Seattle Symphony Horns

The Seattle Symphony Horns are the horn players for the Seattle Symphony and Opera. The six-player team, described by the Seattle Times as “magnificent,” is comprised of horn players from Seattle, Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland and Australia. Principal horn, Jeff Fair joined the orchestra in 2003. Associate Principal Mark Robbins has been in the section since 1981. Relative newcomers Jon Karschney and John Turman joined in 2015 as Assistant Principal and Third Horn, respectively. Jenna Breen joined as Second Horn in 2016, and Danielle Kuhlmann joined as Fourth Horn soon after in 2017.

The section can be heard on the Seattle Symphony’s many recordings, including four Grammy-award-winning albums. As individuals, members keep a busy schedule of teaching, playing chamber music, and performing at festivals around the world. The SSO Horns have performed Schumann’s Konzertstück with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, they have been featured artists at the Northwest Horn Symposium. 

In addition to playing on the Benaroya Hall stage and in the McCaw Hall pit, the Seattle Symphony Horns maintain a comprehensive and entertaining online presence on their Facebook, Instagram (@SeattleSymphonyHorns), and Twitter pages. On Wednesdays they wear pink.

Jeffrey Fair has been Principal Horn of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and a member of the Orchestra since 2003. Additional Principal Horn appearances have been with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with music festival appearances including the Eastern Music Festival, Arizona Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival, and Festival Mozaic. Mr. Fair is on the faculty at the University of Washington. He completed a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School as a student of Jerome Ashby and his received his Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Oklahoma as a student of Eldon Matlick.

Mark Robbins is Associate Principal French Horn with the Seattle Symphony. He also performs as Principal Horn with Seattle Opera and has numerous performances of the horn calls for Wagner’s Ring cycle to his credit. Mr. Robbins spends his summers as a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Formerly, he was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in Miami, and has played at the Spoleto, Tanglewood and Olympic Music Festivals. Also an active teacher, Mr. Robbins is on the faculty at Cornish College for the Arts and at the Chautauqua Music Festival. He is the horn coach for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and teaches horn in the Seattle area.

Jon Karschney plays Assistant Principal Horn with the Seattle Symphony. Previously, he was a freelance musician in New York City, performing with the New York Philharmonic, Radio City Orchestra and on Broadway. After growing up in Seattle, he attended The Manhattan School of Music as a student of Erik Ralske. Mr. Karschney is an active teacher, working with students at The University of Washington, maintaining a private studio as well as coaching middle school students at local schools through Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Endangered Instrument Program. 

Second horn Jenna Breen came to the Seattle Symphony after previously holding section horn positions in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Symphony Orchestra. She has performed as a guest with many of the Australian orchestras as well as the New Zealand Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Breen obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at the Queensland Conservation of Music, studying with Peter Luff, before spending a year at the Australian National Academy of Music and undertaking a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. 

John Turman hails from the hills of Austin, Texas and plays Third Horn in the Seattle Symphony. Prior to his time in the Pacific Northwest, he served as Principal Horn for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and was acting Third Horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Turman is an alumnus of Rice University and brings his penchant for arranging music and his passion for filmmaking to the uproariously exuberant social media presence of the Seattle Symphony Horns. 

Danielle Kuhlmann plays Fourth Horn in the Seattle Symphony, and was previously Second Horn of the San Diego Symphony. Additionally, she has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Houston, Cincinnati, and Colorado Symphonies. After growing up in Seattle, Washington, she studied at the Juilliard School and Rice University. Ms. Kuhlmann is also a founding member of the all-female pop French Horn quartet Genghis Barbie. 

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