Name: Gwen Hoberg
Member of DSSO since: 2008
DSSO Position: 4th Horn
Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance and Latin – Concordia College
Master of Arts in English – University of Minnesota Duluth
Master of Music in Horn Performance – Chicago College of Performing Arts
What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
Playing in honor bands and orchestras in junior high and high school had a lot to do with it, I think. One of my favorite musical memories is playing Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” in the North Dakota All-State Band. I sat next to the principal saxophone player and was awed by his musicality and enthusiasm. Our conductor that year had that great blend of strict standards and high demands with the conducting chops to back it up. I also dearly loved the Northwest Music Festival up in Minot, ND, which I did for five years.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
One highlight is that I got to play principal on Mahler 5 with the Mankato Symphony shortly after graduating from Roosevelt. During the third movement with the big “corno obligato” solos, I got to stand in front of the orchestra, which I don’t believe is commonly done.
What made you choose to play horn?
My mom is a long time violist with the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony and I started going to her concerts with my dad in fourth grade. I remember liking the look and sound of the horn.
What’s the most challenging thing about playing the horn?
Sometimes it seems awfully easy to miss notes… On the artistic side, managing the varied demands can be challenging – sometimes we’re required to be huge and brassy, and other times we’re required to be light and woodwind-like. But that’s part of what makes horn playing fun and interesting as well.
Do you have a favorite piece of orchestral repertoire to play and/or listen to?
Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra is one of my favorites to listen to, though I don’t think the horn parts are terribly exciting. I love playing the Strauss tone poems.
When you’re not performing, what do you do for fun?
I’ve always loved reading novels, and my trips to Duluth for the DSSO have developed my appreciation for audiobooks. Playing with my nephews is high on the list, too.
What’s one thing you hope people take away from a DSSO concert?
I hope that among other purposes our concerts can be a respite from all the cares of this world. To just sit back and listen to great works of art, to let the sounds wash over you, to be still and receptive and present in the moment – these are precious gifts that a DSSO concert can provide.
Do you have any advice for those looking to pursue a career in music?
Try to play with the best musicians you can. If you’re always seeking to be the most accomplished player in the room, you’ll improve very slowly.