horns, the dual bore system for double descant horns, triple bore horns, and lighter weight titanium valves. In 1993 Bob was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and received his award from the Queen – the citation said the award was “in recognition of his services to the musical instrument industry.”
A modest and private man with a quiet, dry wit, Bob remained actively involved in horn design and was constantly looking to make design improvements. As recently as November 2010 – some time after his retirement as Managing Director - Bob was awarded a life time achievement award from the Musical Industries Association.
Bob was elected an IHS Honorary Membership posthumously in 2012.
Gail Williams is admired for her tenure at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, her teaching at Northwestern University and at many clinics and workshops around the world, her solo and ensemble playing, and her support of new music.
Gail grew up on a farm in a musical family. Her mother studied percussion and viola; her brother, clarinet. Gail studied with Jack Covert at Ithaca College, then earned a master's degree at Northwestern University and performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago for four years before winning the audition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1978. She was assistant principal until winning the position of associate principal in 1984, where she remained until retiring in 1998.
Gail teaches at Northwestern University (since 1989), gives master classes at innumerable conservatories and workshops, is horn soloist with major orchestras, and is dedicated to performing chamber music. In 2001, 2005, and 2009, she has served as a judge for the Horn Solo Competition in Porcia, Italy and has coached young brass musicians with Summit Brass since 1986. She has been on the faculty of the Swiss Brass Week in Leukerbad, Switzerland for several years. Her music education degree and playing experience come together in her current teaching.
Gail is principal horn with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and was principal horn with the Saito Kenin Orchestra in Japan in 2004 and the World Orchestra for Peace in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009.
Gail has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, New World Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, and a number of regional orchestras.
Gail is a founding member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and Summit Brass. She has performed with the Vermeer Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Skaneateles Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Olympic Peninsula Chamber Festival, and she was the featured artist on a chamber music series in Ottawa, Canada with the National Arts Orchestra of Canada.
Gail is active in commissioning projects and has premiered new works by Dana Wilson, Anthony Plog, Oliver Knussen, Yehudi Wyner, Collins Matthews, and others. In 1995, she premiered Deep Remembering by Dana Wilson and Anthony Plog’s Postcards at the International Horn Society Workshop in Yamagata, Japan. In 1997, she premiered Dana Wilson’s Horn Concerto with the Syracuse Symphony. A year later, she performed the Knussen Horn Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Knussen. She helped commission Yehudi Wyner’s Horntrio, and was involved in the orchestration of Dragons in the Sky by Mark Schultz. She premiered another horn and piano work by Dana Wilson, Musings, in 2003 and performed the US premiere of a concerto for Horn and Orchestra by Collins Matthews at Northwestern University in June of 2005.
Gail can be heard on recordings from Summit Brass, including solo recordings 20th Century Settings and Deep Remembering, and Northwestern University’s Goddess Triology, featuring compositions by John McCabe and works for horn and percussion by Charles Taylor and Alec Wilder. A CD with the Chicago Chamber Musicians was nominated for a Grammy award.Gail has been honored by Ithaca College with a Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate. She received the Charles Deering McCormick Teaching Professorship at Northwestern University in 2005, which allowed her to commission and performed new chamber works by Douglas Hill, Dana Wilson, and Augusta Reed Thomas. She was a member of the IHS Advisory Council (1997-2000), received the Punto award in 2008, and was elected an Honorary Member is 2012.