June Masterclass: Gail Williams, Principal Horn, Grand Tetons Festival, Northwestern University, Chicago Symphony (Ret.)
Admired around the world, our Distinguished Artist, Gail Williams grew up on a farm in a musical family. Her mother studied percussion and viola; her brother, clarinet. Gail studied with Jack Covert at Ithaca College, then earned a Master’s Degree at Northwestern University and performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago for four years before winning the audition with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1978. She was assistant principal until winning the position of associate principal in 1984, where she remained until retiring in 1998.
Gail teaches at Northwestern University and gives innumerable master classes. Her music education degree and playing experience unite and she is renowned as one of the top brass instrument teachers worldwide.
Gail is principal horn with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and was principal horn with the Saito Kenin Orchestra in Japan in 2004, and the World Orchestra for Peace in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. She has been soloist with the Chicago Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, New World Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, and numerous of regional orchestras.
Gail is passionately dedicated to performing chamber music. In 2001, 2005, and 2009, she served as a judge for the Horn Solo Competition in Porcia, Italy and coached young brass musicians with Summit Brass since 1986. She has been on the faculty of the Swiss Brass Week in Leukerbad, Switzerland for several years. Ms. Williams is a founding member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and Summit Brass. She has performed with the Vermeer Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Skaneateles Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Olympic Peninsula Chamber Festival, and was the featured artist on a chamber music series in Ottawa, Canada, with the National Arts Orchestra of Canada. In addition, she has commissioned works by Dana Wilson, Anthony Plog, Oliver Knussen, Yehudi Wyner, Collins Matthews, and others.
Her favorite pastimes include hiking, doting on her precious grandchildren, and hearing me say, “Hey Gail, I got an idea.” Not necessarily in that order. Welcome, in her first appearance in masterclass at Horns United, the Grand Dame of Horn, Gail Williams.
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