An international horn workshop was held in S.Agata Militello (Sicily), August 16-18, organized by the Italian Horn Club and the Association "Giuseppe Verdi" of S.Agata. The workshop was dedicated to the memory of Dennis Brain, in the 50th anniversary of his death.
The host artist was Luca Benucci (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino); the guest artists were Dale Clevenger (Chicago Symphony) and Hans Pizka (Staatsoper München, ret.). They were joined by about sixty hornists and other brass musicians, of all ages and levels, coming from several Italian regions.
The third evening was opened by a hosaphone choir and followed by pieces played by two distinct horn ensembles. One ensemble was again conducted by Hans Pizka; the other one, conducted by the Maestro Antonino Manuli, played mainly arrangements of classical pieces. Finally, we had the pleasure of listening to a horn quartet Benucci-Clevenger-Becker-Pizka sight reading a few lovely pieces as Konstantin Becker (Teatro La Fenice, Venice) joined the three featured artists.
LISTEN: Quartet 1   Quartet 2   Quartet 3
All evening events had a large attendance, not only made of the participants to the meeting, but also of many citizens of S.Agata.
The atmosphere of the meeting was relaxed and informal, with a marked social character. At the same time, all partecipants agreed in considering it a very useful event for learning and playing opportunities.
There was a masterclass during the day, in which each artist teached for two hours; the single lessons were rather short (about 12 minutes each) but interesting for everybody.
There was a particularly instructive moment when Dale Clevenger asked for a lesson from his former pupil, Luca Benucci, who demonstrated how many different observations a musician of his level may have to make.
There were further events in the evening. The first evening was opened by Siegfried's Great Call played by Hans Pizka. Then Hans presented his new DVD dedicated to Dennis Brain, and recalled various episodes of his artistic life. Dale Clevenger told us a very interesting story of his first years with the horn and how he began his career; there was a very moving moment when he recollected his knowing the news of the sudden death of Dennis Brain. Then he played a touching solo from Chaikowski 5th symphony. Both artists spoke in Italian. Finally, Luca Benucci was joined by violinist Salvatore Domina and pianist Salvatore Percacciolo in the 1st and 3rd movements of the Brahms Trio.
Two ensembles played in the second evening concert; a Brass Ensemble conducted by Dale Clevenger, and composed by members of the main professional Sicilian Orchestras, performed mainly jazz pieces; a horn ensemble, conducted by Hans Pizka, played parts of Karl Stiegler's St. Hubertus Mass and lovely quartets by Erich Pizka (Hans' father).