Stefan Ruf

rufStefan Ruf is a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and jurist in Switzerland.

Stefan studied in Basel with J. Brejza, in Detmold, Germany with Michael Höltzel, and in Cologne, Germany with Erich Penzel. His chamber music playing includes the Orpheus Quintet, for which many composers have written and dedicated works.

Stefan teaches young students at the Basel and Zürich conservatories, and his students are regularly successful in competitions. He has developed a system of starting children as young as five years old on single B-flat horns. Stefan also serves on competition juries.

Stefan was honored with the Punto Award at the 2007 International Horn Workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Joseph White

whiteJoseph White was one of the founding members of the International Horn Society, worked with Bill Robinson in organizing the first International Horn Workshop in 1969, and spent most of his career teaching horn and theory at Florida State University. "He was a truly wonderful person and a very thorough teacher in everything that he did," says Bill.

Joe attended Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Mason Jones, James Chambers, and Joseph Eger, studying with Anton Horner, whom he greatly admired. He later earned a doctorate at the University of Michigan and immediately started teaching at Florida State, where he also took on many administrative duties. He even worked part-time after his retirement until his death while working in his office on a Saturday.

Joe was an IHS Advisory Board member (1971-1974). He led the committee to draft the constitution for the IHS in 1971, appointing Alex Grieve, Michael Höltzel, Harry Hoffman, Robert Marsh, Lowell Shaw, and James Winter to work with him. He was honored with the Punto Award at the 25th IHS symposium in Tallahassee FL in 1993.

Robert Creech

Robert Edward Creech has been a professional horn player, a teacher, and an arts and education administrator. He migrated from western Canada to Ontario, then on to England, and finally to Ireland.

Creech was born in Victoria BC in 1928. He earned a BA in history and music in 1954 and an MM in history in 1974 at the University of British Columbia. He also studied at the University of Manitoba. He and Eugene Rittich studied horn with Douglas Kent in Victoria during the 1940s.

Creech played in many Canadian orchestras: Victoria, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, and CBC symphony orchestras, and the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra. He performed widely as a soloist in Canada and the US and recorded with the Baroque Strings, the Vancouver Woodwind Quintet, and the Purcell String Quartet. While principal horn with the Vancouver Symphony (1958-1976), he was chairman of the Music Committee of the Vancouver Arts Council, which established the Vancouver Academy of Music and restored the Orpheum Theatre.

Creech taught at the University of British Columbia, was founder and first chairman of the music department of Vancouver Community College, and was music director (1970-1985) of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre, now called Comox Valley Youth Music Centre, on Vancouver Island.

Creech became professor and chairman of the Performance Department at the University of Western Ontario in 1976. In 1987, he was appointed Vice Principal and Director of Planning of the Royal Conservatory of Music, implementing its the transition from a division of the University of Toronto into an independent institution. He was a also director of the Canadian Music Council and chairman of the Arts Advisory Council of the Canada Council. He and G. Campbell Trowsdale wrote a report on Orchestras Ontario (1988) and Independent and Affiliated Non-profit Conservatory-type Music Schools in Canada (1988).

Creech became chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society in England in 1991, overseeing the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Choir, Philharmonic Hall, and the Merseyside Youth Orchestra. In 1994, he moved to Ireland, where he manages an international arts consultancy, Arts Services Partnership. He volunteers as Artistic Director of Summer Music on the Shannon, a summer music school and festival.

Creech received the Punto Award at the symposium at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam NY in 1988.

Clyde Miller

millerClyde Miller elided a forty-year playing career into a thirty-year teaching career at North Texas State University (1954-1984), now the University of North Texas. Clyde is justifiably proud of his teaching career: his students have won IHS competitions and are playing in major orchestras and teaching at universities.

Clyde was born in 1917 and raised in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. His music training started with piano. He began playing horn in the sixth grade – he "wanted something to blow." He progressed from a mellophone, then to a Conn single F horn.
Clyde's greatest early influence was Louis Dufrasne, with whom he studied for six years, from his second year of high school through a BME degree at Northwestern University. Dufrasne taught few students, but another of his students at that time was Philip Farkas. The basic warm-up that they both learned is published in Farkas's The Art of French Horn Playing. Clyde attributes his love for a singing, flowing style of playing and his method of teaching to Dufrasne.

Carl Geyer made a matching pair of double horns in 1924; Dufrasne bought one and Clyde the other. Clyde played this horn his entire career. When Dufrasne died in 1941, Clyde purchased the matching horn from his widow.

Clyde played his first professional job after his sophomore year at college as principal horn in a Grant Park concert with Max Pottag on second. In his senior year, Clyde performed the Strauss Concerto No. 1 with the student orchestra.

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Bill Scharnberg, Clyde Miller and UNT Music Dean James Scott
at Miller's 90th birthday celebration

Clyde joined the Indianapolis Symphony immediately after graduation, where he was assistant principal to Frank Brouk, and later third, then co-principal. He played for three-and-a-half years in a US Army band ("time spent") during World War II. Upon discharge, he earned at master's degree from Columbia University's Teacher's College, completing it in 1947. He free-lanced in New York City, with connections through Richard Moore, principal horn at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and conductor Leon Barzin. He also toured with a brass quintet and in a trio, performing the Brahms Trio, and started a long association with the Asbury Park Municipal Band, returning during summers until he became principal in the Central City (CO) Opera, and later played in Dallas and Fort Worth musicals.
Clyde auditioned in 1948 for Antal Dorati, conductor of the Dallas Symphony, and won the principal horn position, where he played until 1963. He started teaching at North Texas State University in 1954, becoming full-time in 1963, still performing with the Fort worth Symphony for nine years. He was a member of the faculty wind quintet and performed solos with the band.

A scholarship in Clyde’s name supports horn students at the University of North Texas. Clyde was honored with the Punto Award at the 1991 IHS symposium in Denton TX. A profile appears in the April 1984 issue of The Horn Call.

Milan Vach ( -2000)

Milan Vach was a forester and played the hunting horn. He was important in the Stich-Punto Society in the Czech Republic and mayor of Plzen in 1968. He organized a Stich-Punto Festival at Punto’s birth place Zehusice, near Zaslav, the court of his benefactor, Count Thun.

Vach served as a veterinarian at a slaughter house in Plzen and as a lay judge on the court. He was not involved in any politics and was highly respected, so the political changes did not affect him.

Vach co-edited (with Jan Trojan) a book, The Horn in the past and present of Czech music, published in Prague in 1983, available in Czech, German, and English. It is the proceedings of the Musicological conference in memory of 300 years of the horn in Bohemia, held in Brno, Czech Republic in 1981.

Vach organized a concert in the Great Synagogue of Plzen to raise funds for restoration of the synagogue in 2000 and died shortly thereafter.

Vach was honored with the Punto Award at the IHS symposium in Detmold, Germany in 1986.

Frank Franano

Frank Franano played in the Kansas City Philharmonic from 1943 (at age 16) and its successor, the Kansas City Symphony, until 1993, the last 25 years as principal horn. He also taught at the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City and had a significant impact on horn playing in Kansas City. At one point, the entire orchestra section was Frank and his students.

Frank was born in 1926 and began his musical studies with three years of solfeggio study with his father, an Italian-trained pianist, clarinetist, and opera coach. He was a student at Interlochen the summer before joining the Kansas City Philharmonic. He studied horn with Karl Schinner, Merle Smith, and, briefly, Alfred Brain. While in Los Angeles, he won an audition for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra but was immediately drafted into the armed forces.

Early in his career, he toured with the Claude Thornhill big band, the American Ballet Theater, the Virginia Symphony, and the Virtuoso Orchestra. Later he also played in the Filarmonica de las Americas in Mexico City and the World Symphony Orchestra, made up of musicians from 60 countries, which played Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and for the opening of Disney World in 1971. He also toured with Stan Kenton and Henry Mancini.

He was drafted near the end of World War II and played in the port of embarkation band stationed in Fort Kilmer NJ. A second draft in 1952 sent him to the 4th Infantry Division Band in Frankfurt, Germany, then into the 7th Army Symphony (1952-1954). This symphony was part of the Marshall Plan, an effort to improve the image of American GIs in Europe, at which it was successful.

Frank was instrumental in the formation of the Kansas City Symphony and served as its personnel manager from 1982-1995. He was the founding principal horn of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, performed with the State Ballet of Missouri, and taught at Drake University in Des Moines IA and Stephens College in Columbia MO. He played at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, an outdoor summer stock company; its first production was the Student Prince, at which Sigmund Romberg conducted the overture.

Frank received the Punto Award at the 1994 International Horn Symposium in Kansas City MO.

Werner Späth

Werner Späth was solo horn in the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich after World War II and a professor at the Zürich Conservatory of Music for many years. He was an outstanding horn player and composer, and also an amateur violist.

Späth is German, but he fled to Switzerland from Nazi Germany.

Späth was honored with the Punto Award at the 2007 International Horn Workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Xiang Fei

feiXiang Fei was president of the China Musicians' Association Horn Society and worked with Paul Meng and Xiao Li Jun to host the IHS symposium in Beijing in 2000.

Fei was given the Punto award at the 1995 symposium at Yamagata, Japan, the first IHS symposium in Asia.

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