Save the French horn

Too few young people are learning the French horn, which means that fewer excellent players are competing for places in conservatoires. This important instrument for orchestras and chamber music is at risk. The Holland Festival and partners are organising the Save the French Horn programme to reverse this trend. It was launched last year, after a year work on Save the Bassoon. The French horn provides the focus for several concerts and events at this year’s festival.

The French horn player Christine Chapman, one of the campaign’s ambassadors, is playing Karlheinz Stockhausen’s horn piece NEBADON (2007). George Crumb’s An Idyll for the Misbegotten (1986) is being played during the concert Black Angels in an adaptation for the French horn authorised by the composer. Kapok, a jazz trio led by jazz horn player Morris Kliphuis, is playing brand new work in The Mirabel Sessions. Kliphuis is also one of the campaign’s ambassadors. György Kurtág’s tribute to Pierre Boulez, Petite musique solennelle (2015), which is being performed during the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s concert, gives horns a leading role. Young festival visitors (7-12 years old) can make their own horn at a workshop, after which they will use their home-made instruments to rehearse a new composition by Wilbert Bulsink and give its world premiere. During the panel discussion Why Save the French Horn, in which experts will discuss the campaign, a horn composition will also be played: John McGuire’s Decay (1970), for eight horns, will be performed by Christine Chapman. Horn professor Herman Jeurissen will be conducting.