The New York Philharmonic

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R. Allen Spanjer joined the New York Philharmonic as Second Horn, The Rosalind Miranda Chair, in February 1993. His appearances with the Orchestra as a featured soloist have included performances of Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in 1995 and 2001, as well as on the Philharmonic’s 1996 European Festivals Tour and 2001 Latin American Tour, conducted by then Music Director Kurt Masur. He was also featured in 1996 in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Horns with Principal Horn Philip Myers, also conducted by Masur.

Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Spanjer was a full-time freelance musician in New York City, performing in a broad range of classical and commercial settings. During this time he was also a frequent substitute with the New York Philharmonic, as well as with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and he spent one season as Second Horn of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM in Mexico.

A Georgia native, R. Allen Spanjer began horn lessons at age 13. He was a pupil of Norman Schweikert at the Interlochen Arts Academy and later studied with former Philharmonic hornist Ranier De Intinis at The Juilliard School. He also studied at the Brevard Music Center, Aspen Music Festival with Philip Farkas, SUNY Purchase with Paul Ingraham, Waterloo Music Festival with Martin Smith, Tanglewood Festival with Harry Shapiro, and privately in New York City with Carmine Caruso.

Spanjer maintains as active teaching studio, and is frequently a guest performer and teacher at music schools around the United States. In addition to his New York Philharmonic work and teaching horn, he is a certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, having graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City in 1981. He is on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and frequently performs as a chamber musician. He has written for The Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society. In addition, he was featured at the 1999 and 2014 Symposiums of the International Horn Society, as well as the 2000 and 2001 Northeast Horn Workshops.

“My first season in the Orchestra was the final season of my former teacher Ranier DeIntinis, who played in the NY Phil for 43 years, and my first 15 years were with Jerome Ashby, one of my closest friends from Juilliard. Both were fine horn players and wonderful colleagues.”

Q&A with R. Allen Spanjer

THE FACTS: Born in Cedartown, Georgia. Attended Interlochen Arts Academy, and studied with former Philharmonic hornist Ranier DeIntinis at The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: freelance hornist in New York, in addition to playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM in Mexico. At the Philharmonic: Started playing regularly with the Orchestra in 1985; became a member in February 1993. Solo debut with the Philharmonic in 1995 in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns.

CURRENT TEACHING: I teach horn and the Alexander Technique privately and am on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORIES: I think it must have been cartoons on television — Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. I started piano at age 7 and the horn at 13.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? Recordings of The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by George Szell

HOW MANY HORNS DO YOU HAVE? Eight. I own six Conn 8Ds, an Alexander 103, and a 1920s C.F. Schmidt.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Being able to spend much of my life doing exactly what I always wanted to do: playing great music with great colleagues in a great orchestra.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE PHILHARMONIC: Tennstedt’s Bruckner Eighth, recording Mahler’s Third with Bernstein, and Wagner’s Ring without Words with Lorin Maazel

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ENDOWED CHAIR: Rosalind Miranda was a horn player and is a big Philharmonic fan, and I am very honored she wanted to endow my chair. I became very good friends with her and her husband, John. Rosalind and I try to see each other whenever she comes to New York or I go to Europe.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: To hear – Verdi. To play on the horn – Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Wagner

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? Rossini’s William Tell with Montserrat Caballé and Nicolai Gedda, conducted by Lamberto Gardelli

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? The Seven Storey Mountain, the autobiography of Trappist monk Thomas Merton.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I have taught the Alexander Technique since 1981. It’s a discipline that results in better breathing, posture, and ease of playing. I also love running and playing with my dog, Jessie.

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