Man With a Horn

Classic Arts Features   Man With a Horn
New York Philharmonic Principal Horn Philip Myers performs the Mozart Horn Concerto.

On any given Philharmonic concert night, Philip Myers can be found in the back of the Orchestra, sitting knee to knee, bell to bell with his brass colleagues. But on November 22 and 25, the Philharmonic's Principal Horn will take center stage for Mozart's fourth and last horn concerto on a program that also features works by Wagner, Ligeti, and Brahms. "I've always liked the Fourth," says Mr. Myers, who estimates he has played as soloist in the work some 50 times. "Mozart had a good understanding of the horn. He had a friend who was a horn player and he wrote all the concertos for him." The virtuosic work, a staple for horn players, is popular not only with audiences but also with conductors, who like to use it for auditions. "Kurt Masur always wanted to hear the third movement of the Fourth Concerto," notes Mr. Myers. "It shows you can play high."

Mr. Myers, who has performed numerous solos with the Orchestra over the years, will do so this time with a fellow horn player on the podium, Roberto Minczuk, the Philharmonic's Associate Conductor. "Roberto is a very talented horn player," says Mr. Myers. "Because he knows the horn, it's easier to play with him. He knows what I'm going to do; I know what he's going to do."

A native of Indiana, Philip Myers attended Carnegie-Mellon University and played with the Atlantic Symphony in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra before joining the Philharmonic in 1980. He had taken up the horn at the age of nine after a brief dalliance with the trombone. "With a father as a band leader," he says with a grin, "there was no way I could play a string instrument."

Lucy Kraus is a Publications Editor at the New York Philharmonic.

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