At Pops we usually have a soloist from the orchestra, but it is seldom a brass player. This year, our principal horn Jeff Stewart performs the beautiful, but relatively obscure Nocturno for Horn and Strings by Franz Strauss. The gently virtuosic piece is a joy to hear (coming from another player in the horn section). It’s not a fireworks virtuoso piece. Instead, beautiful melody showcases Jeff’s beautiful horn sound, and graceful decorative runs and arpeggios enhance the musicality of the piece.
Jeff plays in several orchestras in the area and has been our principal horn for 3 years. Here’s his bio:
Jeff Stewart was born and raised in the Detroit area. While growing up, he studied piano for 9 years and french horn for 4 years. A scholarship convinced him to study engineering rather than music at the University of Michigan. After graduating and taking a job doing electrical and computer engineering, family and work demands limited is musical activities substantially for the next 30 years. When both daughters had moved on to college, his wife encouraged him to work a little harder on horn playing, so he took some horn lessons (the most valuable of which were with Shelagh Abate, who is now one of the top New York City free lance horn players) and gradually joined various Boston area musical groups. He currently plays principal horn in the Concord Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, the Waltham Symphony and the Boston Chamber Symphony, and plays in a number of Boston and Providence area chamber groups.