In November 2008, during our weekly horn and piano masterclass, a man came into the room looking for a horn player for a gig that weekend.  I shrugged my shoulders saying I was available.  Three days later I was sitting on the tour bus with a Russian orchestra on my way to the concert when the girl sitting next to me smiles and asks shyly, "sprichst du Russisch?"

That was my first gig in Germany.  I had moved to Frankfurt a few weeks before, not knowing a single person, a word of the language nor having a place to live.  It has been the best decision I've ever made. 

I attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance.  During my first quarter in Cincinnati, my horn professor, Randy Gardner, knowing that I entered with a large number of academic credit hours from high school, suggested that I try to graduate in three years and then spend a year studying in Europe.  Already loving the adventure of traveling, I thought the idea sounded fantastic.  It wouldn't be difficult to graduate in three years, so I planned to do so. 

Sometime over the next two years however, Mr. Gardner mentioned that it might not be such a good idea to spend an entire year studying abroad because my playing might change enough to prevent me from getting a job in the States.  I didn't give up the idea completely, but I didn't pursue any connections with European teachers.  I still tried to tie my love of traveling in with my musical education by searching out summer playing opportunities outside the US.  I went to Italy for two summers with CCM's Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, and attended the 15th International Hornclass in Nové Strašecí, CZ.  Because I was graduating a year early and hadn't pursued studying in Europe, it came time to apply for grad schools, but I decided instead to move back to the Philadelphia area after graduation, see how freelancing went for a year, and then apply if I wanted to. 

Around the end of February during my third year in Cincinnati, we had a guest come to the studio and give a recital and masterclass.  That guest was Finnish horn soloist Esa Tapani.  Mr. Gardner asked if I would like to have a private lesson with Mr. Tapani and I said yes.  Just before walking into the lesson, Mr. Gardner informed me that it would also be an audition for his studio in Frankfurt.  At the end of the lesson, Mr. Tapani asked if I would be interested in studying with him in Germany and I jumped at the opportunity.  Tapani would be starting his first full year as the horn professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main and wanted to recruit students from all over the world. 

I filled out the required applications and was accepted to start in Frankfurt in the Wintersemester 08/09 as a 7th semester Diplom student.  

And one year later, I now play regularly with that same Russian orchestra. Comments