W. Peter Kurau, Professor of Horn, Director of the Eastman Horn Choir, and hornist with Eastman Brass, was appointed in 1995 to the full-time faculty at the Eastman School of Music, succeeding Verne Reynolds. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Missouri-Columbia, SUNY-Geneseo, Roberts Wesleyan College, Houghton College, and Nazareth College.
In September 2004, he was appointed Principal Horn of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, having previously served as Assistant Principal/Acting Principal Horn (1983-95) and as Acting Assistant Principal Horn (2002-2004).
A prizewinner in the Heldenleben International Horn Competition and a recipient of an I.T.T. International Fellowship and numerous faculty merit and development awards, he also served as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, presenting recitals and master classes in Serbia-Montenegro, Kazakstan, Macedonia, and Syria during September 1997. Active as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician (the latter for Conn/Selmer), he has appeared in these capacities at conventions of the International Horn Society, International Trumpet Guild, College Music Society, Music Educator’s National Conference, New York State School Music Association, Music Teacher’s National Association, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Southeast Horn Workshop, Northeast Horn Workshop, Mid-South Horn Workshop, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Eastman/Hamamatsu Seminar, Matsumoto Horn Seminar, South Korean Horn Workshop, the 2002 German Brass Academy and Sauerland Festival, Lieksa (Finland) Brass Festival, and leading universities throughout the United States and Europe (including the Hochschule für Musik/Detmold, the Sibelius Academy, the Helsinki Scandia, and the Lahti Conservatory), as well as at the Bravo! Colorado Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Chautauqua Festival, Orford Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Fortissimo!, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Monteux School, Eastern Music Festival, Kendall Betts Horn Camp, Texas Music Festival, International Festival Institute at Round Top (TX), and Sun Valley (ID) Summer Symphony.
Active within the International Horn Society, having served on its Advisory Council for eight years and as Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Pedagogy Editor and member of the Editorial Board for the Horn Call, he hosted the 29th Annual International Horn Workshop, held in 1997 at the Eastman School. He is honored and humbled to be the 2016 recipient of the I.H.S. Punto Award.
He has been active in commissioning and premiering new works for horn, including compositions by noted American composers Verne Reynolds, John Cheetham, Mark Shultz, Yehudi Wyner, Sydney Hodkinson, James Willey, Daniel Baldwin, James Walker, Margaret Brouwer, and Eric Street.
In 1991, he appeared as soloist in the first modern performance of the then recently discovered and reconstructed version of the Mozart Rondo, K.371 for horn and orchestra. He received his formal musical education at the Eastman School, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal College of Music, University of Connecticut, and Florida State University, where his principal teachers were Verne Reynolds, David Cripps, William Capps, and Horace Fitzpatrick (natural horn).