A musician’s life is often one involving traveling far and wide, touring the world and spending long periods away from home. As a young horn player, I relished traveling abroad, and looked forward to the next trip to foreign shores. On taking up a post in London in the late 1970s, the traveling became even more of a commitment, owing to the fact that I was working in so many different orchestras and chamber groups that I was often going from one tour to the next with hardly a moment to repack the suitcase − amounting in some years to spending over half of the year abroad!

First experiences in the many cities around the world I visited were fascinating − like the multi-level traveling experiences in Tokyo, with underground railways, overground railways, and a motorway system on several levels weaving its way through the railways and skyscrapers. First time in New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rio, Vancouver − all harbour fond memories of concert tours and the fun you can have touring with musicians.

One city I never saw much of, ironically, was the city I worked in most of the time − London! With traveling to work always a hard grind, it was not surprising that I was intent on getting home to my house just on the green belt outside the city as quickly as possible after work. In recent years however I have returned to London on several occasions with my wife and children primarily as a tourist, and I have found it to be a wonderfully vibrant and fascinating city. The children love it for the shops in Oxford Street, the cinemas in Leicester Square, the Covent Garden market, and eating in Chinatown. I love the architecture and the museums, the open spaces − green parks and spaces every few streets in central London (often tucked away unnoticeable from the main streets) − and a pub culture that just does not exist in Germany, where I live now.

So it is with great excitement that I note the IHS symposium this year is taking place in this very city!

The theme of the symposium is schools of playing, which will give a fascinating insight into the differing schools of playing and teaching that seem to have a direct correlation to the sustained high standard of playing coming from certain countries, like the Czech Republic, Hungary, and UK.

Like all symposiums the coming together of people from around the world is one of the main attractions, meeting and socialising with the great artists, from past and present, and immersing oneself in all things pertaining to the horn and horn playing.

I can only say that I am looking forward to it immensely and encourage all of you who have not yet committed yourselves to a holiday or workshop to get booking now, and do both at the same time.

You can be assured that when you “hit the wall” in getting “horned out” at the symposium you will have any number of alternatives to take “time out” just around the corner − see you there (the pub is called The 99 by the way)!

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