In my own words
A biography in my own words? Hmmmm. Not easy. How do I pick out the most influential and inspiring events in my horn-playing life? When I was little, my parents would insist that I did my piano practice, and I am grateful for that now. Living in different countries as a child gave me a deep love for global experiences, something I still have today. My dad was a journalist, my mum is a ballet critic and they were always very proud of me, my sister and my brother.
I decided I wanted to be a horn player at my very first horn lesson. Really! My first teacher was a trombone player and I adored him and the horn, so much so that I practiced as much as I could. And because I was spending all my time with my horn, school became quite a lonely place as my fellow classmates didn’t really understand my passion. So I lived for Sunday evenings when I rehearsed with a youth orchestra. I have to say that being a member of various youth orchestras was one of the most important and enjoyable parts of my musical training. Here, I found other young people who did not think it weird to spend lots of time alone practicing and listening to classical music. And nothing beat the fun we had on our tours…!
After 3 years at music college in London I “discovered” Berlin. The city was incredibly vibrant and exciting, and the first time that I heard the Berlin Phil live, I decided that I just had to be as close to this orchestra as possible. My first job was with the Berlin State Opera in 1991,just after the fall of the Berlin Wall so it was an exciting time to be in the city. Before I started there, I was worried that I would not enjoy playing opera… but I ended up adoring it.
In 2001, I got into the Berlin Philharmonic- something I had dreamed about but had never thought would ever become a reality. It probably sounds corny, but it’s the truth when I say that I am proud and grateful every day to play in this incredible orchestra.
I started playing on an Alexander horn when I was 16. My teacher at the time told me that the sound I made on the horn suited an Alexander. This was very unusual at the time in England! I fell totally in love with the sound of this horn and wouldn´t play anything else. The Alex I play on now is a hand-hammered 103 Model with a yellow brass mouthpipe. It is a luxury for us in the Berlin Phil that we all play on 103s, it makes blending as a section a lot easier and we enjoy the close collaboration we have with Gebr. Alexander
My “day job” takes up most of my time and head space, but since I began doing interviews with soloists and conductors for the BPh´s Digital Concert Hall, and also being involved as a mentor and a presenter for the You Tube Symphony Orchestra 2011 in Sydney, I have become very passionate about online music communication. So I am hoping my new website is going to help with this. I would love to connect with musicians all over the world, to reach people who may not have easy access to live concerts or teachers, and also to try and encourage the younger people to realize how great classical music is. So please watch this space and feel free to let me know your suggestions, thoughts and wishes!