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The Beauty of French Horn

Interview with Ben Goldscheider

For his recital at Bozar, the British horn player Ben Goldscheider, nominated by the London Barbican as a Rising Star of the '21-'22 season, proposes some current or recent masterpieces for solo horn and with piano.

This article is part of

Bozar Next Generation: 25 Years

Why did you choose to play the French horn?

When I was six years old, I began to play the cello and at the same age, was diagnosed with a lung condition called bronchiectasis. My parents, as well as the doctors, felt that it would be a good idea to take up a brass instrument to train my lungs! 


In your childhood were you different from the others?

I don’t think so. I was really interested in sports, especially football and tennis and certainly at the very beginning, practising and music was certainly not the love affair it is today. There did come a point, however, whereby I very consciously changed a few things in my life and dedicated myself fully to music. 


Could you present briefly your programme?

My programme for Bozar looks at the romantic horn as if through a kaleidoscope. We begin with Jörg Widmann’s Air for solo horn, a fascinating work that explores the horn to it’s virtuosic extremes, whilst retaining a connection to the principal element of the instrument, Air. The programme finishes with the Horn Sonata in Eb by York Bowen, a composer who was nicknamed the “English Rachmaninov” due to his luscious treatment of harmony. It therefore made sense to place him next to the Russian master and I believe the arrangement of the slow movement from his cello sonata in g minor works beautifully on the horn. Roxanna Panufnik’s work is also highly romantic-the three sonnets are adaptations of three songs made by the composer herself that really show the expressive, vocal nature of the horn. 


What do you feel about being nominated as Rising Star?

It is a huge honour to be nominated by the Barbican centre as an ECHO Rising Star. The series is quite remarkable and I feel hugely privileged to be able to represent my instrument in all of these brilliant halls! The opportunity to commission Mark Simpson would also not have happened without ECHO and I am sure that his work will be a very important one in the horn’s repertoire for decades to come. 


What is your guilty pleasure?

I love food! One of the most interesting things about travelling is finding out (preferably from locals) where the best places are to eat. It’s always a lovely thing to enjoy a meal with your colleagues and friends after a concert. 


What is your biggest dream?

My biggest dream (musically) is to push and promote the horn as a solo instrument, in order that it is seen and heard regularly at venues such as those on the ECHO Rising Stars series. I am, of course, biased but I do hope the audiences will feel the same way as me one day!