While I prefer autumn among the four seasons, spring does bring a much-appreciated renewal of life—but it actually is autumn in half of the globe! Various celebrations come with spring across the northern hemisphere: in China, the Qingming Festival on April 5 honors ancestors with the ritual cleaning of cemeteries; and in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and parts of India, the Tamil New Year, Puthandu, is celebrated on April 14. In the southern hemisphere, meanwhile, our Aussie and Kiwi friends remember their military service men and women on April 25 with Anzac (Australia/New Zealand Army Corps) Day. In the United States, we are required to pay our federal taxes in April…which, while a necessary thing, somehow seems far less a time to celebrate. Horn players, at least, can always celebrate something with music, whether conquering the Kopprasch lip-trill etude or successfully performing a Strauss tone poem.
Along with our great anchor piece, the Pedagogy Column—presented this month by the inimitable Arkady Shilkloper—the April issue of Horn and More brings another round of Fearless Performance tips, and we will gain some fascinating insights into the musical history of Montréal, host city of IHS 55. Horn on Record and the Composer Spotlight have quickly become two of my very favorite educational resources (my students hear endlessly about them). We will catch up with people and activities in other parts of the world, including a Spanish-language interview with Nury Guarnaschelli; but I am most excited this month to introduce two very special people to you: Julia Burtscher, the Executive Director of the International Horn Society, gives us a peek into her work and inspirations; and Florian Dzierla shares one of his great passions (besides horn), that of illustrating, in our Ein Waldhorn Lustig panel. And, if this wasn’t a full treasure chest already, our own effervescent Angela Winter gives us Part 1 of her engaging interview with the wonderful Ukrainian-Australian composer Catherine Likhuta.
I truly hope you enjoy every fun and informative bit of this issue of Horn and More. If you have feedback or suggestions, or if you know of worthwhile hornists and horn events to which to direct our attention, or if you have something to contribute yourself, please don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing email@example.com. If you are seeing Horn and More for the first time, you can sign up to receive it monthly on the Horn and More page at the IHS website—please do that, and please share us with colleagues and classmates. Young or old, student or amateur or pro, we are here to celebrate you, wherever you are on the globe.
Mike Harcrow, Editor, Horn and More
Interview—Dr. Catherine Likhuta
with Dr. Angela Winter
Meet the People—Executive Director of the IHS
by Julia Burtscher
My name is Julia Burtscher, and I am the Executive Director of the International Horn Society, a position I have held since January 2019. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, USA, and I now live here again. I lived in Cincinnati for 14 years before my job took me for 10 years to Atlanta. In each of these cities, I have had many wonderful opportunities to play horn on an amateur level and to meet hornists who continue to be my friends.
My career has been with the North American railroad industry since 1999. I work for GE Transportation, and everything I do there revolves around proprietary software systems designed for shortline and regional railroads. These systems manage every aspect of operations, from railcar movement to communication with other railroads to capturing revenue and much more. I support our customers with the software, initiate implementation and training and troubleshooting and system testing while working internally to make sure our customers’ needs are addressed. For me, it’s all about the customers, and this translates directly into my role with the IHS as well.
Technically, I am a horn convert, having started on trumpet at age 10. I played trumpet for two years, then, as I transitioned to junior high school, I decided to switch to the horn because my two best friends played horn and I wanted to sit with them in band. Fortunately, my mom recognized that I should take lessons, and I was lucky to study with Mary Kihslinger at the University of Toledo. Ms. Kihslinger told me about the IHS, and she recommended I join, so I did. While I think I let my membership lapse for a period of time in my 20s, I have been a member for many years, and I always enjoy getting my issue of The Horn Call in the mail—and reading it cover to cover!
As Executive Director of the IHS, I view my role as “keeping the wheels on the bus and removing blockers.” Specifically, keeping the wheels on the bus is the administrative...
Horn on Record
by Ian Zook
Volume 6—James Stagliano
This month’s Horn on Record will focus on a collection of short Russian and French pieces for horn and piano by seminal American hornist James Stagliano with Paul Ulanowsky as pianist.
This album is fascinating for both the exquisite performances and presentation of obscure gems in the repertoire, and also for the unique marketing strategy of having this album released by Pfizer Pharmaceutical Laboratories as part of their Sinequan (doxepin HCl) Collector’s Series.
Released in 1971, Stagliano’s French Horn Masterpieces was one of eleven recordings comprising The Sinequan Collector’s Series. Moreover, Stagliano was well-represented in this catalog since the series also includes his recording of the complete Mozart concerti with the Zimbler Sinfonietta, as well as the Dvořák Serenade op. 44, the Strauss Serenade op. 7, and the Thuille Sextet op. 6, all with the Boston Woodwind Quintet and Boston Wind Ensemble.
A sidebar on the gatefold album jacket outlines the medical usage of Sinequan, a name brand for doxepin hydrochloride that was a capsule available in dosages from 10 to 50 mg. It was advertised to help “relieve excessive and frequently immobilizing psychoneurotic anxiety and depression” and that it “may produce a response where other antidepressant and antianxiety agents have failed.” Are we to assume that the fine chemists and marketers at Pfizer Laboratories found the sound of the horn a soothing sonic balm for their Sinequan patients?
James Stagliano (1912-1987) was born in Italy and emigrated to the United States in 1920. His uncle, Albert J. Stagliano, was a hornist in the staff orchestra of the Detroit radio station WWJ in the early 1920s. Albert later went on to hold the positions of principal horn in the Detroit Symphony (1929-1936), the Cleveland Orchestra (1936-1937), and as a member of the NBC Symphony under Toscanini until the end of his career. Needless to say, Albert provided much guidance and tutelage for James, who himself first played as an extra musician with the Detroit Symphony at age 16. James then joined the Detroit Symphony as assistant principal horn, performing alongside his uncle during the 1930-1931 concert season.
James Stagliano’s musical career flourished. He held appointments with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (1934-1936), the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1936-1937), as a Hollywood studio player in the early 1940’s, with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1944, and, as his final destination, joining the Boston Symphony as co-principal horn alongside Willem Valkenier in 1946. When Valkenier retired in 1950, Stagliano assumed the principal chair through 1973. Altogether, he served as principal or co-principal of the Boston Symphony for twenty-seven years.
In addition to his storied orchestral career, Stagliano was active in recording with the orchestras of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Twentieth Century-Fox, Universal, Warner Brothers, United Artists, and Walt Disney motion-picture studios. As such, he played on numerous films, including Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Fantasia. Additionally, he also gave the American radio premiere of the second Concerto by Richard Strauss at Tanglewood in 1949, the work having already been performed in 1948 by Anthony Miranda and the Little Orchestra of New York (both well after Gottfried von Freiburg’s premiere with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1943).
While this album does feature a few cornerstone repertoire choices with Dukas’ Villanelle, Poulenc’s Elegie, and Gliere’s Nocturne, this review will focus on the shorter and more obscure gems that are all truly wonderful pieces in their own right.
Feodor Akimenko, a Ukrainian composer noted as Stravinksy’s first composition teacher, gives the horn a treasure in his Melody. Stagliano presents this anthemic opening statement with a committed build to the soaring high points. Ample relaxation and elision of the notes allows the phrases to finish beautifully.
Stagliano presents another gorgeous morsel with Russian composer Alexander Gretchaninov’s Lullaby. The use of silky, softly-lifted portamento throughout this melody lends a sense of tenderness and compassion.
An arrangement of Faure’s Après un rêve showcases Stagliano’s well-known and delicate high range. The sonic activity of the high harmonics in his sound keeps the tone rich and complex, while his velvety articulation shapes lines without any hinderance.
Our last example comes from the French composer Émile Vuillermoz. While the title listed on the album jacket is simply Etude, this piece more specifically comes from the compilation arranged for horn by Edward Vuillermoz entitled Dix Pièces Mélodiques (published by Alphonse Leduc). Stagliano plays the featured stormy middle section with fleet dexterity, allowing the churning piano part to drive the tempo. As the opening melody returns, Stagliano’s smooth tone and sense of line once again impart a sense of space and timelessness. Enjoy this elegant performance of a forgotten piece.
While we cannot offer any Sinequan to our readers, we hope that this foray into the performances of James Stagliano has been a cure for any nagging earworms! Thank you for reading, and as always, please visit us at Horn on Record.
con Gabriella Ibarra
by Jeff Nelsen and Katy Carnaggio
Hey everyone, how do you get better at horn?
I bet we all could write a book on etudes to try, tools to use, mouthpieces to experiment with, recordings to listen to, how many hours to practice in a day and how to space them out….
But we want to talk about a resource that often goes unnoted.
What has helped us get better at horn? beyond ANYTHING else?
People. Your horn instructor, for sure. But also, the best friend you shoot hoops with or the serendipitous encounter you have with somebody during grocery checkout or the classmates you spend Friday night listening to mind-blowing recordings with over drinks.
“There is absolutely nothing more important in life than other people. Nothing. Not even the brilliant and impactful work you will do. Especially with your spouse, children, immediate family, and close friends—those relationships are where your deepest joy and meaning can and should come. Those relationships are what drive you to be and do your best in life.” ~Benjamin Hardy
We are basically saying that people expand our belief about who we can be and who we want to be. Our connections ultimately inspire us to do the work to be the best version of ourselves. They give us the inspiration to spend 5 more minutes in the practice room to figure something out. They offer us another perspective when we're stuck. They give us grace when we've forgotten how (or we're just too tired) to extend it to ourselves. The people in our lives are basically like an Eye of the Tiger soundtrack playing in the background of all we do…except not in an annoying way!
A lot of horn work is time alone in a practice room, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. You can build a community around you so that you can be all of who you are, try out different things, have it not work, and still be fully embraced. This is something we are both very intentional...
Rond het jaar 2000 speelde ik enkele seizoenen lang met de hoboist Maarten Karres en zijn vrouw Ariane een prachtig programma, rondom de vriendschap tussen Julius Röntgen en Edvard Grieg. Gespeeld werden de hobosonate van Röntgen, enkele liederen en pianowerken van Grieg, waaronder het stuk „Sehnsucht nach Julius“, opgedragen aan Röntgen (later “Resignation“ opus 73 nr. 1). Als hoofdwerk voor de hoorn speelde ik de suite Aus Jotunheim voor hoorn en piano, een vijfdelig werk, baserend op noorse volksmuziek. Om de genoemde vriendschap tussen Grieg en Röntgen toe te lichten, lazen we brieven en fragmenten uit een biografie voor.
De beiden komponisten maakten in 1875 kennis in Leipzig. Toen Grieg in 1883 Amsterdam bezocht, nodigde Röntgen hem bij zich thuis uit om te verblijven. Het plan was, dat Grieg 1 dag zou blijven. Grieg had Röntgen geschreven: „ik verheug me er bijzonder op, u en uw vrouw weer te ontmoeten. Zorg er altublieft voor, dat die ene dag 48 uur duurt!“ Het liep anders: Grieg zou een hele maand bij Röntgen blijven. Sindsdien waren de beiden Komponisten door een warme vriendschap verbonden, tot Griegs dood in 1907.
In de jaren daarna zou Röntgen maar liefst 14 keer naar Noorwegen reizen om Grieg te bezoeken, meestal in de zomer. Er werden dan dagenlange trektochten door het gebergte „Jotunheimen“ ondernomen, telkens ook met het doel, Noorse volksliederen te horen en deze op papier te zetten. Röntgen schreef hierover: „Jotunheim is een wereld voor zich, slechts in de zomer door herders bewoond. Met Grieg samen ging de reis per paardenkar en een roeiboot over het Sognefjord naar Skjolden. Het was een warme namiddag in augustus en we lieten, liggend op hooizakken, het grootse landschap aan ons voorbijtrekken.“ Later schreef Franz Beyer, vriend en reisgenoot van Röntgen, het volgende: „Na de overnachting in een berghut mochten we mee de wei op om de koeien te melken. Ook daarbij werden natuurlijk de Noorse volksliederen gezongen en deze werden nog tijdens het zingen, met het notenpapier op de rug van de koe liggend, quasi „vers van de koe“ opgeschreven!“ Uit deze liederen en melodieën is in 1892 de Suite „Aus Jotunheim“ ontstaan. Aanvankelijk voor viool en piano, als geschenk voor het 25 jarig huwelijk van Grieg en zijn vrouw Nina. In 1901 was de versie voor hoorn en piano, voor de bekende weense hoornist Luis Savart geschreven. Voor Savart schreef Röntgen nog een werk: Variationen und Finale über „Sankt Nepomuk“.
In de bovengenoemde concerten speelde ik het stuk uit het manuscript, dat zich tegenwoordig in het Nederlands Muziek Instituut in Den Haag bevindt.
In 2003 verscheen een gedrukte versie van de hand van John Smit (die heel toevallig ook mijn eerste hoornleraar was). Toen ik in de herfst van 2022 een aantal korte video ́s opnam om op het internet te publiceren, was het voor mij een logische keuze om enkele delen van de Jotunheim Suite op te nemen: in zijn genre (hoogromantiek) is het stuk een waardevolle aanvulling op ons repetoire.
Do you have a 13” x 13” space on your coffee table that just needs a little something?
A passionate musician and pedagogue, Florian Dzierla has always been keen to pass on his love of music. Solo horn of the French Air Force Orchestra in Bordeaux and horn teacher at the Gradignan Conservatory, he likes to share his passion by meeting and collaborating with people in a variety of situations. A versatile artist, he is simultaneously a musician, conductor, photographer, draftsman, illustrator, and visual arts enthusiast. He and his wife, Carine, live in Bordeaux where they are raising two beautiful and very lively young children.
You can discover Florian’s universe on Facebook and on Instagram and—if you scroll down—in the first of many whimsical, colorful illustrations he will present in Horn and More.
Ein Waldhorn Lustig
Composer Spotlight—Claude Arrieu
by Caiti Beth McKinney
For our April edition, I want to introduce you to a composer with whom I only recently became acquainted: Anne-Marie Simon, or as she is more widely known, Claude Arrieu. Born in Paris in 1903, Arrieu became a student at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1924 where she studied piano and composition with famous teachers such as Paul Dukas. There seems to be little agreement on why Arrieu chose to adopt a pen name, but a certain possibility is that her mother was also a composer who went by several different pen names, including Cecile Paul Simon, Guy Portal, and John Rovens. The second possibility is that all of these pen names use traditionally male first names, although Claude was occasionally a woman’s name as well. While this is speculation, it is quite possible to see how the choice to adopt male names could have been attempts to avoid the sexism rampant in the composition world during the 19th and early 20th centuries. While she is, unfortunately, not well-known today, she achieved a high level of success in her career prior to her death in 1990. Her extensive catalogue includes twelve operas, film and radio music, as well as chamber and solo works.
Arrieu wrote several pieces that feature the horn, including (as of now) an unrecorded piece for solo horn and piano entitled Le Coeur Volant. Since it is available to purchase, I hope someone will take up the challenge and get us a recording! More well-known is her Wind Quintet, written in 1955, which exemplifies the French neo-classicism popular during this period. In the movements of this work, the listener can hear elements pulled from jazz, Impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel, and much more. Check out a recording and enjoy!
Advisory Council Elections—Last Chance
Last chance to vote for IHS Advisory Council members! Voting remains open through April 15. Please log into your account at www.hornsociety.org to find bios for our nominees and to vote! Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by April 15, 2023.
Pedagogy Column—Find Your Voice
by Arkady Shilkloper
I played in orchestras for twelve years in Moscow, and while that was a great experience, it made me want to find my own unique voice in music and in horn playing. I mostly now play music that I write or improvise—even if I’m playing a piece someone else wrote for me, I’ll put my own stamp on it.
Every horn player can find his or her own voice on the instrument. I like to have students get away from printed music, but of course telling a student to just start improvising is very unhelpful. A good starting point is to imitate, on the horn, sounds that you hear in the real world. It could be whale sounds, or car alarm sounds, or sheep, dogs, cats, wolves, trucks, screams, or anything else. The point is to make your horn sound like something else instead of trying to play notes that someone else wrote.
Another great exercise is to imitate the intonation of human speech. By “intonation” I don’t mean playing in tune, but rather the ups and downs we make with our voice as we speak. For instance, you might say, “I learned something interesting at school today.” When I say that sentence, my voice goes a little higher on the words “interesting” and “school.” Also, there is a rhythm to the words: they don’t all come out as even eighth notes—not even close. You can use pitch and rhythm on the horn to imitate that sentence or any other sentence. Start by saying what you want. Next: repeat it with your voice, but without words, just with rhythmic pitches. Now play it on your horn, in the same way. This is a way to give yourself permission to just play, without playing something that someone told you to play!
There is an interesting practice called sound painting developed by Walter Thompson. It comprises a large set of hand gestures that the Soundpainter (who is the composer/conductor) gives to the players. You can look at the gestures on the website or develop your own. Get into a group of players who...
A Glimpse into Montréal’s Musical History
by Eric St-Pierre
Montreal International Jazz Festival (photo: gonzai.com)
Montrealers have always had great influence in the music industry, both locally and on the international scene.
From 1929 to 1950, the New York Metropolitan Opera’s primary conductor of French repertoire was Wilfrid Pelletier, founding conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Pelletier also founded the Conservatoire de Musique et d’Art Dramatique du Québec, where many successful musicians have been trained, including Joseph Masella, principal horn in the OSM from 1943 to 1969. Fun fact: for a while, Joseph and seven of his brothers—Raphael (clarinet), Pietro (oboe), Rodolfo (bassoon), Alfred and Mario (violin), and Paul and Giulio (horn)—were all playing in the OSM at the same time!
Montréal has always been one of the hottest jazz cities in North America. During the US Prohibition of the 1920s and ’30s, Montréal was one of the few places where you could still legally buy alcohol...which made our nightclubs and cabarets flourish. Montréal’s reputation was so infamous that it was nicknamed "Sin City!" This environment helped create famous Montréal-born jazz artists like Oscar Peterson, Maynard Ferguson, and Oliver Jones. Nowadays, Montréal's International Jazz Festival is the biggest annual jazz event in the world, taking place each year in June, with over 500 indoor and outdoor shows.
1969 provided a notorious moment in Montréal’s musical history: it was during that spring that John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their famous “bed-in” protest against the Vietnam war. This is where they recorded the song Give Peace a Chance live from their bed at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel. You can still rent the mythical room, but you will have to spend a few thousand dollars a night (and even in Canadian dollars, that’s a lot)!
Over the last few years, many musicians and performers from Montréal have loomed large on the international...