Principal horn for the WSO since 2002, Patricia has played with some of the top orchestras in North America, including the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Patty takes centre stage as soloist for Mozart’s Andante in B flat major for Horn and Strings and two Sonatas by Luigi Cherubini at Mozart & Strauss on January 16.
As we all continue to navigate this pandemic, what have you found out/learned about yourself?
I guess what I’m still in the process of learning, is that I don’t have to be perfect. It feels like with all this free time at home I should be doing something extraordinary, but I need to remind myself that just getting out of bed each day, walking the dog, cooking food, reading books is enough. Staying connected (virtually) to friends and family is ultimately the most important thing.
How do you keep yourself connected to your instrument? How disciplined are you?
Not very! I’m not a terribly disciplined practiser, unless I have something big coming up. I do play my horn every day, though. It has been a really important time for me to reconnect with the horn. Normally we are so busy, I don’t have time or the chops to practice much. This is the first time since I was a kid that I can just sit down when I want and play through whatever I want. It makes me realize all over again why I want to do this.
What other instrument do you think you might have fallen in love with if it wasn’t for the horn?
Probably the cello. The cello and the horn are in a similar range and often play the same musical line in orchestral pieces. I also really like the bassoon for its quirkiness, but I’m not sure if I could stand having to make reeds!
Is there a particular piece of music or artist that cemented the horn for you?
Reveries by Alexander Glazunov was (and is) a really special piece for me. It was during a practice session of that piece at music camp when I was going into grade 9 that I realized I wanted to be a horn player. I also had a “moment” when I heard James Sommerville play Schumann’s
Adagio and Allegro for Horn and Piano, Op. 70. I was a student at Oberlin. I hadn’t ever heard anyone play the horn like that live and it opened up a whole new world for me.
This past summer you and RBC Assistant Conductor Naomi Woo performed two Horn concertos for our Friday Matinee WSO @ Home Recitals. This season, we’ve had to move to livestream concerts. How does not having an actual audience in front of you impact you as an artist?
I find it pretty challenging, to be honest. When you play for a live audience, there is an energy between the performer and the audience that helps define the performance. Without that energy, it feels a little like I’ve lost my bearings. I do appreciate being able to bring music into peoples homes though. And it is really special to me that, for the first time in my career, my family can actually attend my performances!
Can you tell us a bit about the works you’ll be performing in the Mozart & Strauss livestream concert on January 16?
The Mozart Andante comes from Mozart’s horn Quintet, which was originally written for violin, 2 violas, cello, and horn. It is the really lovely middle movement of a three movement chamber piece. Mozart wrote beautifully for the horn, so it feels really good to play. The Cherubini, while also written in the classical era, is a really good contrast to the Mozart. It is very operatic and virtuosic in nature. Although it’s pretty short, it requires a lot of stamina to play!
My big passion other than horn playing is animals. If I hadn’t been a musician, I would have done something animal related. Living in the city cramps my style a little because I grew up in a rural area where we had lots of pets of different varieties. We even had a pet donkey named Muffin.
Patricia Evans has been principal horn of the WSO since 2002. A native of Northern Vermont, she began her studies on horn at the age of 10. Patricia went on to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at McGill University in Montréal. She participated in the long-term residency program at The Banff Centre before being awarded a fellowship with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
Since coming to Winnipeg, Patricia has been invited to play with some of the top orchestras in North America, including the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She is a frequent soloist with the WSO.
Hometown: Bakersfield, Vermont U.S.A.
Favourite thing about Winnipeg: I know I’m in the minority here, but I love the coldest winter days when the sky is sunny and there are ice crystals in the air. Not many people in the world live in this kind of climate and I love this unique life experience!
Your go to snack: Definitely potato chips! I love salty snacks!