Steven Gross

Event Date: 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

'When I arrived at UCSB in 1995, an exciting but challenging experience awaited me. The task was to build a horn studio from scratch, and develop the brass program – horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba. At the time, there was only one brass major on campus, a trumpet player. It took patience for plans to unfold, attract students and build a solid reputation. My background as a member of the Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, and my 24 years as Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra helped build performing skills to pass on to students. At UCSB, I taught able undergrads, who graduated and were appointed to jobs, or moved on to prestigious graduate programs. In due course, Masters degree hornists came to UCSB, and this fall the first doctoral student in horn, Steven Cohen, enrolled. A resident student brass quintet developed, named after a legendary former professor, the late Maurice Faulkner. Looking back over the years, it has been a source of deep satisfaction to see the program at UCSB develop and mature. 

The unique character of UCSB attracts bright—as well as talented—musicians, which makes teaching quite rewarding. The University's support for research and performance also furthered my solo and recording opportunities. Recently, I partnered with a hornist from the Czech Philharmonic and released a recording of the Czech-American Horn Duo (Summit DCD 636). We gave our premiere performance at the Prague Horn International Music Festival, and our North American debut last spring at UCSB. My duo colleague, Ji?í Havlík, is also a recognized composer. I performed as soloist in his Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in a feature concert at the 2015 International Horn Society Symposium. In addition, I was one of the soloists in the Telemann Concerto for Three Horns, along with Jim Thatcher and Dale Clevenger.

Travel has enabled interesting cross-cultural experiences. Performances as a guest Principal Horn of the Hunan Symphony provided an interesting combination of Western repertoire, and music written with Chinese harmony, melody, and customs. For example, symphonic works are introduced by an on-stage emcee, just as in an American television variety show. Western and Eastern European music and performing traditions mingled at the Crescendo Music Institute in Hungary, where I was a faculty member. I continue to present master classes and performances in post-apartheid South Africa, which now educates musicians of all races and several neighboring countries. Not least interesting are the customs for studying music. Some cultures expect highly authoritarian teachers, while others prefer something like a seminar approach.

UCSB's unique strengths can also produce musicians with multiple skill sets. Some alums, in addition to performing, hold positions in such posts as opera administration, music therapy, and are electronic music experts. Our University prepares music students for the 21st century job market.

Altogether, it is a deeply and richly satisfying experience to be a faculty member at UCSB.'

-Professor Steven Gross

 

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE CZECH-AMERICAN HORN DUO PERFORMING AT UCSB

Watch a video of the Czech-American Horn Duo performing at UCSB

 

SOLO RECORDINGS BY DR. STEVEN GROSS

Dr. Gross has released 6 solo CDs, including five with orchestra accompaniment, and one with piano and organ. Gramophone Magazine praised his playing for its "subtle flair and vibrant character," as well as its "suave and poetic conversation." Reviews from the American Record Guide describe his playing as "outstanding, striking the right balance between thoughtfulness and verve, planning and spontaneity - an excellent tone and the ability and temperament to play heroically." Horn Call magazine states that the "soloist plays technically flawlessly and highly expressively throughout…Highly recommended."

 

 

BIOGRAPHY

Steven Gross is Professor of Horn and Head of the Wind, Brass, and Percussion Area at the University of California–Santa Barbara. Dr. Gross is also a former member of the Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and for 24 years Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. His international solo appearances include the Orchester der Stadt Vöcklabruck in Austria, Moscow Conservatory, L’Abri International Arts Festival in Switzerland, Nairobi Symphony in Kenya, NTUA Wind Ensemble in Taiwan, and the Camerata Filharmonica Bohemia of Prague. His Carnegie Hall debut was described by the New York Concert Review as, “offering some of the cleanest articulation and purest musicality.”

Dr. Gross was featured at the 2015 International Horn Society Symposium in Los Angeles as a soloist, performing the North American orchestra premiere of the Ji?í Havlík Concerto for Horn, with Dale Clevenger conducting.  During the same concert, he also played the Telemann Concerto for Three Horns with Jim Thatcher and Dale Clevenger.

Steven Gross has released 6 solo CDs with orchestra, comprising 5 with orchestra accompaniment and 1 with piano and organ. Gramophone Magazine praised his playing for its “subtle flair and vibrant character,” as well as its “suave and poetic conversation.” Reviews from the American Record Guide describe his playing as “outstanding, striking the right balance between thoughtfulness and verve, planning and spontaneity…an excellent tone and the ability and temperament to play heroically.” Horn Call magazine states that he “plays technically flawlessly and highly expressively throughout…Highly recommended.”

In 2008, Dr. Gross was awarded the Stich-Punto Commemorative Plaque from the Czech Horn Society for outstanding devotion to Czech horn music. He is only the second American to receive this award.

Steven Gross has given numerous international masterclasses. These include Switzerland, at music schools in Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, and Winterthur. Other European masterclasses include the Moscow Conservatory, Royal Academy of Music in London, and in Austria. Dr. Gross has been a featured artist at Hornclass and the Ameropa International Chamber Music Festival in the Czech Republic. In South Africa, he was clinician at the Stellenbosch Conservatory and the University of Cape Town. Dr. Gross was a faculty artist in China at the First International Music Festival at SIAS University, as well as guest Principal Horn with the Hunan Symphony. In the summer of 2014, he was artist faculty at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Tokaj, Hungary. In 2008, the National Taiwan University for Arts appointed Dr. Gross Visiting Professor of Horn.

In the United States, he has presented concerts and masterclasses at the Eastman School, Peabody and Oberlin Conservatories, and Indiana, Southern Methodist, Baylor, and Temple Universities, among others.

At the age of 21, Steven Gross won the First International Heldenleben Horn Competition. He is now Director of the International Horn Competition of America, North America’s leading solo event for horn.

His summers include performing as Principal Horn of the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra, and horn faculty at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Tokaj, Hungary.

Steven Gross considers his family his greatest pride and joy - his wife Julie and his children, Mike and Katie, as well as daughter-in-law Lily.