Britt Orchestra Season
Britt Orchestra Principal Brass


Jeff Garza, Principal Horn

HOMETOWN: San Antonio
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Currently Principal horn, San Antonio Symphony; Adjunct Professor of Horn, Trinity University and St. Mary's University
BACKGROUND/EDUCATION: Interlochen Arts Academy, Rice University
CAREER INSPIRATION: Falling in love with the sound of the horn in great movie soundtracks by John Williams and other great Hollywood composers.
MUSICAL TASTES: Indie Rock, 50's and 60's rock and roll, Hip Hop, jazz, 80's new wave, old school country, folk/traditional American music, world music, basically anything.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: The recordings of the Chicago Symphony featuring retired principal horn Dale Clevenger were a great inspiration growing up. The instruction of my teacher Bill VerMeulen influences me every time I pick up the horn. In recent years, watching on-line performances featuring the great solo horn player of the Berlin Philharmonic Stefan Dohr gets me excited about what is possible on the horn.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN: English professor, evolutionary biologist, copy editor
SOUTHERN OREGON FAVORITES: Hiking in the Redwoods, visiting the Oregon Coast, jumping into Crater Lake, eating breakfast at Morning Glory
FAVORITE BRITT MEMORY: Having audience members join us on the Britt Stage during a rainstorm for an intimate performance of Beethoven's 2nd Symphony. Also, the performance of Schumann's Konzertstuck for Four Horns with my Britt colleagues.

Conrad Jones, Principal Trumpet

HOMETOWN: Indianapolis, IN
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Currently Principal Trumpet, Indianapolis Symphony; Trumpet, The Kyōdai Brass Quintet; formerly Principal Trumpet, Tucson Symphony Orchestra
BACKGROUND/EDUCATION: I grew up on Long Island, NY, about an hour away from the city. I did my undergrad at the Cleveland Institute of Music and earned a performance certificate from the Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA. It was in Cleveland that I started the Kyōdai Brass Quintet with my two younger brothers and the two Tanaka brothers. (Hayato will be at Britt this summer performing on Mahler 2!)
CAREER INSPIRATION: My parents are both musicians and I think being constantly surrounded by music from a young age made it a natural fit. I had a lot of fantastic and inspiring teachers along the way too!
MUSICAL TASTES: Hate to be cliché, but just about everything! I mostly play classical music now, but I first started as a jazz trumpet player. Before I really decided to try to make a living playing the trumpet at 15yrs old, I played a lot of guitar in rock bands (Metallica/Iron Maiden style), and even bagpipes for a short bit. My favorite music to listen to outside of "jazz and classical" would be Motown hits, the Punch Brothers, Tino Derado, and Serbian music.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: It feels like it changes weekly, sometimes even daily, but lately the musicians that come to mind are Judith Linsenberg, the Empire Brass, and Jeroen Berwaerts.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN: Not sure, it's hard for me to picture, but since I love watching the food network- maybe I'd be a chef?
BRITT HISTORY: This is my third summer at Britt.
SOUTHERN OREGON FAVORITES: I went to Crater Lake last summer and it was absolutely unbelievable. So I guess going to Crater Lake and wine tasting!
FAVORITE BRITT MEMORY: Getting a glimpse of the Southern Oregon landscape for the first time.

James T. Decker, Principal Trombone

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I have performed in a variety of professional ensembles, ranging from orchestras in Honolulu, New Mexico and New York to fine brass quintets, trombone quartets and various commercial groups. It's this variety that I draw upon to give me the energy and inspiration for each performance.
BACKGROUND/EDUCATION: I hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Julliard School as well as a Masters Degree in Music Education from Lehman College of the City of New York. I have studied with Edward Herman, Edward Erwin, John Swallow, Joseph Alessi, Steve Norrell, Keith Underwood, Jim Pugh and Jerome Callet. CAREER INSPIRATION: My family has loved music over many generations. This love and the constant exposure to great music through recordings and live concerts inspired me.
MUSICAL TASTES: Classical, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Latin and Music from the Far East. Trombonists Joseph Alessi, Jorgen Van Rijen, Larry Zalkind, Wycliffe Gordon, JJ Johnson and Urbie Green are some of my favorites, along with YoYo Ma, Pablo Casals, Andre Watts, John Coltrane and Oscar Peterson, to name a few.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Arnold Jacobs. His influence, as well as that of his protégés, was essential for my pursuit of music as a profession.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN: I would probably be an accountant or a counselor.
SOUTHERN OREGON FAVORITES: Hike, visit wineries and just be with people whom I love.
FAVORITE BRITT MEMORY: The final concert of the 2008 season. My long time hostess, Liz Braislin, passed away the day before. Peter Bay dedicated that final concert to Liz. We played Copland 3. It was a bittersweet, emotional concert. I wonder what it will be like when we perform the Copland again this year.......

Seth Horner, Principal Tuba 

BACKGROUND/EDUCATION: Welllll.... I grew up in the Milwaukee area and started college at UW-Milwaukee. Then I transferred to the Cleveland Institute of Music to finish my Bachelors. I moved to Houston, where I studied at Rice University for my Masters degree, then I moved to Los Angeles and eventually received an Artist Diploma from The Colburn School.
I've played with A LOT of orchestras, both large and small. When I was an undergrad, I got to play with The Cleveland Orchestra on several occasions, including at Carnegie Hall and on a European tour. I've held jobs with smaller orchestras in Canton, OH, Youngstown, OH, Albany, NY, Charleston, WV, and Santa Barbara, CA before winning my current job in Charlotte. I also played a lot with the San Diego Symphony during the period that I lived full-time in California and was lucky enough to play with the Los Angeles Philharmonic now and then.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Currently the Principal Tubist of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Lecturer of Tuba and Euphonium at UCLA. I also teach at the Brevard Music Center as an Artist Faculty during the summer.
CAREER INSPIRATION: Both my parents played in the Milwaukee Symphony, so I was always surrounded by music while growing up. The tipping point came when I started high school: we had a young band director whose first day on the job coincided with my first day as a freshman. He was really enthusiastic about music and was always telling us amazing stories about his college years. That really inspired me and I decided that making music was going to be my life.
MUSICAL TASTES: I love all good music! If I'm preparing for an audition, I like to explore new recordings of the various excerpts I need to prepare. Once you really understand a good piece of music, it's pretty interesting to discover the many subtle differences between each recording. If I'm just listening to music to relax, I enjoy good chamber music - especially string chamber music. I also love exploring indie rock / funk / soul. If you're a native Angeleno and you listen to KCRW, you know what I'm talking about.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Nobody, really. I like to tell my students that I'm a conglomeration of everything each of my teachers taught me. They each contributed a lot of valuable information that helped shape how I perceive and execute my craft.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN: I go back and forth with this a lot... but, at this point in my life, I'd probably get a MBA and go work in corporate business.
BRITT HISTORY: This is my third season
FAVORITE BRITT MEMORY: Wine tasting in the Apple Valley - I love that it's still being discovered and that it's genuinely down-to-earth.