Horns at the Academy

At the Academy we are passionate about music and horn playing. Our aim is not simply to train horn players; that is just the starting point. Our ambition is to educate musicians who play the horn. Our horn students are well-rounded, positive, driven — and, most importantly, they maintain an ethos of mutual respect and support.

We encourage students to perform frequently, both within the Academy and in venues across the UK. We also help students establish and promote their chamber groups for regular performance opportunities.


The distinguished teachers in the Brass Faculty are active at the highest professional level and include principal players in London’s leading orchestras, internationally renowned soloists and seasoned chamber musicians. The Academy horn professors have a depth and range of expertise in every area of the music profession; from orchestral playing and chamber music to period instrument ensembles, contemporary music and the world of film sessions. 

Students can express a desire to study with specific professors after accepting their place to study in the Academy. The Head of Brass will consult with the student and professors and consider with great care how to get the best ‘fit’ for each student’s development. 

Visiting Professors come in frequently to work with students in masterclasses, give lectures, and teach one-to-one lessons.

Related instrument study with specialist teachers is designed to give relevant experience to students and equips them with the skills necessary to perform in all orchestral contexts. Horn players can receive lessons on natural (baroque) horn and Wagner tuba.

Brass Faculty Classes and Activities

Undergraduate students take weekly academic classes in addition to their brass studies. Classes in Analysis and Aural, Conducting, Technology, Keyboard Skills and Western Music History are designed to complement and add to every student’s creative development as performers. For more information about Academic Studies, see the BMus Programme.

In addition to weekly individual lessons, both undergraduate and postgraduate brass students participate in:

Orchestral Studies

Each instrument group holds classes where you will study standard repertoire and orchestral excerpts which are a crucial part of all professional auditions.  These classes are taken by Academy professors who have exceptional knowledge and professional experience.

Chamber Music

Both allocated and self-generated chamber music for brass and mixed ensembles plays a major role in the Brass Faculty. All groups receive coaching from Academy professors and the Head of Brass who help guide and prepare you for assessed performances and frequent public concerts. 

The Academy promotes successful chamber ensembles and many current and former student brass ensembles have been given Fellowships, appointed Ensemble-in-Residence or given prestigious performance opportunities to support and raise the profiles of emerging brass ensembles. 


All brass students play in a masterclasses during their time at the Academy. These performance and learning opportunities are for you to receive objective feedback on your solo playing and to observe the way an artist can guide a student in enhancing their performance. Public and private masterclasses given by distinguished artists take place throughout the year. These have recently included Roger Montgomery, Radovan Vlatković and Sarah Willis.

Performance Classes

Performance Classes are led by leading brass professionals several times each term. These give you an opportunity to experiment and explore communication skills in solo repertoire and to receive direct feedback about all aspects of your performance. 

Symphonic Brass Ensemble

Held once or twice each term and overseen by Elgar Howarth and Mark David, this ensemble regularly performs both within the Academy and in venues throughout London. The ensemble has made several successful recordings and occasionally goes on tour.

Horn Ensemble

The Horn Ensemble, directed by Michael Thompson, meets and rehearses every week and gives regular concerts, without a conductor. The ensemble has performed in London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Southampton and the USA. The group is relatively small, typically around sixteen in number, and is inclusive, cooperative and positive.


As an Academy student, you can choose to take the LRAM (Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music) teaching diploma course, which offers a practical and engaging introduction to the principles of teaching.

The skills and connections to succeed

Regular masterclasses, collaborations with venues throughout London, partnerships with London orchestras and both internal and external competitions fill each week with a variety of exciting and career-enhancing opportunities. While the course is orchestrally focused, the diverse experiences offered by the Brass Faculty provide you with the skills and connections to succeed in any of your chosen professional ambitions. 

Academy horn players continue to play with a huge range of orchestras and ensembles, including:

  • Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • London Symphony Orchestra
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • BBC Concert Orchestra
  • Royal Opera House
  • English National Opera
  • Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • National Orchestra of Wales
  • Ulster Orchestra
  • London Sinfonietta
  • Nash Ensemble

as well as orchestras in Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand and the USA.

Horn Students outside Abbey Road Studios

Academy students at EMI Abbey Road Studios, recording the soundtrack for the Video Game “Worlds Adrift”. July 2016.

Academy horns are well represented in the film studios too. Some recent movies include:

  • Spectre
  • Pan
  • Mission Impossible
  • Tulip Fever
  • The Martian
  • Chocolat
  • Belles Familles
  • After Party
  • San Andreas
  • Conflagration
  • Genius
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Pan
  • The 9th Life of Louis Drax
  • My Bakery in Brooklyn
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2
  • Jobs
  • The Croods
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Legendary
  • Singularity
  • Fast and Furious 6
  • Northern Skies
  • 50 to 1
  • Long Walk To Freedom
  • Turbo
  • Red 2
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
  • The World’s End
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • 47 Ronin
  • The Butler
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  • Enders Game
  • Land of the Bears
  • Evangelion 4
  • Seventh Son
  • Postman Pat The Movie
  • Robocop
  • Maleficent
  • Divergent
  • Cosmos
  • Transcendence
  • Big Eyes
  • Foxcatcher
  • How to train your Dragon 2
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Boxtrolls
  • Flora’s Letter
  • Gundo
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Into the Woods
  • Book of Life
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • Queen of the Desert
  • Dracula Untold
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings
  • Heart of the Sea
  • Paddington
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Final Fantasy
  • Godzilla Resurgance
  • LBJ
  • Pror
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Savannah
  • Pete’s Dragon
  • Lineage Eternal
  • Crossing the Line
  • HHhH
  • TitanFall 2
  • Trolls