Horn player, Adam Koch, and his wife, Kat, were at the Arts Festival last June which is where I originally met them. Like the other three horn players, Adam was an enthusiastic participant in French Horn Week, so much so, that he agreed to let me record him playing the theme to the latest set of Star Trek movies. Such a good sport!
Hometown: Olympia, WA
Alma Mater: Indiana University, B.S.O.F. French Horn Performance, Outside Field Business. – 1 year at Rice University, but was then selected for a position in Charleston.
Home Life: Wife, Kat and a Siberian Husky (GiGi)
Any fun hobbies? Playing the French horn started as a hobby but then turned into a career. Photography (View Adams photos here). I also work part-time as a vegan chef at The Wellness Forum in Worthington.
Why the French horn? My parents liked the music from out of Africa which had great French horn parts, so I tried it. And my parents told me “And if you’re really good, you can get a scholarship to college!”
Instrument: Engelbert Schmid
How often do you practice? About an hour a day. More when I am in ‘audition mode’
Who are some of your favorite French horn players? Bill VerMeulen – my teacher at Rice, a great mentor, colleague, and friend. He stays within the rules, but loves to stretch the limits. He has some very fresh and cool interpretations of Mozart horn concertos, for example.
With what other ensembles have you played? I occasionally sub with Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston and Cincinnati. I also play with the New Albany Symphony, music festivals, small chamber groups, church gigs.
What’s the best thing about performing in front of an audience? Sharing with them something that’s very important to us – to me – is like giving someone a surprise gift.
You know what it is, how awesome it is, you’re almost giddy with excitement! I hope they enjoy it. I hope they get that tingly feeling down their spine at the big moments. That’s what I hope to share.
For myself, I hope for the same – that feeling of awe and the beauty inherent in the music. You need both precision and abandon to make it beautiful.
Where are some great places to perform outside of Columbus? Steamboat Springs, Colorado – beautiful, mountains, mountain air, awesome food! But I still like the Ohio Theatre – here, I’m surrounded by colleagues and friends.
Any memorable performances? Beethoven 9 (even playing it 3-4 times, you still get something new.) Mahler and Strauss are especially fun to play! It was my first time doing the Rite of Spring this past year with live dancers on stage. Very fun!
Which concert are you most looking forward to playing this year? Mahler #2, Resurrection.
COLUMBUS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Year joined the CSO: 2007
What brought you to Columbus? This job!
Ohio Theatre or Southern Theatre? Both for different reasons – Southern for the smaller ensembles, Ohio for the larger.
What should people in Columbus know about the Columbus Symphony Orchestra? This is our full-time job, not a side thing. Most of us spend many hours a day when not physically at work honing our craft and preparing mentally and physically for performances.
Sorry for making a football reference, but its similar to — the buckeyes! — They spend a lot of time at practice. When not at practice, they’re jogging, lifting weights, studying plays. Similarly, when not in rehearsal, we are jogging, lifting weights, studying music, practicing fundamentals, tweaking equipment, We’re athletes too! Athletes of the small muscles!
What do you say to people who don’t think they like classical music? They just haven’t heard the right piece yet!
Who are your favorite composers? Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Bruckner, Mahler, R. Strauss, Arvo Pärt (not necessarily for the horn – he’s just really interesting!)
What’s your favorite musical era? Romantic (everyday favorite), Baroque (Listens to Sunday Baroque on the radio with a cup of coffee)
What are your favorite pieces of music for the French horn? Anything by the above composers – anything with a lot of horns in it – anything where I can be a badass! Bach Cello Suites are fun to play on the French horn! I’m A big fan of the Mozart and Strauss concertos but I really like later horn music. Sonatas by Eric Ewazen, Halsey Stevens, Bernard Heiden. I’m currently working on a really cool horn concerto by Reinhardt that jumps all over the range really fast. Pretty flashy!
What French horn music should I have in my music library? Halsey Stevens Sonata for Horn and Piano, Obviously, the Mozart horn concerti.
OK – GOTTA ASK!
I know you played a concert with the Cincinnati Symphony that was nothing by Star Trek / Star Wars. Would you please play the latest theme to Star Trek?
SO – Any rival sections? No idea, but we sound really good with the cellos!
And finally – Igor Stravinsky – Rite of spring: Genius? Or just plain weird? Genius. Think of all the math he had to do to eventually find that common denominator to get us all back on the same beat!
Come back tomorrow to meet Associate Principal, Julia Rose!
I live in Columbus, Ohio. We’re a large city in a small state located on the edge of the midwest – in between my home state of Indiana and another adopted state of Pennsylvania. (Having lived in 7 states, I have a lot of “adopted” states.) We’re also next to Michigan.
These are great states. Why, you ask? They are all home to Big Ten Universities. Big Ten schools are big on academics, of course, but they’re also big on athletics. If you’re not aware, or you’re from out of the country, you should know this:
American football is kind of big over here.
All these Big Ten universities have football teams and in Ohio – especially in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University and one of the most storied football programs in the country – football is pretty much everything. If you don’t like football, you might as well just move away now. Starting in late August / early September, you automatically have plans on all your Saturdays – unless your allegiance is only to one school at which point you have at least one bye week during the season.
Classical music fans in Columbus
As I say over and over again in this blog, Columbus is home to an awful lot of arts organizations including my personal favorite, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It performs on an awful lot of Saturday nights, which during football season, might – to the outsider – appear to be no problem, especially for a 12 noon kick off.
But that’s where you’d be wrong. No. You see – that IS a problem to the 100,000 + fans who have tickets to the game and the thousands more who will tailgate despite not being able to set foot inside the actual stadium. Trust me. Buckeye fans take tailgating to a whole new level. It’s an art unto itself. And it sure as heck doesn’t end when the alma mater is sung at post-game!
You’d be amazed at the game watching set up people create out of the trunks of their cars. Can’t imagine what Buckeye fans can do? Well, I think it’s pretty safe to liken it to the Weasley family tent at the Quidditch World Cup.
But with all the people watching football – either inside the stadium or on their 52″ TVs that some have inside their trailers (yes, friends – I’ve seen them – with my own eyes) still in the stadium parking lots, or at the veritable plethora of game watching parties in sports bars or people’s homes, there are classical music fans among them.
Saturdays are taken up with college football. Home game? Away game? Doesn’t matter, it’s all about Buckeye football. So I ask you to please consider the difficulty classical music fans experience during the football season – the tugging at their heartstrings – Buckeyes? Or Beethoven? The CSO is performing Beethoven’s 5th on November 16th – the same day as the OSU game against the Illini. Sure, it’s an away game, but Buckeye fans will be glued to their TVs watching it anyway.
Now imagine this dilemma of having bought season tickets to the Symphony last year only to learn that my alma maters, Indiana University and The Ohio State University were playing each other the night I had tickets to hear Shubert’s Great Symphony. I was torn. Imagine how nerve wracking it was to not be able to check the score until intermission. Imagine as well that the Hoosiers went 1-11 in 2011, yet on that October night in 2012, we scored 49 (yes – forty-nine) points against the Buckeyes – THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES – but – we – still – lost! GAHH! 49-52!
OH THE HUMANITY!
But man oh man – the Schubert piece was great. And the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1 was just beautiful.
So what’s a football fan to do?
Well fortunately, these Big Ten universities also have great music schools – especially my first alma mater of Indiana University, about which, of course, I have a slightly biased opinion!
But alas we’re talking about Columbus, Ohio now and the Ohio State University School of Music is also rather incredible. Not only is it home to The Best Damn Band in the Land, i.e. the Ohio State University Marching Band which does an amazing script Ohio in all their pre-games (the real reason people attend games), but it’s also home to Jazz ensembles, a Wind Symphony, a Percussion ensemble, Symphonic Band, the Men’s Glee Club and Symphonic Choir and a Symphony Orchestra. Shall I go on and list more ensembles? …because I can! The OSU School of Music has so much to offer and there’s almost always something going on.
And fortunately, there’s a lot going on, on days other than Saturday. The Ohio State University School of Music has over 300 events and performances throughout the year. Over 300! That’s pretty impressive!
While the Columbus Symphony Orchestra also performs on Fridays and occasional Sundays, the OSU School of Music has music ensembles performing nearly every day of the week. So you see, classical music-loving football fans? You DON’T have to miss out on good music!
Check out this schedule of upcoming events. There’s so much going on and tickets to most events are $10 to $20 – literally half that if you’re a member of the alumni association. Concerts are already happening and last Saturday was even the First Annual Viola Day. Coming up in November is a Clarinet Spectacular – Jazz Meets the Classics which includes performances, master classes, clinics, etc. You can attend the entire event or just the Saturday evening concert.
Even though events are already taking place, I encourage you to check out the schedule because there is an absolute ton of great concerts coming up in October and November.
Each of the main ensembles puts on about 2-3 concerts per semester and the majority of them start at 8pm, though there are Sunday concerts that begin at 3. Check out the schedule. Whether it be sports or music, you’re still supporting your Buckeyes.
So what do you say, sports fans?
Looks like you can have your football and music, too!
- Must See Classical Music in Columbus (giocosity.com)
Visit the OSU School of Music Facebook page for more info, too!
French Horn Week – coming up the week of September 23-27 here on Giocosity!