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Charles Valenza’s Horn Collection to be shown at Eastman School of Music

Victoria Wasylak • News • September 28, 2017

On October 15, musician, hornist, and collector Charles Valenza (BM ’50, MM ’53) will have several of his renowned collection of twenty-eight horns, which date back to the late 18th century and the mid-20th century, featured in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music.  

The horns are a part of a free performance at 7p.m. that day for the Eastman/University of Rochester’s Meliora Weekend. The performance, titled “Cornucopia: A concert featuring historic horns from the Charles Valenza collection,” will include music by Mozart, Strauss, Brahms, and others. 

In addition, an ensemble of 30 members of the Eastman Horn Studio will perform, directed by Professor of Horn Peter Kurau. 

The collection includes instruments crafted by renowned makers from around the world, including Paxman of London, Carl Geyer of Chicago, Gebr. Alexander of Germany, Lidl–Brno of Czechoslovakia, C.F. Schmidt of Berlin, and Antoine Halari of Paris. The instruments include antique horns, natural horns, double horns, and triple horns, and a hunting horn.  

“The Charles Valenza collection is one of the most iconic horn collections in private ownership in the world, and was constituted to show the history and development of the horn from its early roots as an instrument used in the hunt (trompe de chasse), through the natural-horn era, the advent of valves, and ultimately to the present day,” said Professor Kurau.  “It is distinctive not only in its breadth, but also in that it is a collection that is intended to be played, and not simply viewed in a museum setting. We at the Eastman School are very fortunate to bring this collection to sonic life in our concert on October 15.” 

“I’m delighted that Professor Kurau is having several students play on some of my horns in the upcoming concert,” Valenza said. “Peter has informed me that three of the selections will be played on natural horns (the horns that were used for centuries before valves were invented.) This should be fascinating for many listeners. I look forward to being there.” 

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