Anneke Scott

Horn Performer and Teacher

Anneke’s Music Story

Anneke’s parents moved around quite a bit when she was a child, and she spent much of her earlier years in Australia. Her initial musical training started around the age of 5 started in Australia at a local Kodály method children’s class. These classes focuses on the expressive and creative skills of musicianship (rather than the theory or instrument skill) and was created by the Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály. She also played recorder at school.

When her parents moved back to the UK Anneke started piano lessons and she got selected at school to start the tenor horn at around the age of nine. Her form tutor was also the head of music and the fact she had already studied piano and music from an early age put her in a good position to be selected to take up brass lessons. Anneke grew up in Birmingham which at the time had a great local music service and played in lots of bands and orchestras while she was at school. While she was at an academic school, pursuing music as a career was not particularly encouraged, but despite this she persevered!

She went from school to the Royal Academy of Music for her undergraduate studies, to study with Pip Eastop and Andrew Clark and then to France and the Netherlands for post graduate studies where she focused on aspects of period horn playing. Since then, she has mainly been performing or conducting masterclasses.

She is principal horn of internationally renowned period instrument ensembles including Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique. The English Baroque Soloists, Raphaël Pichon’s ensemble Pygmalion, Harry Christopher’s The Orchestra of the Sixteen, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the Dunedin Consort.

Anneke continues to be a key figure in research and performance for the historical horn. Through her career she has won several awards. In 2010 she received a Gerard Finzi Travel Scholarship to undertake research in Paris in preparation for her ground breaking recording of the Jacques-François Gallay Douze Grands Caprices on natural horn, and in 2018 Anneke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2020 she was awarded the International Horn Society Punto Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution and service to the art of horn playing.

Anneke teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Dance and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, as well as individuals online across the world. She is a contributor to Brass for Beginners, the first brass program geared specifically for the primary school classroom.

"My main aim is always to install in students all the skills they need to make me redundant!"

What was the Royal Academy of Music like?

At first it felt very daunting as I was in a bit of a minority at the start as I had not been in the National Youth Orchestra or gone to a specialist music school or junior conservatoire, so initially it felt as if everyone already knew one another. But from the outset it was really clear that this was very much the place for me, and it was exciting meeting many like-minded musicians and I soon settled in. I really enjoyed my studies there and know that my time spent at the RAM was absolutely fundamental to my subsequent career.

Where would you suggest people buy a French Horn from?

French Horns are not cheap, but I would recommend two great shops; Paxman Musical Instruments Ltd in South East London (www.paxman.co.uk) and Woodhead Horns (www.woodheadhorns.co.uk), run by Heidi and Luke in North London.

What age do you recommend learning the French Horn?

It makes sense to start when you at least have your adult teeth, but the main thing is that you are keen to play! You can get some lighter weight horns or it’s not unusual to start on something like the cornet or tenor horn and then move to the French horn.

So, what are you like as a teacher?

My main aim is always to install in students all the skills they need to make me redundant! I love working with students to facilitate their understanding of how to independently develop their horn playing; how to tackle things. This is especially important when learning a musical instrument as it really helps you get the most out of your day-to-day practice. I also love working with students to broaden their musical awareness – it really helps to understand the context of the repertoire we play and that helps inspire our interpretations.
What has been your career highlight to date?

That is a difficult question, but I am couple of projects stand out. One such highlight was a project with the French group ensemble Pygmalion. This was a programme entitled “Rhinemaidens” and was based around some Brahms works for female choir, harp and horns. It was a challenging programme, many different instruments, demanding music and complicated logistics – but it was a brilliant experience.
What pieces would you recommend people listen to, to inspire them to take up the French Horn?

Quite often it’s film music that inspires people to take up the horn as the instrument features on a lot of soundtracks (for instance listen out for the horn solos in the Harry Potter films). But I would listen to the famous Strauss and Mozart Horn Concertos. To hear a wider variety of horn playing also check out the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble (horn players include Ifor James and Frank Lloyd) Sarah Willis’s latest “Mozart Mambo” CD and the work of Willie Ruff (especially him playing Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Suite for the Duo’).

Find out more about Anneke Scott

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