Who We Are

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Ilze Brink-Button, Director

Ilze Brink-Button, a native of South Africa, had been a lecturer of Horn at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York for the past 11 years. Prior to that she was the horn professor at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York for 15 years where she also directed the brass ensembles.

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Ilze started her first musical instruction at the age of 7 on the piano. She began studying the horn at the age of 11 and soon thereafter won several concerto competitions in South Africa on both French Horn and Piano. Additionally, she won several scholarships to further her musical studies from the Royal College of Music and UNISA (South Africa). At the age of 13 she made her solo debut playing concertos on both horn and piano playing with the Free State Symphony Orchestra and the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, South Africa. She won several concerto competitions to play with other orchestras, including the CAPAB Symphony Orchestra in Cape Town and the South African Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra where she appeared twice on National Television playing concertos on horn. She also recorded several live television and radio recordings, performing chamber music works including the Brahms Horn Trio, Mozart Horn Quintet, Beethoven Sextet and many more.

From 1978 to 1982 Ilze was a member of the South African National Youth Orchestra and toured Israel, France and Switzerland in 1978 with the orchestra. In February 1984 she won a fulltime assistant principal horn position with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra (CTSO), Cape Town, South Africa and toured Taiwan and Hong Kong with that organization in November of 1988. Ilze was a Music Performance Major at the University of the Free State in South Africa and furthered her studies with John Covert at Ithaca College of Music during her absence from the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, while a student at Ithaca College, she earned the privilege of performing the Franz Strauss Horn Concerto with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra as a winner of that Institution’s concerto competition.

During summers between 1990 and 2015, Ilze served on the faculty of the Hartwick College Summer Music Festival and Institute in Oneonta, NY as well as the New York Summer Music Festival. Her duties there included French Horn Instructor, Horn Ensembles coach, member of the Faculty Woodwind Quintet and Brass quintet. She currently teaches horn at the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Acqui Terme, Italy, as well as the Eastern U.S. Music camp at Colgate University during summers.

Since moving to the United States, she has held positions with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Utica Symphony Orchestra, Catskill Symphony Orchestra and various other regional professional musical organizations. Ilze also performed regularly with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria, Albany Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra.

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Hannah Smith, Assistant Director

Hannah is native of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in the Washington D.C. metro area. Hannah is recognized for her rich tone and expressive playing. She is an educator and performer that promotes a positive and inclusive musical environment and experience.

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Hannah has performed with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Opera, and Marble City Opera, while also performing regularly and freelancing around the East Tennessee and D.C. Metro area since 2014. She performed with the Georgia Ambassadors of Music's 2014 European Tour performing in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Hannah has been featured with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Horn Choir at both the 2015 International Horn Symposium in Los Angeles, CA and the 2018 International Horn Symposium in Muncie, IN. She was featured in the 2016 Southeast Honor's Horn Choir, with who she recorded Rossini's "La Danza" at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, TN. In 2018, she performed both in the Festival Symphony Orchestra and in the Fibich Quintet Chamber Ensemble at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Acqui Terme, Italy. Hannah performs regularly with her all-female, horn quartet, "Hornucopia." Hornucopia presented as Contributing Artists at the 2019 International Horn Symposium in Gent, Belgium. The group was awarded the University of Maryland Graduate School Jacob K. Goldhaber Travel Grant to be able to travel internationally and represent the University of Maryland School of Music Women in Brass. Hannah taught a private studio of horn players in the East Tennessee area from 2015-2018 and continues to run a private horn studio in the D.C. Metro area. In addition to her horn studio of individual students, she currently serves as Professor of Horn at Northwestern High School Jen Henson Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Adelphi, MD, and Richardson School of Music in Takoma Park, MD.

Hannah received her B.M. in Music Performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is currently attending the University of Maryland, College Park, to receive her M.M. in Music Performance in May 2020. Her primary teachers include Dr. Katie Johnson-Webb, Gregory Miller, and Phil Munds.

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Dr. James Naigus, Guest Artist Session 1

Dr. James Naigus is Lecturer of Horn at the University of Georgia and hornist with the Georgia Brass Quintet. He is co-founder of the Cor Moto Horn Duo and co-editor/contributor of the Creative Hornist and Technique Tips columns in the Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society.

He has played with the Wichita Symphony, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Brevard Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the WCIT World Orchestra in 2019, and toured Europe and South America as a member of the American Chamber Winds. He has also performed on recitals and presented at numerous regional, national, and international horn symposiums.

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One of the most actively commissioned and recorded composers for horn music today, Naigus is currently published by RM Williams Publishing and Veritas Musica Publishing, featuring a combined catalog of over sixty-five works. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States and beyond, with enthusiastic reception and rave review. In 2013 he was the Composer-in-Residence at the Southeast Horn Workshop in Richmond, VA. He has written commercial compositions for clients such as Google, University of Michigan, University of Florida, and University of Iowa.

He is a graduate of the University of Iowa, University of Florida, and University of Michigan. His prior teaching appointments include the University of Central Missouri and the University of Iowa.

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Unsworth, Adam

Adam Unsworth Guest Artist Session 2

Adam Unsworth is Professor of Horn at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance.  Prior to his appointment in Ann Arbor, Adam was a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra (1998-2007) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1995-1998).  He has toured Asia and Europe with the San Francisco Symphony, is a frequent guest with the Detroit Symphony, and is Principal Horn of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

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Adam is dedicated to commissioning and performing works of living composers, expanding the modern repertoire to extended the boundaries of the horn.  Adam has five recordings as a leader to his credit that encompass a wide variety of music: Balance (2014), a jazz recording for horn, jazz sextet and chamber orchestra, Snapshots (2013), a recording of contemporary classical music in collaboration with composer/pianist Catherine Likhuta, Just Follow Instructions (2009), featuring the chamber music of saxophonist/composer Daniel Schnyder, Next Step (2008) and Excerpt This! (2006) – jazz recordings which received critical acclaim from both jazz and classical reviewers.  He was soloist on the premiere of Mondrain’s Studio, a concerto by Paul Dooley for horn and wind ensemble, and the premiere recording of Dana Wilson’s Concerto for Horn and Wind Ensemble with the University of Michigan Symphony Band.

Adam is a member of the New York based Gil Evans Centennial Project, which has received two Grammy nominations for its’ recordings Centennial and Lines of Color, and won the 2013 Jazz Journalist Association Award for Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year.  He is also part of Japanese big band leader Miho Hazama’s M-Unit Band and has appeared on her most recent Grammy nominated recordings, Dancer in Nowhere and Time River. He has been as guest musician with new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble Linea, and the Slee Sinfonietta.

A former faculty member at Temple University, Adam has appeared as a recitalist and clinician at many universities across the United States, and has made several solo and chamber appearances at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.  Unsworth received his formal training at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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