Western Hornist

2019 Western Horn Festival with Gail Williams

Hosted by Dr. Jena Gardner

Western Illinois University held its annual Horn Festival on April 6, 2019 with special guests Gail Williams, horn and Kay Kim, piano. Throughout the day, Professor Williams presented a masterclass, a horn pedagogy Q&A session, and a recital. More than 30 student and professional hornists performed in the Festival Horn Choir under the direction of WIU’s retired professor of horn, Dr. Randall Faust. The day’s events also included clinic’s lead by Dr. Jena Gardner and Dr. Rachel Hockenberry and a WIU faculty recital by Dr. Jena Gardner and Dr. Minjung Seo. This spectacular event was supported by the International Horn Society’s Regional Workshop Grant!

Gail Williams


Gail Williams is an internationally recognized hornist and brass pedagogue. She has presented concerts, master classes, recitals, and lectures throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia. After 20 years with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Williams is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. She is currently Principal Horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and has recently performed on a number of prestigious chamber music series. Gail is one of the founding members of CCME, as well as the Summit Brass.

In addition to her eight recordings with Summit Brass, Ms. Williams can be heard on her seven cd's also available on Summit Records, Ms. Williams has commissioned many works for horn by composers Dana Wilson, Anthony Plog, Douglas Hill, James Stephenson and Augusta Reed Thomas.

Ms. Williams is the horn professor at Northwestern University, where she has been on the faculty since 1989. Her awards included Ithaca College's Young Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary Doctorate of Music, also from Ithaca College. In May of 2005, Ms. Williams was awarded the Charles Deering McCormick Teaching of Excellence Professor from Northwestern University.

Kay Kim


As an active collaborator, pianist Kay Kim performs an average of over 50 concerts a year in Chicago area. She has been one of the pianists of Chicago Symphony Orchestra's conductor's rehearsals where she played for such artists as Daniel Barenboim, Andrey Boreyko, Hannah Chang, Mathieu Dufour and Branford Marsalis. Ms. Kim also performed with the Stradivari Society artists and collaborated with Chicago Chamber Musicians. She was heard in WFMT radio broadcast performing in the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series and Impromptu with the winners of Barnett Foundation International Competition. She has been performing annually in the Kennedy Center as a part of Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center since 2006. As a member of musical ambassador group Trio Chicago and Friends, Ms. Kim toured to Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. In the 2008-2009 season, the tour destination will include Central Africa, Mongolia and Australia. Prior to her move to the Chicago area, she has served as a collaborative pianist for The Perlman Music Program, the Juilliard School and University of Michigan. She has appeared in CBS ‘Early Show' with violinist Itzhak Perlman and in recitals with hornist Gail Williams and clarinetist Karl Leister and Philippe Cuper.

As a solo pianist, Ms. Kim was one of the Gilmore Scholars at the Gilmore Festival and was invited to participate in the Alicia de Larrocha Festival at Indiana University. Ms. Kim has been on a tour performing Mussorgsky's ‘Pictures at an Exhibition' in collaboration with the puppet company, Blair Thomas and Co. One of the performances was presented in Marshall Field's Day of Music at the Symphony Center.

Ms. Kim currently serves as a lecturer in the collaborative piano department at Northwestern University. She is also on the faculty of the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University and Music in the Marche in Italy during the summer.

A native of South Korea, Ms. Kim attended Seoul National University for her undergraduate study and University of Michigan for her graduate degrees. She holds a doctoral degree in piano performance from Northwestern University. Her principal teachers include James Giles, Anton Nel and Louis Nagel.

Dr. Jena Gardner


Jena Gardner, DMA, is the Assistant Professor of Horn at Western Illinois University. In addition to teaching, she is an active soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the state of Illinois and the United States. Dr. Gardner has performed extensively around the world including tours in Europe, Mexico, Japan, and the United States. She has been a guest section member with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, Steamboat Springs Festival Orchestra horn sections and was acting 2nd and 4th horn of the Louisiana Philharmonic orchestra for the 2012 and 2013 seasons respectively.

Dr. Gardner is a passionate chamber musician and can be heard performing with the faculty ensembles at WIU: the Camerata Woodwind Quintet and the Lamoine Brass Quintet . From 2010-2015 she was a member of the Arabesque Winds. With that ensemble, she performed concerts and master classes at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, the Sanibel Music Festival, the Wooster Chamber Music Festival and many others.

In 2016 Dr. Gardner was the recipient of the Early Music America Summer Study Scholarship and attended the Natural Horn Workshop at Indiana University, studying with Dr. Richard Seraphinoff. Previously, she has participated in the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Youth Orchestras of America, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and the Pacific Music Festival. From 2007-09, Dr. Gardner was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and had the privilege to perform under the batons of Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Mark Elder, Esa-pekka Salonen and many others.

Dr. Gardner recently completed a Doctor of Musical Arts at Northwestern University under the guidance of Gail Williams and Jon Boen and was involved in presenting the 2016 and 2017 Peak Performance Horn Symposiums. She holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in horn performance from Carnegie Mellon and Northwestern Universities respectively. Her principal teachers have included Gail Williams, Jon Boen, Bill Caballero, Dave Krehbiel, and Jennie Blomster.

Min Jung Seo


Pianist Minjung Seo has earned critical acclaim as a collaborative pianist and chamber musicians as well as a soloist. She was praised as “... a fine touch and great sensitivity” by Chatham Star Tribune and “brilliant” by New & Record. As a recipient of the Samuel Sanders Collaborative Pianists Award, Seo has participated as a pianist and coach in multiple performances at the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center. She has been appeared in Wednesday at One concert series in Alice Tully Hall, Chamberfest series, Liederabend and Sonatenabend at The Juilliard School. She has been invited to be a collaborative artist in residence in summer festivals, such as the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Meadowmount Music Festival, the Banff Centre, and the Heifetz International Music Institute, and attended Music Academy of the West, CA in summer 2006 as a full scholarship recipient and Aspen Music Festival in 2005 as a fellowship recipient.

Her numerous collaborative engagements led to work with renowned instrumentalists and vocalists such as Malcolm Martineau, Leonard Hokanson, Frank Huang, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Roger Tapping, Jeffrey Irvine, Paul Katz, Ralph Kirshbaum, Amir Eldan, David Requiro, Frank Morelli, Andy Pellatier, Randall Faust, Sasha Cooke, Isabel Leonard, and many more at distinguished venues and festivals; Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Columbia University in New York, Benedict Music Tent and Harris Concert Hall in Aspen music festival, Colorado, Britton Hall in Ann Arber, Michigan, Fulton Opera House in Pennsylvania, Mary Craig Auditorium in Santa Barbara, California, Auer Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. Internationally, she has performed at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Thomas US virgin Island, China Art Gallery in Beijing, China, as well as at the Seoul Arts Center, KBS Hall, Youngsan Arts Hall, and Kangnam Cultural Center among other venues in major Korean cities. Her performances have been on WDAV 89.1 (NC) and Tri-State Public Radio station, WIUW 89.5 (IL).

Currently she is serving as the Accompanist Coordinator, Faculty Assistant at Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. Prior to her current position at WIU she has served as adjunct faculty at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC and Chatham Hall School in Virginia, and worked as a staff collaborative pianist at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Her services at Bennett College and UNCSA include performing recitals and concerts, coaching the vocal and instrumental students, and taking the outreach concert series to public schools in North Carolina and Virginia. As a scholar, in 2013, her doctoral dissertation was published by LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. The book title is “Ernest Bloch's Musical Shift from Judaic Identity to Modern Identity,” and it is written about Ernest Bloch's different compositional style in his life time.

Seo received her doctorate in accompanying from University of North Carolina at Greensboro with Andrew Harley, a master's degree in collaborative piano from the Juilliard School with Margo Garrett and Jonathan Feldman, a Performer's Diploma from Indiana University with Shigeo Neriki, and a bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from Yonsei University with Bang-sook Lee in Korea.

2020 WESTERN HORN FESTIVAL -- Video Archive

Horn Festival Choir Performance

2020 WESTERN HORN FESTIVAL -- Photo Archive

General Information

2019 Horn Poster