Gail Williams, horn

Gail Williams is an internationally recognized hornist and brass pedagogue. She has presented concerts, master classes, recitals and lectures throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia. Ms. Williams joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in December 1978, and was appointed Associate Principal Horn in 1984, a position she held until her retirement from the orchestra in 1998. She has been a member of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, and is currently principal horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra. As featured horn soloist, Ms. Williams has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, New World Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and a number of regional orchestras. Ms. Williams has also performed in 2004 as Principal Horn with the Saito Kenin Orchestra with Maestro Ozawa in Matsumoto, Japan. And in 2005 and 2007-2011 Gail has performed as Principal horn with the World Orchestra for Peace with Maestro Gergiev with concerts in London, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Budapest, Rotterdam, Brussels, Jerusalem, Krakow, Stockholm, Salzburg and Abu Dhabi.

Ms. Williams is also dedicated to performing and promoting chamber music. 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, Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival and 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. She is a founding member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians; a critically acclaimed chamber music ensemble which has commissioned and performed works for their Millennium concert series and the CCM’s concert series. A CD of all Mozart works, including the Horn quintet, was nominated for a Grammy in 2006. Gail is also an original member of the Summit Brass, an ensemble with whom she has made eight recordings.

In addition to her recordings with Summit Brass, Ms. Williams can be heard on her solo recordings, 20th Century Settings and Deep Remembering, a Mozart Wind and String chamber music and Brahms Horn Trio with CCM, which are available on Summit Records. An additional solo CD has been released by Northwestern University, Goddess Triology, featuring compositions by John McCabe and two works for horn and percussion by Charles Taylor and Alec Wilder. Her newest CD, Horn Muse, has four commisioned works for various chamber ensembles.

Ms. Williams has played an active role in commissioning projects and performing contemporary solo works for the horn. In 1995, she premiered Deep Remembering by Dana Wilson, and Anthony Plog’s Postcards at the International Horn Society Workshop in Yamagata, Japan. In 1997, she premiered Dana Wilson’s Horn Concerto with the Syracuse Symphony. A year later, Ms. Williams performed the Knussen Horn Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Knussen. She helped commission Yehudi Wyner’s Horn Trio, and was involved in the orchestration of Dragons in the Sky by Mark Schultz. Ms. Williams premiered another horn and piano work by Dana Wilson, Musings, in 2003 and performed both this work and his concerto at the 2005 International Horn Society Workshop. Gail performed the US premier of a concerto for Horn and Orchestra by Collins Matthews at Northwestern University in June of 2005.

Ms. Williams has given master classes and recitals around the world, working with musicians at Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, the New World Symphony, Eastman School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Rice University, University of Houston, University of Illinois, Sam Houston University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the NAC Orchestra (Ottawa) , Music Hochschule of Frankfurt, Germany. In 1998, Ms. Williams was invited to be on the faculty of Swiss Brass Week in Leukerbad, Switzerland where she returned in 1999 and 2000. Ms. Williams conducted brass classes and performed a recital in Malmo, Sweden for one week in March of 1999. As a member of Summit Brass, she has been coaching young brass musicians since 1986. And since 1980, Ms. Williams has been a featured recitalist and lecturer at the International Horn Society Workshops in the United States, Canada, Japan and Germany. In 2001,2005 and 2009, Gail has served as one of the judges for the Horn Solo Competition in Porcia, Italy.

Gail Williams is the horn professor at Northwestern University, where she has been on the faculty since 1989. In May of 2005, Ms. Williams received the Charles Deering McCormick Teaching Professor of Teaching Excellence. With the award, she has commissioned and performed three new chamber works for horn and mixed instruments by Douglas Hill, Dana Wilson and Augusta Reed Thomas. Ms. Williams studied with John Covert at Ithaca College, and received a master’s degree from Northwestern University. Her awards from Ithaca College include the Ithaca College’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate of music.