Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading a very interesting series on fame and name recognition in the horn world by Bruce Hembd at Horn Matters. Bruce began his series with a discussion about “spheres of influence,” followed by a”who’s who survey filled with names of prominent horn players. For results of the survey as well as some great follow-up posts by Bruce, see here, here, and here. There are probably lots of conclusions that can be drawn from these results, but one general trend that seemed apparent to me is the influence that technology – and the internet in particular – has on name recognition in our field. Prior to the internet age, recognition in the horn world (and in general) came much more slowly, perhaps through recordings, performances at international horn symposiums, or through a legacy of successful students. All of these avenues are still available today, of course, but technology has greatly enhanced the speed with which professional connections can be made. As I read through Bruce’s research and materials on name recognition, I started thinking about the International Horn Society’s roster of Honorary Members, and how many names from that list I would recognize. Honorary Membership is the highest honor the IHS bestows, with the intent being “to honor living hornists who have made a major contribution at the international level to the art of horn playing” (quoted from the IHS website). It is an impressive list to say the least, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t familiar with every name on it. This situation was easily remedied, however, through the biographies included on the IHS website. See the list below for the names I didn’t recognize – but make sure to view the entire list as well!
After perusing this list, I also spent some time reading about a few celebrated horn players of the past, also on the IHS website.