Peak Performance Horn Symposium

Gail Williams and Jon Boen

  • MUS_WKSP 333 Performance Workshop, Three-Day 0 credit
  • Three Days, Evanston Campus, June 23-25, 2017
  • FSaSu, daytime sessions F 12:00 pm-5:30 pm and SaSu 9:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Ryan Center for the Musical Arts (various locations) and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
  • Participant Tuition: $390; Per Day Auditor: $130

This intensive three-day program will feature master classes and recitals given by Gail Williams and Jon Boen and a series of workshops focused on the elements of achieving a peak performance. These workshops will include a discussion of music fundamentals (Intonation and Rhythm), practicing techniques, phrasing, sports psychology, posture and much more.

This program is designed to be relevant to both music students and professionals with a special focus for teachers on how to incorporate these elements into their own teaching. Although this symposium has been planned by Northwestern Horn Faculty, Professors Williams and Boen, it is certainly relevant to other brass players and musicians.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via the Summer Application. The application deadline is May 1, 2017. Payments must be received no later than June 1, 2017.

Applicants interested in performing for one of the masterclasses should submit a one page resume and an audio or video recording. Recordings should feature at least two contrasting solos or excerpts and be between 7 and 10 minutes in length.

Selected performers will be notified at least two weeks prior to the symposium.


Gail Williams

Gail Williams is professor of horn at the Bienen School of Music, where she has been on the faculty since 1989. An internationally recognized hornist and brass pedagogue, Williams has presented concerts, master classes, recitals and lectures throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia. She 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, 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.

Jon Boen

Jon Boen is lecturer of horn at the Bienen School of Music. He has served as principal horn for the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1979, a position he secured at the age of 22 after joining Lyric as third horn a year earlier. In addition, he is principal horn of the Grant Park Orchestra (a position he has held since 1998), Music of the Baroque and the Chicago Philharmonic. Boen has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti, and the Israel Philharmonic at the Ravinia Festival, at the request of Maestro Zubin Mehta. He also has been guest principal horn for the Santa Fe Opera and the Milwaukee Symphony. Boen is a former member of the Denver Symphony and the Chicago Brass Quintet, with whom he toured extensively and released three recordings. 

Featured Guest Faculty

Don Greene

In his 25-year career, Dr. Don Greene has worked with all kinds of people struggling to do their best under extreme pressure: police SWAT officers, professional golfers, Grand Prix drivers, Olympic athletes, conductors, instrumentalists, singers, dancers, and actors.

He is no stranger to pressure himself. As a champion diver, West Point graduate, Army Ranger and Green Beret, he knows what extreme stress can do to performance. Dr. Greene earned a doctorate in sports psychology at U.S. Int’l University in San Diego. His dissertation demonstrated that the sports psychology technique of Centering could significantly improve the performance of police SWAT officers in life-or-death shooting situations.

His research led to the development of the Performance Skills Inventory (PSI), an assessment tool that has proved critical in helping performing artists. The first musicians who took an early form of the PSI (the Artist’s Performance Survey) and applied Greene’s success strategies won auditions for the Houston Symphony and the Chicago Lyric Opera. Transcription of his training sessions with them culminated in a book, Audition Success.

After several more clients went on to win prestigious positions with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony, Dr. Greene was invited to teach at The Juilliard School and The New World Symphony.

Performance Success was an outgrowth of his graduate class at Juilliard and master class series at the New World Symphony. After working with Merrill Lynch executives on Wall Street, he wrote Fight Your Fear and Win, to train business executives and public speakers, as well as athletes and performing artists.

Now living in San Diego, he continues working one-on-one with performing artists. Dr. Greene completed the Centering Training Series last year, and recently finished Performance Mastery.

David Krehbiel

David Krehbiel has been a quintessential orchestral horn player, and he is passing on that experience in clinics, a CD, conducting, and teaching. In addition to playing principal horn in the San Francisco Symphony for 26 years, Dave was Chair of the Brass Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a founding member of the Summit Brass as a player and conductor.

Dave was born in 1936. He took his first music lessons on the trumpet in his hometown of Reedley CA. He was in the eighth grade when he heard his future teacher, James Winter, play, and from then on, he knew that the sound of the horn was the sound he wanted to make. "Recently, I unpacked a horn I hadn't used for a while and out came this smell of an old brass instrument, moldy and musty. Instantly I was back in school again, opening a case for the first time, seeing this magic thing I was going to make sounds with."

He spent three years at Fresno State and played with the newly formed Fresno Philharmonic. During these years, he spent summers pumping gas at Yosemite National Park. "Every night I would take my horn up to Mirror Lake. The sound would float across the lake and reflect off Half Dome and seem to fill the whole valley. This was Horn Heaven."

His teacher suggested that he transfer to Northwestern University in his fourth year to study with Philip Farkas, who was then principal horn of the Chicago Symphony and had been Winter's teacher. A few months later, he won a position as assistant principal with the Chicago Symphony and remained there for five years, being elevated to the position of co-principal horn under Fritz Reiner. He left Chicago to become principal horn of the Detroit Symphony and nine years later, in 1972, went back to California as principal horn of the San Francisco Symphony.

While with the Detroit Symphony, Dave and Tom Bacon (also a member of the orchestra) played in a rock group, Symphonic Metamorphosis, which recorded twice for London Records and played a concert with the Detroit Symphony.

In addition to his position at San Francisco Conservatory, Dave has been on the faculty at DePaul University, Wayne State University, San Francisco State, Fresno State, Northwestern University, and most recently at Colburn School in LA. He is a member and conductor of Summit Brass and Bay Brass. He has taught and conducted at the Music Academy of the West for ten years. He has conducted members of the San Francisco Symphony in special concerts, including a performance commemorating the first anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. In 1998, the National Academy of Recording Art and Sciences presented him with a special award in honor of his many musical contributions to the community, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music named him Professor of the Year. He is also involved with the educational activities of the New World Symphony in Miami.

Dave has been a soloist with many orchestras. His CD, Orchestral Excerpts for Horn on the Orchestral Pro Series with Summit Brass, has been a boon to horn students everywhere.

Other Guest Faculty

David Brockett

David Brockett, a long time Martial Artist, has trained in Chen Style Tai-Chi, Fu BaGua, classical Wing Chun, and holds a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate.  In addition, he practices Bikram Yoga.  Mr. Brockett has studied meditation for several years, beginning with Zen training and eventually beginning a regular practice of Shamatha, Vipassana, and Tibetan meditation yogas. For the last five years he has taught a regular wellness class at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival for both students and faculty.

Mr. Brockett is also a State of Ohio Medical Board Licensed Massage Therapist, and is currently working toward a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 

As a musician, he has played Horn with The Utah Symphony, The Cincinnati Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as having recorded for radio, television and the Big Screen.  His other playing credits include being a founding member of Burning River Brass, and hornist in The Cleveland Chamber Brass which toured the U.S. and Europe.  Mr. Brockett lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife and their cats.

Amanda FarasatAmanda Skidmore Farasat is a trained horn player, and a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northwestern University.

Throughout her musical training, Amanda maintained a keen interest in ergonomics and issues related to body usage in musicians. In 1998, she received an Aston-Patterning® session as a result of a performance related shoulder injury. She immediately recognized that the work was of immense potential value for musicians, not only for injury recovery, but also for injury prevention and the optimization of musical potential. Soon after, she began training with Judith Aston, the founder of the Aston Paradigm, and has been a certified practitioner since 2004.

Amanda has given presentations on Aston-Patterning for musicians at universities and summer festivals, as well as regional and international meetings of the Performing Arts Medicine Association and the International Horn Society. Amanda also owns and operates the Illinois Center for Aston-Patterning, with offices in Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, where her work is primarily focused on the needs of performing artists. She can be contacted through her website,

John HenesJohn Henes is a private teacher of the Alexander technique to members of major American and European orchestras as well as other performing artists from the United States and abroad.  He frequently gives Alexander technique lectures and master classes at universities around the country and in Europe, and was formerly a trumpeter with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and Army Field Band.  He has recorded Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet, and Strings with the Chicago Sinfonietta. For more information, visit his personal web site.

For more information contact the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music Office of Admission and Financial Aid at 847-491-3141 or