Lowell Greer

greer1Lowell Greer holds a unique place among the hornists of his generation. Known for his musicianship and versatility with or without valves, he has received critical acclaim and international recognition as an orchestral hornist, chamber musician, soloist, educator, and horn maker.

A Wisconsin native, Lowell began violin studies at age 4 and took up horn at age 12 due to a hand injury. His parents, both college professors, changed jobs several times, so Lowell had many horn teachers, the most notable being Ernani Angelucci of the Cleveland Orchestra. Lowell returned to Wisconsin to study with John Barrows at the University of Wisconsin and then pursued studies in Chicago with Helen Kotas, Frank Brouk, Dale Clevenger, and Ethel Merker. While in Chicago, he freelanced extensively, performing with the Chicago Civic Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, shows, recordings, and as extra horn with both the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphonies.

Lowell joined the Detroit Symphony in 1972 as assistant principal. In 1978, he accepted the position of principal horn of the Mexico City Philharmonic and began to pursue his solo career. In 1980, he moved to Europe to better pursue his natural horn interests, and performed in Belgium as guest principal horn of the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He returned to the US in 1984, where he served as principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony until 1986. He also performed as principal of the Toledo Symphony from 1990-1997.

During this time, he won seven first prizes at six prestigious international horn competitions: Heldenleben (1977), Gian Battista Viotti, Vercelli (1978), Hubertus Jaachthoornfestival (1979), SACEM, Paris (1981), Jacques-Francois Gallay (1981), and American (1983, 1984).

greer2As a soloist, Lowell has performed on natural and modern horn with some fifty orchestras in the US, Canada, Mexico, and all across Europe, not to mention his appearances at numerous chamber music venues. His extensive discography includes four CD’s on Harmonium Mundi, including the Mozart Horn Concertos and Quintet, Brahms Horn Trio, and the Beethoven Sonata on natural horn, and a recording for Decca L’oiseau Lyre of the entire music of Mozart for winds performed on original instruments.

A dedicated scholar and educator, Lowell has taught at Wheaton College, Oakland University, Interlochen Arts Academy, the School for Perfection in Mexico City, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, and at the Carl Neilsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. An acclaimed expert on natural horn performance, his research has led him to become a maker of fine reproductions of classic instruments, and he has taught a course in natural horn building techniques at the William Cummings House since 1994.

Lowell was honored with the Punto Award at the 2008 International Horn Symposium in Denver, where he led his natural horn group, the Hunting Horns of General Washington.

Sean Kierman

kiermanSean Kierman and his wife, Pamela, have been driving forces in professional music and music education in South Africa. They are active in the South African Horn Society (SAHS), as founders and currently as sponsors and members of the Board of Directors, and they, along with other members of the society, were responsible for organizing the International Horn Symposium in Cape Town in 2006. Dr. Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg refers to Sean as the father of university concert bands in South Africa.

Sean was born in Portland OR and educated in China, Pakistan, India, and the US as the son of a diplomatic family. He studied at Antioch University (OH), then did postgraduate studies at Wits University (University of Witwatersrand) while playing horn with the SABC Symphony Orchestra. He played in the Durban Symphony Orchestra, then studied politics and psychology at the University of the Free State.

Sean established the Free State Instrumental Program and the OFS Symphony Orchestra. In 1979, he started the brass studies program at the University of Port Elizabeth, and in 1987 he moved to Cape Town, where he is head of brass studies at the South African College of Music (UCT) and coordinates the course in musical acoustics at the University of Cape Town.

Sean was honored with the Punto Award at the 2006 International Horn Workshop in recognition of his leadership in South Africa. An important aspect of the symposium was sponsorship of instruments for SAHS and Navy Outreach programs and a tour for symposium attendees to visit students participating in the outreach programs.

Milan Yancich

yancichMilan Yancich played in the Rochester Philharmonic for 43 years, taught at the Eastman School of Music, and published books and music through his Wind Music publishing company, notably Philip Farkas's books and Milan's own method and An Orchestral Musician's Odyssey. He was generous with his time and money; he initiated the Geyer and Alexander scholarships at the IHS from book sales proceeds.

Milan was born in 1921 and grew up in Whiting IN. He earned degrees from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and took lessons from Philip Farkas during some summers. He served in an Army band during World War II, then, in quick succession, played with the Columbus (OH) Philharmonic Orchestra (1946-1948), the Jerry Wold Dance Orchestra, assistant first with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1948-1951), principal and third with the Cleveland Orchestra (1951-1952), solo horn with the American Broadcasting Studio Orchestra (1953), and one year teaching at Michigan State University before being hired by the Rochester Philharmonic in 1954, where over the next 43 years he played all positions at one time or another.

Milan was life-long student. He studied with vocalists M. Birney and Professor Kraft at Eastman, tubist Arnold Jacobs, cornet soloist Bahumir Kryl, and Richard Moore of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.

Milan carried a heavy teaching schedule at Eastman, including teaching horn students, coaching woodwind chamber groups, attending brass and percussion juries and recitals, and teaching horn in the preparatory division. In addition to the Rochester Philharmonic (1954-1997), he also played in the Rochester Civic Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, and 27 seasons of principal horn with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. He taught at Ohio State University, Capital University, and Baldwin-Wallace College. He also taught for a few summers at the Morehead and Gunnison Band Camps.

Wind Music Inc. was first a partnership between Milan and Philip Farkas. Although Milan soon bought out Farkas, he continued to supply Farkas's books. Milan published a method book with accompanying records to demonstrate concepts and techniques.

Milan served on the IHS Advisory Council (1981–84, 1998–2001) and led the IHS scholarship activities for several years. He was given the Punto award at the 1997 symposium at Eastman. Tributes appear in the November 1997 and February 2008 issues of The Horn Call.

Gail Williams

williamsGail 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 Eric 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 Northestern 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) and received the Punto award in 2008.

Vicente Zarzo

zarzoVicente Zarzo Pitarch has performed and taught in many parts of the world, but especially in Spain and Mexico, and has written pedagogical works for the horn.

Zarzo was born in Benaguacil, Valencia and studied at the conservatory in Valencia.

Zarzo has had positions as solo horn with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica del Gran Teatro del Liceo de Barcelona, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the American Wind Symphony of Pittsburg, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and for 25 years with the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, Netherlands. He has been professor of horn and natural horn at the University of Mexico, the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and at the Conservatoire de Musique in Montreux, Switzerland.

Zarzo is a guest professor at Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de Valencia, Conservatorio Superior del Liceo in Barcelona, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance of the Balearic Islands (Palma, Mallorca). He has recorded the Brahms Horn Trio, the Hindemith concertos, works of Amando Blanquer, and the Mozart Quintet K452 with Radu Lupu (nominated for the Grand Prix du Disc).

Composers who have written works especially for Zarzo include Wim Laman, Jan Van Vlijmen, Hans Henkemans, Paul Ro, Eduardo Mata, and Amando Blanquer.

Zarzo was honored with the Punto award at the 2004 International Horn Symposium in Valencia, Spain. In the same year, the Valencia Academy of Music appointed him as “Insigne de la Musica of Valencia.” He wrote an article about his collection of horns for the February 1995 issue of The Horn Call.

Morris Secon (1923-2010)

seconMorris Secon was an inspiration. He was honored as Professor Emeritus at the Eastman School of Music in 2004, but he was perhaps better known to young players as the guy who would tell stories after hours at horn workshops and symposiums in rap sessions. He talked about occasions where he had jumped off a bus on impulse and ended up with a job. His most famous story was about winning an audition by playing a difficult Wagner bass clef E horn solo (Die Walküre) in F − the conductor (Reiner) did not notice the discrepancy and hired him then and there for the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Over the years, and especially in his retirement, Morrie developed a program called The Magic of Music, which featured various types of horns (animal horns, conch shells, alphorn, hose, natural horn, double horn) telling the story of music, and tailored to specific audiences (students, senior citizens, business people, musicians, etc.).

Morrie was born in 1923 and raised in Philadelphia, where his parents owned a bakery. A cousin, David Burchuk, started him on trumpet at age 10. He changed to horn at age 13 on the advice of a school teacher. He studied with Arthur Geithe, who had been brought over from Germany to play principal horn in the Metropolitan Opera, after Geithe came into the bakery and learned by chance that Morrie played horn. Geithe encourage Morrie to sing, and to sing on the horn, which became a hallmark of Morrie’s horn playing and teaching style. Morrie later studied with Lorenzo Sansone at the Juilliard School. He had one lesson with Joseph Franzl, who told him to put his horn in the case and never open the case again. The next summer found them both playing in the same section at Chautauqua. Morrie had played the year before in New Orleans, and the following year in Pittsburgh.

Morrie became principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 21, staying for 15 years (1944-1959) and teaching at Eastman (1950-1959). One day in 1949, his wife came home from a yard sale with stoneware by Glidden Parker, a noted designer. Morrie found out that Parker had barns filled with seconds. He made an agreement with Parker, convinced his brother to open a store in New York City, and soon the Pottery Barn became successful and expanded. Morrie left Rochester, free-lancing in New York City and teaching at Queens College and the Mannes College of Music while working with the pottery business.

Getting back into music full-time in 1968, Morrie was co-principal of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for one year, then became principal of the Rochester Philharmonic again (1969-1982). His designation as Professor Emeritus is confirmed with testimonials from such distinguished students as Meir Rimon, Dale Clevenger, Richard Sebring, Eli Epstein, and Barry Benjamin. After his retirement, Morrie spent much time giving hundreds of his Magic of Music presentations.

Morrie was honored with the Punto award at the 1997 International Horn Symposium in Rochester NY. Articles about him appear in the April 1985, November 1997, and October 2007 issues of The Horn Call.

Don Peterson

petersonDon Peterson played in the Utah Symphony for 49 years (as principal for 43 years), taught at local schools and universities, and eventually turned to piano tuning. He attributes his ability in piano tuning to his years of playing the horn. "Each note is made with a different embouchure, so you have to hear the note before it is played," he said. "Piano tuning came naturally to me."

Don was born in 1926 and started performing with the Utah Symphony when he was a senior at Provo High School. He was in the US Army for a time, joining in 1943, but the war ended before he could be sent overseas.

Don attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah and taught at both universities and at Mr. Olympus Junior High in Salt Lake City while continuing to play with the symphony. He traveled with the symphony. "We traveled all over Europe and in all but two countries in South America," he said. "We were the first to play in the new Abravanel Hall, the home of the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City."

Don learned piano tuning through the Piano Technicians Guild, is a Registered Piano Technician, and has been tuning pianos for over 30 years. He tunes over a hundred pianos for the LDS Church, twice a year. He is also a licensed private pilot, keeping up his license even at age 83.

Don was honored with the Punto award at the 1987 International Horn Symposium at Brigham Young University in Provo UT.

Jack Herrick

Jack Herrick taught for 30 years at the University of Northern Colorado (1972-2002) and maintained a full performance schedule during that time.

Jack was born in St. Paul in 1946. He started on cornet and switched to horn in 1960 on the advice of his band director, George Regis, at the high school in Stillwater MN. He studied with Christopher Leuba in MN, James Miller and Chuck Kavalovski at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), and an intensive 10-day course with Dale Clevenger in 1973. "All of these men had a great impact on my life and career. I am indebted to each of them for helping to shape my musical life," he says.

Jack joined the US Army and was stationed with the Norad Band in Colorado Springs CO between his undergraduate and graduate studies. During his teaching years, he was a regular sub and extra with the Colorado Symphony, principal with the Denver Chamber Orchestra and Colorado Ballet, and played with the Aries Brass Quintet in Denver and Rocky Mountain Brass Quintet at UNC. He also often participated in clinics and workshops in the Colorado area.

During summers, Jack played in numerous festivals, including the Colorado Festival in Boulder, Central City Opera, Idaho Music Festival in Boise, the Sun Valley Festival, Four Corners Opera in Durango CO, and especially the Peter Britt Music Festival in Jacksonville OR, where he was principal from 1977 until he retired in 2004 and where he appeared as soloist under all three music directors.

While at UNC, Jack recorded the David Amram Concerto for horn and wind orchestra with Gene Corporon conducting. He was a member of Denver Brass, participating in recording numerous CDs and videos, and he recorded Anton Reicha Wind Quintets on Crystal Records with the Westwood Wind Quintet. He was also one of a consortium of hornists (assembled by Thomas Bacon) who commissioned the orchestration and wind ensemble version of Mark Schultz’s Dragons in the Sky.

After retirement in 2004, Jack sold al his instruments and his home and moved with his wife into an RV. "I have discovered there is life after the horn, but I do still miss playing and all the great people I got to work with over the years."

Jack was honored with the Punto Award at the 2008 International Horn Workshop in Denver.

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