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Legendary Horn Player Dies at 89

By Sara Schabas on January 8, 2024

Hermann Baumann
Hermann Baumann (courtesy photo)

The German-French horn player Hermann Baumann passed away last week.

What’s Up: On December 29th, the German-French horn player Hermann Baumann passed away at the age of 89. Noted for his versatility and singing tone, Baumann was a principal hornist with orchestras including the Hamburg Chamber Orchestra, Dortmunder Philharmoniker and the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) Radio Orchestra in Stuttgart as well as a noted international soloist.

Digging Deeper: Hermann Baumann was renowned for his recordings of Horn Concertos under Nicholas Harnoncourt and Sir Simon Rattle and the Brahms Trio with Pinchas Zukerman. He premiered Gyorgi Ligeti’s Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in 1983. Baumann also composed his own works, including the Elegia for hand horn.

Why It Matters: Hermann Baumann was a pioneer of natural horn playing. He played early baroque and classical hand horns in performance before they were à la mode, as well as international horns, including the South African Kelphorn, the posthorn, and the Danish Lure. Baumann suffered a debilitating stroke in the late 1990s, yet relearned to play the horn as well as to walk and speak. Following his stroke, Baumann returned to solo engagements within two years.

Check out Baumann’s gorgeous playing here. RIP to a legend.

Sara Schabas
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