Howard Wall, Horn

The New York Philharmonic

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Howard Wall, The Ruth F. and Alan J. Broder Chair, a native of Pittsburgh, joined the horn section of the New York Philharmonic in 1994, after having been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra for 18 years and a former member of the Phoenix and Denver Symphony Orchestras. He also performs and records with the All-Star Orchestra. Mr. Wall has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in New York (1995, 2001, and 2007) as well as on New York Philharmonic tours in Europe (1996) and South America (2001). An avid chamber musician, he appears regularly on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Hall as well as at the New York Chamber Music Festival, and performs with the Delphinium Trio, the Amram Ensemble, and in a duo with his wife, violinist Elmira Darvarova. He can be heard on the CD Take 9, featuring the New York Philharmonic horn section and the American Horn Quartet, as well as on former Principal Horn Philip Myers’s New York Legends CD. Howard Wall recorded Poulenc’s Elégie for Horn and Piano with world-renowned French pianist Pascal Rogé. Mr. Wall has also recorded David Amram’s Blues and Variations for Monk for Solo Horn and gave its European Premiere in Paris. His most recent CD is Phillip Ramey: Music for French Horn (Affetto Records, 2017). Howard Wall began playing the horn at age ten and earned his bachelor’s degree in music performance at Carnegie Mellon University. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 19 performing Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns; he most recently performed the same work again at Carnegie Hall in 2012. Howard Wall was among the performers awarded Gold Medal and Top Honors at the 2018 Global Music Awards.

“Playing the horn doesn’t feel like work, and the people in the horn section are all my friends; I look forward to seeing them and working with them every day.”

Q&A with Howard Wall

THE FACTS: Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bachelor’s in music performance from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to the Philharmonic: The Philadelphia Orchestra for 19 years. Most recent recording: Take 9, an album of horn octets with members of the Philharmonic horn section and the American Horn Quartet (Musicians Showcase). At the Philharmonic: Joined in March 1994. Philharmonic solo debut in 1995 in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns.

FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. My mom took me to hear it with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It has a big solo horn part; I loved it. I began playing the horn at age ten. I thought I wanted to play the trumpet, but the grade school music teacher said there were no more trumpets. She actually started me on the horn and became my private teacher throughout high school.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Playing the horn doesn’t feel like work, and the people in the horn section are all my friends; I look forward to seeing them and working with them every day.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My first horn teacher, Betty Levine; my college horn teacher, Forrest Standley; and my good friend and former Philharmonic colleague Phil Myers

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? Once I realized I could be good at it, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Playing Schumann’s Konzertstück in my Philharmonic solo debut — it was thrilling.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Mahler — great horn parts

WHY DID YOU WANT TO JOIN THE PHILHARMONIC WHEN YOU WERE ALREADY PLAYING WITH THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA? When I met my wife, Elmira Darvarova, she was concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera. We got married while we were still living and working in separate cities.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF PLAYING THE FRENCH HORN? Making sure that my playing matches up with the great playing of my colleagues

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas with Josef Suk

ARE THERE ANY OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My brother played clarinet and saxophone, but not professionally.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Crossword puzzles and running

As of January 2017

Upcoming 2019-2020 Performances

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May, 2020 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Eric Ewazen Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance for Flute, Horn, and Piano
Stravinsky Octet
Dvořák Piano Quintet, Op. 81
Mindy Kaufman Flute
Howard Wall Horn
Zhen Chen Piano
Robert Langevin Flute
Pascual Martínez Forteza Clarinet
Judith LeClair Bassoon
Kim Laskowski Bassoon
Christopher Martin Trumpet

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