Concertgebouworkest – Principal horn Katy Woolley


Like that so you can really hear
that raspy angry sound. So that might be something that
is quite agressive. Which is fun every
now and again. My name is Katy Woolley and
I play the French horn. I am thirty years old. And I am the new principal horn
of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. I started playing when I was
about ten of eleven years old. I was a cornet player before
that. And than I saw the light. Moved over to the French horn. What I love about the horn is
that it is a really… …similar pitch to the
human voice. And so it can always be like
you are singing or speaking. And often we get lovely sighing
motives. In the orchestra it is one of my
favorite things to do. Like that when you kind of
fall off the notes. And I am really kind of [ahh]. In a kind of emotional and
angsty way. How to do happy. Or something like that. This one is a hand hammered
Alexander. I have had it for about
six years. Since I lost my last one
on a train. So if anyone has got it can you
please give it back. Thank you. One of the things I absolutely
love about it is… …it feels like it really wants
to play with you in a way. The going from note to note. Some horns you have to work
quite hard to make it smooth. But this one every time you put
a valve down… …it goes like ‘yeah okay I’ll
do that’. So you can hear it is quite
high there. And if I was really going to
think about that. I might try and think: a bit
deeper in my body. Or maybe opening my mouth
a bit more. To try and give a bit more
width. Can you hear there is a bit
more undertone in there. That’s why I love practicing. You are basically experimenting
and exploring… …and searching the whole time. It is not boring. Constantly trying to create is
the most fun thing. I think I like practicing
too much. So I don’t find it that
stressful. The reason I applied for the
position here is because… …I left my other job because I
wasn’t enjoying playing anymore. Not sure if I was going
to carry on. I was going to give it a break
and see how I would feel. And than I got the invitation
to come as an extra. And it was the first time
I came here. The first time I loved playing
in absolute years. So being here made me fall in
love with the horn again. And fall in love with being
a musician again. So I thought I’d apply
and see what happened. Always work with the fun side of
things. If you are enjoying it if you
are happy that’s the main thing. That is absolutely the
main thing. And if you want to become the
best you can be. Don’t compare yourself
to others. Keep on enjoying it and keep on
being inspired by everyone… …around you in positive ways. And have fun. The thing I love most about
being in Amsterdam. Especially compared to London. Is its size. And I love the cycling thing. And I love the ‘stroopwafels’. If that is how you say it. And I also just love
the people. I like the directness
of the people. Which I am trying to learn
how to do as well. I’m actually only learning now
what the true… …role of the horn is in the
orchestra. Because I love the sound of
the orchestra here. I love the sound of the
horns here. So I’m looking forward to making
that more part of my playing.

5 Replies to “Concertgebouworkest – Principal horn Katy Woolley”

  1. Does anyone else think some of her comments have a slightly bitter undertone? Everyone is really happy she has found a job she loves, but at least a few of her former colleagues might be a little offended by the way she speaks about the Philharmonia vs. RCO? Good luck to her though, no doubt she'll be a star there..

  2. Not too many of Katy’s playing that we can find on YouTube. In my opinion, she, if not already the best horn player, will be the best!

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