Assistant Professor of Music Katie Johnson, whose instrument is the French horn, recently traveled to Norway to study with Frøydis Ree Wekre, one of the world’s leading horn players and teachers. In homage to that experience, the School of Music faculty member will be performing two recitals featuring music from Scandinavia.
The first recital, “Songs from Scandinavia,” will be presented at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, in the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. It is free and open to the public.
Many of the pieces Johnson will perform were composed for or commissioned by Frøydis.
“The works of Scandinavian composers are not heard as often in the US as works by composers from other European countries,” Johnson said. “I think that the music from Scandinavian composers has a harmonic language and sense of phrasing that is unfamiliar to American audiences.”
Johnson recently received a faculty development award that allowed her to travel to Norway and spend the month of January studying with Frøydis.
“I decided to pursue work with Frøydis because she has a reputation for being one of the best horn teachers and players in the world,” she said. “She is a living legend in the world of brass players and pedagogues.”
Johnson said she learned quickly that Frøydis was a demanding teacher who had high expectations. Johnson said Frøydis knew how to articulate problems and solutions very clearly, which allowed her to provide a semester’s worth of information in only a month.
After the experience in Norway, Johnson thought it would be a particularly meaningful experience to present a concert of music composed for Frøydis throughout her career. Frøydis is responsible for commissioning and inspiring the composition of a vast number of works for the French horn.
Johnson has applied for funding through the American Scandinavian Foundation (AMSCAN) to return to Norway in June to continue studying four large pieces for horn and piano that were composed for Frøydis. She plans to continue her work on this repertoire in preparation for the recording of a solo CD in July 2018.
Johnson’s second recital, scheduled for October 2018, will include songs from that CD.
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