Monday, April 17, 2017

Horn Ensemble Series: Professional Horn Quartet Today

Even though the American Horn Quartet has ended their journey, the Budapest Festival Horn Quartet, and the Transatlantic Horn Quartet do not perform as much as they used to, there are still some professional horn ensembles out there. They are Genghis Barbie, Leipziger Horn Quartet, and the German Hornsound - the latest addition to the horn quartet world.

I learned of Genghis Barbie from an article on Facebook and I am glad I found them! The group was founded in around 2010 by Alana Vegter, Danielle Kuhlmann, Leelane Sterrett, and Rachel Drehmann - 4 female hornists in New York City. They are considered, according to their website, the leading post post-feminist feminist all-female horn experience. Their repertoire includes arrangements of pop music from the 70's, 80's, 90's and today, contemporary commission, and classical works. They have released four studio albums: the self-titled debut album, the holiday album "Genghis Barbie: Home for the Holidays," "Genghis Baby: Songs for Noa," and the newly released "Amp it Up!" Genghis Barbie aspires to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show within one calendar year.

Sweet Dreams (Are made of this) by Genghis Barbie

Above video is one of how innovative and creative they are. They definitely know where the untouched land is and they can obviously do it really well. They even have their own stage name!

  • Alana Vegter aka Freedom Barbie - a graduated from Julliard and was a substitute Assistant Principal Horn with New York Philharmonic 2014 - 2015 season.
  • Danielle Kuhlmann aka Velvet Barbie - a graduate from Julliard and Rice University. Currently 2nd horn with San Diego Symphony Orchestra
  • Leelanee Sterrett aka Cosmic Barbie - a graduate from University of Wisconsin -  Madison and Yale University. Currently 3rd horn with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Rachel Drehmann aka Attila the Horn - a graduate from University of Minnesota and the Manhattan School of Music. Freelance in NYC.
Enjoy their videos on their YouTube channel HERE.

Leipziger Horn Quartet is a more traditional oriented horn quartet comparing to the Genghis Barbie. The members are from orchestra in city of Leipzig in Germany. According to their website, they were formed in 1951. Even though members changed, the group have never disappeared. 

The group current members are all from MDR Symphony Orchestra (formerly known as Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig)
  • Max Hilpert - Solo Horn of MDR Symphony Orchestra 
  • Tino Bolk - Solo Horn of MDR Symphony Orchestra
  • Johannes Winkler - Horn of MDR Symphony Orchestra
  • Michael Guhne - Horn of MDR Symphony Orchestra

They have recorded 6 CDs. The latest CD is called "Romantische Hornquartette". Below is a track from this CD. The distinct sound of German horn playing (brighter and "Alexander 103" sound) can be heard clearly in this recording. 

Quartett für vier Waldhörner in E-Flat Major, Op. 19: IV. Alla Pollacca - Monore - Maggiore 

If you want to hear more of them, go HERE

German Hornsound is the latest addition to horn quartet world. I will talk about them and what I learn from their interview in the next post!

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