Jennifer Montone from the U.S.A. won the Paxman Young
Horn Player competition. The final, held at London's Guildhall
School of Music on Sunday 8 December 1996, was between Jennifer,
James Nickel, also from the U.S.A., and Rupert Johnston and Mark
Almond from the U.K..
Each of the four finalists played a demanding programme:
Mozart: Concerto No.4
Rossini: Prelude, Theme and Variations
Bozza: En Forêt
Mozart: Concerto No.2
Bourgeois: Fantasy Piece for Solo Horn
Cherubini: Sonata No.2
Franz Strauss: Concerto
Bozza: En Forêt
Marais: Le Basque
Mozart: Concerto No.2 (1st movt.)
Reynolds: Partita (2nd movt.)
Richard Strauss: Concerto No.1
In front of the distinguished jury of leading horn players -
Timothy Jones, Frank Lloyd, Hugh Seenan, Michael Thompson and
Richard Watkins - each of the finalists demonstrated playing of a
very high technical standard, coupled with remarkable endurance.
On the night Jennifer, accompanied by Andrew Black, clinched the
title with a display of considerable emotional power, which
demonstrated enviable security too, only nicking two notes in the
whole of her performance.
Jennifer's prize is a specially built Paxman horn, which will
be built to her specification over the next few weeks, and
presented to her in New York.
Mark Almond, who is 17, received the award from the British
Horn Trust for the Best Player of School Age.
The players in the final rounds were:
Neil Shewan (UK)
Born in 1978, Neil lives in Royston, Hertfordshire, and attends
Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge where he is studying
for A-Levels. His horn teacher is Willi Watson. He has been
principal horn of the National Youth Orchestra for the past 3
years, and principal horn of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra
in 1994 and 1996. He was a Grand Finalist in the 1994 Junior
Musician of the Year and a semi-finalist in the 1995 Shell-LSO
Catherine Rattray (UK)
Born in 1975, Catherine is currently in her final year at the
Royal Academy of Music where she is a student of Derek Taylor.
She has toured South America and Europe as a member of the
European Union Youth Orchestra. Solo experience includes
performances of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, horn and
strings, and Mozart’s 3rd and 4th concertos. She was a
semi-finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1994, and
prizes include the Lesley Regan Brass Prize in 1994 and the
F.Ayling Prize for outstanding student of the year in 1996 at the
Angela Cordell (USA)
Born in 1977, Angela is a native of Florida. She is currently a
student at Florida State University as a French horn performance
major. She studies horn with Dr.William Capps.
Ivan Vatchev (Bulgaria)
Born in 1974 in Plovdiv. Ivan is currently in his 3rd year at the
Plovdiv Academy of Music & Dance, studying under Stoyan
Karaivanov. Amongst other competition successes, Ivan was the
first prize-winner at the Second International Brass Competition,
"Nizhni-Novgorod Brass 1996". He has performed
extensively as a soloist and orchestral musician in Bulgaria and
Richard Steggall (UK)
Born in 1976 in Portsmouth, Richard is an Exhibitioner at the
Royal College of Music, where he is currently in his 3rd year,
studying with Julian Baker and Philip Eastop. In 1993 he joined
the National Youth Orchestra, and in 1994 was a semi-finalist in
the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. Recent solo
performances include Mozart’ 3rd horn concerto with the
Petersfield Orchestra and the "echo horn" part in Simon
Bainbridge's "Landscape and Memory" with the Royal
College of Music 20th Century Ensemble.
James Nickel (USA)
James, a native of Florida, is currently working for a Masters
degree at the New England Conservatory, where he studies with
Charles Kavalovski and Eric Ruske. At the age of 15 he was a
finalist in the General Motors/Seventeen Magazine National
Concerto competition. James has performed as soloist with the
Florida Orchestra, the Oberlin Chamber Symphony, the Tampa Bay
Symphony, the New England Conservatory and the New England
Conservatory Wind Ensemble. He is also a finalist for the New
World Symphony Orchestra in Miami, and works as an extra with the
Matthew Gunner (UK)
Born in 1974, Matthew was a Scholar at Wells Cathedral School,
where he studied the horn under Simon de Souza. From there he
gained a scholorship at the Royal College of Music, where he was
a student of Richard Watkins. He is now at the Royal Academy of
Music, where he is studying both with Richard Watkins and Philip
Eastop. He was a Scholar at the Prague/Budapest Summer Academy,
and was winner of the Gerald MacDonald Scholarship in the
Shell/LSO competition in 1991. He has taken part in
master-classes with Barry Tuckwell, Ifor James, Froydis ree
Wekre, Jeffrey Bryant and Hans Pizka, and has played with,
amongst others, the National Youth Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Youth
Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
Rupert Johnston (UK)
Born in London in 1978. In 1986, Rupert became a chorister at
King's College, Cambridge, where he spent 4 years before moving
on to Wells Cathedral School. Whilst here, studying with Simon de
Souza, he joined the National Youth Orchestra, becoming principal
horn of the Chamber Orchestra in his final year. In 1995, Rupert
won the Gerald MacDonald prize in the Shell/LSO competition. He
is presently at the Guildhall School of Music where he is a
student of Hugh Seenan.
Mark Almond (UK)
Born in Cheshire in 1979, Mark attends Bolton School in
Lancashire, and his horn teachers are David Cripps and Derek
Taylor. He started studying the French horn at the age of 11,
having been playing the tenor horn since the age of 8. At the age
of 14 he joined the National Youth Orchestra. In 1996 he became
principal horn of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra and
co-principal of the National Youth Orchestra.
Evgeny Chebykin (UK)
Born in 1979 in Moldova his family moved to Australia in 1995.
Evgeny started playing the horn at the age of 9, and started at
the Purcell School and the Intermediate School of the Royal
Academy of Music in 1994. He is presently studying the French
horn with Richard Watkins. In 1992 he was the 1st prize winner
both in the All Union "Youth Assemblies of Arts"
competition and in the Moscow Brass competition. In 1993 he took
the 2nd prize at the Moscow International competition and the 1st
prize at the International Wind Instruments Competition in
Rumania. He has performed as soloist in France, the USA and the
UK, and has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra since
Jean-Emmanuel Prou (France)
Born in 1970 in Nantes. After studies in Nantes and Ville
d'Avray, Jean-Emmanuel went to the Paris Conservatoire in 1990,
where he studied with Andre Cazalet. Whilst there, in June 1993
he won the Conservatoire's Premier Prix. In 1995 he moved on to
to the Conservatoire de Musique de Geneve, where he is currently
studying under Bruno Schneider. Jean-Emmanuel has worked with the
Orchestre Philharmonique de Pays de Loire, the Orchestre National
Bordeaux Aquitaine, the Orchestre de Bretagne and the Orchestre
des Concerts Lamoreux.
Jennifer Montone (USA)
Born in 1977, Jennifer is presently in her 2nd year at the
Juilliard School of Music in New York, where she is studying with
Julie Landsman, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera. She is
a member of the Juilliard Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra.
She has studied as a National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellow,
studying with Edwin Thayer, during which time she was awarded the
H.Stevens Brewster Memorial scholarship Chosen as a 1995
Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Jennifer has won both the 1995
National Symphony Orchestra's Young Soloist Competition and the
Wind Division of the 1994 General Motors/Seventeen Magazine
National Concerto Competition. She has performed as a soloist
with the Arlington Symphony Orchestra, the American Youth
Philharmonic, the Levine Metropolitan Wind Symphony and the
National Symphony Orchestra.
The world's most famous horn player, (and British Horn
Society President), Barry Tuckwell's final London solo
performance on August 13 1996 proved a sell-out, with tumultuous
applause following his lively performance of Mozart's Third Horn
Concerto. The evening was seen as the climax of what is a
nine-month Farewell Tour.
Early in the programme there had been a similar reception for
the first London rendering of Oliver Knussen's single movement
Horn Concerto, Op.28, the composer joining the performers on the
stage to receive the accolades. (A recording of the Knussen
Concerto is due for release on DG.)
The broadcast event took place at the Royal Albert Hall as
part of the BBC Proms season. For both concertos, Barry was
accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the Finn,
Esa-Pekka Salonen. A varied programme also included Stravinsky's
Symphony of Wind Instruments, Debussy's Nocturnes and Sibelius'
Orchestral horn players for the evening were Laurence Rogers,
Robert Maskell, Laurence Davies, Cormac O'Haodain and 'bump',
Barry Tuckwell's final British performances were to have been
with the Northern Sinfonia, playing in and conducting a series of
three concerts in the north of England in November, but sadly
Barry suffered back trouble, and his place as soloist was taken
by principal horn Peter Francomb. The bad luck didn't end there -
the concerts were due to include the world premiere of Richard
Rodney Bennett's "Swansong", but due to "a bad
case of writer's block" the composer was unable to complete
the work in time.
David Pyatt's debut solo recording of the Strauss Horn
Concertos with the Britten Sinfonia and Nicholas Cleobury for EMI
Eminence won the Prestigious Gramophone magazine Young Artist of
the Year Award. David has also been appointed co-principal
horn of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and has also secured
a three year recording contract with Erato. The first recording
to be made will be a recital CD which will be followed by a
recording of the Mozart horn concertos and Concerto Rondo with
the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville
Marriner, and possibly the Mozart Wind Quintet.
The New York Philharmonic horn section recently made
European news, and not just in London with their performances of
Till Eulenspiegel and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 under Kurt
Masur at the BBC Proms. In May 1996 Bob Osmun, the US
distributor for Engelbert Schmid delivered five of the German
manufacturer's horns to members of the section.
NYPO principal horn, the larger than life Phil Myers first
tried Engelbert Schmid instruments at the New York Brass
Conference in 1995, purchasing a full, wide bore triple in
December. In February he formally ended his contractual
relationship with United Musical Instruments, the manufacturers
of Conn horns. Phil has played Conns since 1969 and in recent
times has been the subject of a series of amusing advertisements
placed by the maker, The three other members of the NYPO section
subsequently ordered Schmids. These and a second horn, a double,
for Phil were delivered with only hours to spare before the
orchestra's final concert of the New York 1995-1996 season. The
result was that the quartet, Phil, Eric Ralske, Alan Spanjer and
Jerome Ashby, were able to feel confident about leaving their
Conns behind when they embarked on their European tour.
Their time in London included, as one would expect, a visit to
Paxman's Union Street shop where, we are pleased to report, Phil
joined the growing ranks of the British Horn Society.
Further to Jonathan Stoneman's interview in the Horn
Magazine with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, we hear from Richard
Watkins that the composer is now planning to write a full horn
concerto. As mentioned in Jonathan's previous article on
modern composers, Colin Matthews is also scheduled to write a
concerto for Richard which he now expects to perform with the
Philharmonia in 1999.
London Symphony Orchestra principal horn, Hugh Seenan was
married to Zoe Lovell in St Mary's Church, Dartington early in
September 1996. Zoe is PA to the film composer, John Debney,
whose recent works include the score for 'Cut Throat Island'. Our
best wishes to the couple who honeymooned in Venice.
Chris Huning was appointed Managing Director of Paxman Ltd
in July 1996. Chris, who hails from Bath joined the company
in 1989, taking over from Chris Tout as Sales Manager. He was
first appointed a director in February 1995.
Chris studied at the University of Leeds 1980-85 and Royal
College of Music 1985-86. He subsequently worked as a freelance
musician and, just prior to joining Paxmans, for Classical Music
Leading UK freelance, Pip Eastop has been awarded an Arts
Council Artist's Research and Development Grant to collaborate
with composer Edward Williams. They are exploring and
developing the use of the acoustic sounds of the horn in live
performance with prepared electronic modification of these
sounds, using the Composers Desktop Project software, and
articulated in real time, either by the player's own body
movements - or perhaps by those of a dancer - in four ultra sonic
1996 was a challenging and enjoyable one so far for the
horn section of Ireland's National Symphony Orchestra. Based
in Dublin, the orchestra's year began with a performance on
January 12 of Mozart's Concertante for 4 solo wind and orchestra,
conducted by principal conductor, Kasper de Roo. The solo part
was played by the NSO's principal horn, Lesley Bishop. It was
something of a rarity, performed with what is thought to be the
original scoring of flute (not clarinet), oboe, horn and bassoon.
the horn part is considerably more florid than the
"usual" version and made for a slightly less relaxing
Christmas break than anticipated for Lesley, but it was great to
have this enjoyable and seldom heard work played to such a large
and enthusiastic audience. Two weeks later Fergus O'Carroll, NSO
co - principal, swapped his bell for a baton and conducted the
orchestra in a programme of Wagner Rienzi Overture, Mozart's
Violin concerto in A (top B's night out!) and Schumann's
"Rhenish" Symphony No. 3.
Another very "horny" nights work!
February 3 saw perhaps the most exciting premiere held in
Dublin for some time - a new symphony by the eminent Irish
composer John Kinsella, No 6, scored for full orchestra with the
addition of three "off - stage" solo horns. It was
conducted by Prionnias O'Duinn, Principal Conductor of the RTE
concert orchestra and went out live on RTE FM3 Radio. John
Kinsella was formerly head of music for Ireland's broadcasting
company, Radio Telefis Eireann, who fund and manage the NSO and
knows us well as friends and colleagues. the inspiration for the
composition was his relationship with seven close friends over
many years hence the seven horn parts. The three solo players are
placed separately outside the orchestras perimeter, and play with
both the tutti sections and on their own. The piece is in one
continuous movement and lasts about 35 minutes.
My particular memory of the performance is a somewhat amusing
one - I was standing in the choir balcony feeling rather stupid
blowing my head off into the faces of these rather smartly
dressed people when I realised that a gentleman right next to me
had actually fallen asleep, snoring loudly, if not rhythmically,
throughout the entire performance, which rather put the whole
experience into perspective!
The following week saw a performance of Bruckner 7 conducted
by De Roo when the regular NSO section (Lesley, Fergus, Ian, Tom
and Dave) were joined by local colleagues Shane O'Neill and
Cormac O'Hayden plus Richard Wainwright and Tony Catterick on
Wagner Tubas. We finished off February with Bruckner 3 and 4 and
performed Shostakovitch 7 in Dublin and Belfast on March 1. All
in all a very good months blow. The season has continued with an
Irish tour - five New Worlds in a week -, Mahler 4, Shostakovitch
15, Walton 1 conducted by Adrian Leaper, plus recordings for
Naxos of Rachmaninov Symphonies 1 & 3. Never a dull moment,
and you all thought we stay here for the GUINNESS?
From the press...
"Barry Tuckwell.....has been called the 'Jascha Heifetz
of the horn' - a comparison which alludes to his agility on an
instrument notorious for being anything but." Edward
Seckerson, The Independent
"Bloody hard work and horribly unpredictable." Barry
Tuckwell, The Independent.
"I found an instrument I wanted to play. I think a lot of
people never find the right instrument." Barry Tuckwell, BBC
"I was not prepared for what greeted me when I walked on
stage. Gazing round the expanse of the Albert Hall, the last
thing I expected was for the front row of Prommers, many ex-NYO
members, to start distracting the orchestra with good-natured
banter!" Neil Shewan, BBC Music Magazine
The horn quartet of Michael Thompson, Richard Watkins,
Richard Bissill and John Pigneguy have returned to Paul
McCartney's studio to record another two movements for his work,
'Stately Horns'. This was originally a one movement piece,
but following what Mike calls "a gentle nudge" from the
horn players, more has been written. The difference, Mike says,
is that where the first movement was similar for all four horns,
the next two have a traditional first horn part. A live
performance is promised for next year.
Mike and Richard are involved in another quartet recording
this month, this time with Richard Berry and Peter Blake. The
four are joining with the King's Singers for a programme of male
voices and horns which includes music by Schubert and Schumann.
Mike and Richard Berry have also been involved in a recent Naxos
recording of Franz Krommer's works, including his Parthia in Eb
with two solo horns.
John Winch 1937-1996
John Winch entered the Royal Artillery School of Music in 1953
studying both 'cello and horn, the latter with Denzil Floyd and,
on several occasions with Aubrey Brain. A serious illness meant
that he left the army in 1957. He was then to enter the
Performers Course at the Guildhall School, studying with Francis
Bradley. From there he joined the orchestra of the London
Palladium, moving on to become sub-principal horn of the Sadlers
Wells Opera Company and then principal of the Royal Ballet
Orchestra. In 1965 John, who for most of his career played on
Alexander instruments, joined the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra as
solo horn, returning to London five years later to freelance. In
1971 he began a long period working for the Dacorum Division of
the Hertfordshire Music Service as a brass instructor. A wide
variety of freelance work included playing in such as 'Top of the
Pops' and the 'Miss World' contest. Musicals included 'A Little
Night Music', 'Evita' and, latterly, 'Les Miserables'.
Ill health forced John to leave the show late last year. He
was diagnosed as having leukaemia and after a very brave fight,
he passed away on June 13.
A 'Celebration for the Life of John Winch' was held at
Berkhamstead School for Boys in September 15, an event which was
attended by many fellow horn players and ex-pupils.
The horn appeared in a most unlikely quarter, The Caravan
Club's magazine, En Route. A number of brass players, who had
never met before, got together at this year's Caravan Club
National rally to peform beneath an awning. The event was duly
illustrated in the club's magazine with horn player, Sally Gough
from Somerset to the fore.
Dennis Brain Prizewinner
Steven James has won the Royal Academy of Music's coveted
Dennis Brain Prize. This is the Academy's most prestigious horn
prize, which is awarded every other year. Special congratulations
to Steven, who is still in his first year at the Academy.
The performances, of the Richard Strauss first horn concerto,
were judged by Julian Baker, who chose not to award a 2nd place.
Matthew Gunner was placed third.
Steven's horn professors are Richard Watkins
and Pip Eastop. Before going to the Academy he studied privately
with Pip Eastop for three years.
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