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October 25, 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Horns United and Syncspace.Live present the inaugural concert of the Con Molte Espressioni series in support of the Terry Long Musician’s Assistance Fund.
This concert will feature the PhilMet Quartet with four distinguished guest artists performing live across the Internet between their respective homes in Philadelphia and New York:
- Jennifer Montone – Principal Horn, The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Erik Ralske – Principal Horn, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
- Ernesto Tovar Torres – Fourth Horn, The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Hugo A. Valverde Villalobos – Second Horn, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
We hope you will join us for this magnificent night with God’s instrument, the horn.
About the musicians
Jennifer Montone – Principal Horn, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Grammy Award Winner Jennifer Montone has been hailed by the New York Times for her “flawless horn solos… and warm and noble sound”. As Principal Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a world acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and teacher, she has been on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School since joining the orchestra in 2006.
Previously the Principal Horn of the Saint Louis Symphony and Associate Principal Horn of the Dallas Symphony, Ms. Montone was an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, performer/faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and coaches on occasion at the New World Symphony. She was third horn of the New Jersey Symphony from 1997-2000, and has performed as a guest artist with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.
Ms. Montone regularly performs as a soloist, with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the National Symphony, the Polish National Radio Symphony, the Warsaw National Philharmonic, among others. Her recording of the Penderecki Horn Concerto, “Winterreise” with the Warsaw National Philharmonic won a 2013 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Classical Compendium”. Other recordings include “Jennifer Montone Performs”- her first solo cd, “Still Falls the Rain”- works of Benjamin Britten, “Gabrieli” by the National Brass Ensemble, “Philadelphia Orchestra, Tchaikovsky and Ewald”- featuring the orchestra’s principals brass quintet, and Song of Shinobeu”- works of Haruka Watanabe.
Ms. Montone made her Carnegie Weil Hall solo recital debut on October 22, 2008. She has enjoyed appearing as a featured artist at many International Horn Society workshops, and as a soloist and collaborator with artists such as Emmanuel Ax, Eric Owens, Christoph Eschenbach, Shmeul Ashkenazi, and Joseph Silverstein, and David Soyer, among many others.
As a chamber musician Ms. Montone performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, National Brass Ensemble, Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Bravo Vail Chamber Music Festival,Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, Spoleto Italy Chamber Music Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival.
Ms. Montone is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Julie Landsman, legendary pedagogue and former principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera. In May 2006 Ms. Montone was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She is also the winner of the 1996 Paxman Young Horn Player of the Year Award in London, England. A native of northern Virginia, Ms. Montone studied with Edwin Thayer, principal horn of the National Symphony, in the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program. She is married to double bass player, Timothy Ressler, and immensely enjoys spending time with her two young sons, Max and Felix.
Erik Ralske – Principal Horn, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Erik Ralske was appointed by Maestro James Levine as Principal Horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra beginning with the 2010-2011 season. On July 6, 2010 he was featured in a front-page article in the New York Times for having won both the Met Opera position and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Horn position in the same week!
Prior to joining the Met, he was a member of the New York Philharmonic for 17 seasons–11 years as Third Horn and 6 years as Acting Associate Principal Horn. During his tenure with the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Ralske was a soloist with the orchestra over a dozen times in New York, as well as on tour in Europe and South America with former Music Directors Kurt Masur and Lorin Maazel. Other previous orchestra positions include Associate Principal Horn with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Horn with the Vancouver and Florida Symphony Orchestras.
Mr. Ralske has always been in demand for solo and master class appearances, not only throughout North America, but also in Asia, Europe and South America. In recent years, he has played solo recitals in New York, Los Angeles, Kansas, Tokyo (at the invitation of the Japan Horn Society), Taipei, and Kaoshiung. During the same period, he led master classes at Juilliard, Showa University (Tokyo), Columbus State University, Dohai University (Taipei), University of Western Michigan, and University of Kansas. Mr. Ralske has been a featured artist at renowned summer music festivals in Aspen, La Jolla, Bridgehampton, Vancouver, Seattle and Lake Tahoe. This summer in Lake Tahoe, he will join one of the star tenors of the Met Opera, Matthew Polenzani, in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and String Orchestra.
Erik Ralske has long been active in the recording industry, having performed on many movie soundtracks–from “Platoon” (1986), to many recent releases, such as “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012). His 2011 live performance of Siegfried’s Horn Call is available on iTunes as a Met Opera “Ring” Tone.
Currently, he is on the faculty of the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes College of Music. He received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School. His primary teachers were Ranier DeIntinis, John Cerminaro and Myron Bloom.
Ernesto Tovar Torres – Fourth Horn, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Mexican-born hornist Ernesto Tovar Torres is the fourth horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra and is in high demand as a soloist and orchestral and chamber musician. Before his tenure in Philadelphia, he served as second horn for the Atlanta Symphony from 2015 to 2017.
Mr. Tovar has also performed with the Dallas Symphony, the Steamboat Springs String Festival, the Naples Philharmonic, the Bellingham Festival Orchestra (WA), and the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Major music festival engagements include the Eastern Music Festival (NC), the Texas Music Festival, the Banff Master Class for Strings and Winds, and Spoleto USA. Mr. Tovar was also a finalist in the 2013 International Horn Competition of America, where he performed the Glière Horn Concerto.
As an educator, Mr. Tovar has presented master classes at various colleges and conservatories around the United States and abroad. Recent engagements have included the Curtis Institute of Music, Wichita State University, the University of Georgia at Athens, and the Jerusalem Music Center in Israel.
Mr. Tovar received his training at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with William VerMeulen, international horn soloist and principal horn of the Houston Symphony. He holds a bachelor’s degree in horn performance from Oklahoma State University, where he studied with Lanette Lopez-Compton and graduated with honors in May 2014.
Mr. Tovar currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Marde Meek, and their three dogs: Cleopatra, Samantha, and Francis. Together they enjoy cycling, cooking fine Mexican cuisine, and traveling (when they can find a dog sitter).
Hugo A. Valverde Villalobos – Second Horn, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Hugo A. Valverde won the audition for Second Horn at the MET Orchestra in May 2017, and started as an official member of the orchestra in August 2017.
A native of Costa Rica; Hugo started his musical journey when he was seven years old at the local school of music located in his hometown, Barva, Heredia. A year later, after a long day of musical instrument trials, he decided to learn how to play the French Horn. His first teacher was Daniel León, from 2003 until 2007.
In 2008 he got accepted at the National Music Institute of Costa Rica, joining the horn studio of the Principal Horn of the Costa Rican National Symphony Orchestra, Luis Murillo. Hugo had the opportunity to be part of several ensembles that helped him to develop a more intimate love for the music and most importantly, the art form.
Mr. Valverde has played with the Costa Rican National Symphony Orchestra as both assistant and second horn, and this helped him to gain more experience as an orchestral musician at his young age.
In 2012, he auditioned for the Lynn University Conservatory of Music located in Boca Raton, FL, where he was accepted to begin his bachelor degree and musical studies with Gregory E. Miller. He successfully graduated in May 2016.
In 2016, he auditioned and was also accepted to the Master of Music program at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, located in Houston, TX. His time at the Shepherd School of Music was very important in order to develop and shape certain aspects to become a successful orchestral musician nowadays. Hugo had the opportunity to study with the internationally acclaimed horn teacher and pedagogue, William VerMeulen.
He attended the Chautauqua Music Festival in 2014, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas in 2015 and the Pacific Music Festival in 2016. While at the YOA Festival, Hugo had the privilege to study with Javier Gandara, who is a current member of the MET Orchestra horn section.
In his spare time, Hugo enjoys going on occasional bike rides and having coffee with friends.