Western Hornist

Meet Jena Gardner


Jena Gardner, DMA, is the Assistant Professor of Horn at Western Illinois University. She is also the advisor for WIU’s music performance majors and the director of the WIU Community Music School. 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. She is one of four horn players in the Cobalt Quartet, professional division winners of the 2018 International Horn Society’s Horn Quartet Competition. The Cobalt Quartet performs regularly at international conferences and universities across the United States. 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 2021, Dr. Gardner was awarded a summer research stipend by the Western Illinois University Foundation and the Office of Sponsored Projects. The project, Overuse Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation in Brass Pedagogy, was presented at the International Horn Society’s 53rd international conference. In addition to this lecture and article on the same topic, Dr. Gardner received a certification in the Essentials of Performing Arts Medicine and now curates the website BrassInjury.com, providing a number of resources to musicians, students, and educators. As an educator and performer, Dr. Gardner is interested in a holistic philosophy of music performance. She frequently integrates anatomy, wellness, and other special topics into her horn pedagogy.

As a recipient of the Early Music America Summer Study Scholarship in 2016, Dr. Gardner 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 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 University and Northwestern University respectively. Her principal teachers have included Gail Williams, Jon Boen, Bill Caballero, Dave Krehbiel, and Jennie Blomster.

Contact Dr. Gardner at JE-Gardner2@wiu.edu

To read and hear more: http://www.gardnerhorn.com