Horn Studio

Meet the Studio

W. Peter Kurau, Professor of Horn


Eastman School of Music 2017-18 Horn Studio

Undergraduate Students


Kira Goya, a first-year horn performance major, is from Mililani, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Prior to Eastman, she has studied with many members of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, including Maura McCune Corvington and Julia Filson. She has also performed in numerous ensembles including district honor bands, the Oahu Band Directors Association High School Select Band, and the Hawaii Youth Symphony Orchestra. During her previous summers, Kira has attended the Pacific Music Institute and the Interlochen Arts Camp and horn institute. Here at Eastman, she is looking forward to becoming a better horn player, collaborating with amazing musicians, and experiencing the seasons for the first time! In her free time, Kira loves to swim, journal, and play the piano.

Hannah Lewis is a current first-year Horn Performance major from Willards, Maryland. Before Eastman, she studied privately with Maria Mengel and performed in numerous ensembles in her hometown including, Salisbury Youth Orchestra, Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, and the Parkside Marching and Symphonic band. In high school, she was chosen to play in the 2015 Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and has participated in numerous Honor bands including All State band, West Virginia University Honor band, and ESBDA All Shore band. Aside from playing the horn, Hannah enjoys experimenting with new coffee orders and watching movies.

James Odermatt, a native Houstonian, is a first-year horn performance major studying at the Eastman School of Music. He began his horn studies with both Pamela Burleson and Gavin Reed, an Affiliate Artist of University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. James attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and served as Principal Horn of the Houston Youth Symphony for two years. He concluded his high school career under the tutelage of Robert Johnson, the Associate Principal Horn of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. James has been fortunate enough to attend summer music programs at Kendall Betts Horn Camp, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Domaine Forget, studying with the likes of William VerMeulen, Frøydis Ree Wekre, Eric Ruske, and Kendall Betts. In his free time, James enjoys playing squash, reading fiction, studying psychology, and watching horror films.

Emma Shaw, a first-year horn player, is from Tampa, Florida. She has studied with Kathy Thomas, 3rd horn of the Orlando Philharmonic, David Smith, Principal horn of the Florida orchestra, and Amy Jo Rhine, 3rd horn of the Los Angeles Philhromic. Emma has been playing horn since She was 12 years old, and was inspired to do so as her mom was a horn player. Emma has attended several arts festivals and summer institutions, such as Stetson Brass Camp, Daytona Horn festival, Jacob’s school of Music summer clinic, and was a masterclass participant at IHS LA 2015. The past two summers she has toured with the National Youth orchestra in Europe and South America, working under Valery Gregory, Christopher Eschenbach, and Marin Alsop. Emma wants to further her Musical Career at Eastman by integrating into a supportive, and very hardworking environment here at Eastman, by collaborating with other musicians through Chamber music and large Ensemble work, while being part of a great horn studio. Emma also enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and horse riding.

Elena Varon is a current first-year Horn Performance major and a Rochester native. She has previously studied with Lauren Becker and Maura McCune Corvington. She has participated in numerous Area All-State ensembles as well as attended the New York All-State Conferences in both 2015 and 2016. She has been awarded musical scholarships from her high school, as well as from the Eastman Community Music School. Furthermore, she was recently awarded the Certificate of Advanced Achievement from the Eastman Community Music School and the Semper Fidelis Music Award from the United States Marines. In her free time, Elena enjoys watching movies, sewing, and drawing.


Lindsey Aaronson is a sophomore in the Eastman horn studio, double majoring in horn performance and music education. She has lived her whole life in Deerfield, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Before Eastman, Lindsey performed in several ensembles including Midwest Young Artists’ Symphony Orchestra, ILMEA all state honors orchestra, several ensembles at her high school, and the Symphony Band and Orchestra at New England Music Camp, which she attended for two summers and studied with Meredith Moore. In high school, Lindsey studied with Melody Velleuer at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. Once she is out of school, she hopes to either be a high school band director, or perform in a professional wind ensemble (possibly a military ensemble). Outside of music, Lindsey really enjoys working at Vans, spending time with her friends, and watching shows on Netflix. 

Claire Bradley is a sophomore horn performance major from Houston, TX. She started horn at the age of 11. In high school, she was a featured soloist in the Houston Youth Symphony as well as the head drum major of her high school band. Claire was a three time area qualifier and received the John Philip Sousa band award. During the summer she has attended the Idyllwild music festival and the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute. She has worked artists such as William VerMeulen, Wolfgang Wipler, John Marchiando, Thomas Bacon, Larry Livingston, and of course, W. Peter Kurau. In her free time, Claire enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, and running.

Ava Conway, Los Angeles native, is a sophomore horn performance major at the Eastman School of Music. She began her horn studies in middle school with Amy Sanchez, Professor of Horn at the University of California Los Angeles. In high school she joined the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, where she took private lessons with Dr. Annie Bosler. Ava was principal horn of the Colburn Wind Ensemble and participated regularly in California All-State ensembles. In 2015, she was chosen to play with the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. Ava was a member of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, which went on a China tour in the summer of 2016. She has performed with the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and has played side-by-side Pacific Symphony. She has attended the Idyllwild Chamber Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Colburn Horn Camp, and 2015 International Horn Symposium. Ava studied piano with Dr. Janet Favreau, and is a two-time winner of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival. In addition to her studies with W. Peter Kurau, she has worked with artists such as Andrew Bain, William VerMeulen, Hazel Dean Davis, Wolfgang Wipfler, and Kristy Morrell. 

Elizabeth Easley is a music performance major from Edina, Minnesota.  She grew up in the Chicago suburbs where she studied with Melanie Cottle and played with the Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra.  She spent two years of undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying with Professor Bernhard Scully before transferring to Eastman.  At Illinois, she performed with the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra and was section leader in the Wind Symphony, as well as playing in a horn quartet known as the Children of the Horn.  She has attended the Raphael Mendez Brass Institute as well as Kendall Betts Horn Camp.  In her free time, she likes to watch films.

Xin He is a sophomore horn student from Ellicott City. Currently, she is on the sub-list for the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. During her pre-college years, she was involved in the music scene in Baltimore, playing outdoor gigs with brass bands during the summer and worked with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, which served to provide free music education to kids. She was a part of the Peabody Youth Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra, Maryland’s All-State Ensembles for five years, NAfME All-National Concert Band and Youth Orchestra, and a participated in various chamber groups such as the Herald Brass Quintet. In 2014, she attended the Performing Arts Institute of the Wyoming Seminary on full scholarship. In addition to her studies with Peter Kurau, she has studied with Larry Williams, Philip Munds, and Anneka Zuehlke. In the future, she hopes to be a part of a award-winning chamber ensemble or an orchestral horn player. During free time, she likes to play with dogs and eat food.

Fiona Stout, a native of Miami, Oklahomais a horn performance major at the Eastman School of Music. She began horn at the age of 13, studying with high school band director Toye Harris, and continued her studies with Richard Wagner of the University of Tulsa. A three year OkMEA All State qualifier, Fiona was principal horn of the All State Orchestra her senior year as well as principal horn of the Tulsa Youth Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. She attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for two years and there, she studied horn with Gerald WoodFiona has performed in master classes for William VerMeulen, Stephen Kostyniak, and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse. Fiona was awarded the Leadership Scholarship for the 2017 Sewanee Summer Music Festival, received the Outstanding Musician award at the University of Texas at Arlington Honors Horn Camp, was granted the John Philip Sousa Band Award, and in 2016, won Superior ratings at the Oklahoma State Solo and Ensemble CompetitionAt Eastman, Fiona primarily studies with W. Peter Kurau, and her education is further supplemented by notable hornists Maura McCune Corvington, Jacek Muzyk, William VerMeulen, and also studies hand horn with Derek Conrod. An active chamber musician, Fiona is a member of the Flaming Winds quintet and is second horn of the Eastman Natural Horn Quartet, which made its debut at the 16th Annual Rochester Early Music FestivalApart from school and horn, Fiona enjoys her home in the country, baking, socializing, tending to animals, and working as a barista at a locally owned bookstore.

Tasha Schapiro is a dual degree student in Horn Performance and Physics from Newtown, Pennsylvania. In addition to Professor Kurau, she has worked with Colleen Sweetsir and Jonathan Clark. She was a member of the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County for eight years and toured with them in France, Spain and Italy. She was the winner of the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County’s Soloist Competition, the Filene Music Scholarship, and the Jerry Nowak Memorial Scholarship. In addition to YOBC, Tasha played with the Delaware Valley Wind Symphony, the Bucks County Symphony and the Warminster Symphony. During high school, she attended Kendall Betts Horn Camp and played in music festivals including All State, All Eastern and All National. In her free time, Tasha enjoys fencing, coaching gymnastics, playing Dungeons & Dragons, baking and reading.


Megan-568 finalMegan Heller is a junior horn performance major hailing from Rhinebeck, NY. While in Rhinebeck, Megan studied with Szilard Molnar and Barbara Hill. She was a member of the Bard College Conservatory Preparatory Division. Starting at age 15, Megan was the Principal Horn of the Bard College Orchestra, which she continued performing with until graduation from high school. Over the past two summers, she attended the New York Summer Music Festival, where she was a scholarship winner and this past year performed in the top woodwind quintet. Megan is a dual degree student also pursuing a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

In her free time, Megan enjoys playing sports, especially soccer and tennis. In high school she also enjoyed playing doubles in the school steel drum band.

IMG_2853Leah Jorgensen is currently a Junior Horn Performance and Music Education major at the Eastman School of Music. She is from Jacobus, PA.  During high school, Leah’s horn teacher was Brian Norcross. In high school was an active musician, playing in York Youth Symphony, Allegretto Chamber Music, many PMEA festivals, and NAFME National Orchestra. She also was able to attend both Tanglewood and Interlochen Arts Camps during the Summer. Besides playing the horn Leah loves living life to the fullest through hiking, swimming, running, reading, volunteering, and enjoying time with her loved ones. After graduating Leah hopes to share the love that music has filled her heart with to everyone she meets through both teaching and playing. Leah is so thankful for all that she has learned from her amazing teacher Peter Kurau so far, and she is also thankful and excited to have two years left to learn as much as possible before she goes out to change the world through music!

Shimon Ohia horn performance major at the Eastman School of Music, is from Greer, South Carolina. In South Carolina, he studied with Paula Riddle and Anneka Zuehlke. Starting his junior year of high school, he attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, and was principal horn in Greenville County Youth Orchestra’s Young Artist Orchestra and Carolina Youth Symphony. He has attended the Kirishima International Music Festival, Interlochen Summer Arts Horn Institute, and Brevard Music Festival. In addition to W. Peter Kurau, he has studied with Takeshi Hidaka, Richard Deane, Hazel Davis, and Gustavo Camacho. Shimon enjoys doing kendo, a type of Japanese fencing.

Zoe Resmer, from Akron, Ohio, is a junior studying horn performance at the Eastman School of Music. Since arriving, she has played with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Horn Choir, and Chamber Jazz Orchestra, countless student groups, and has arranged traditional hunting calls for the Eastman Natural Horn Quartet. Before coming to Eastman, she studied with Van Parker and Meghan Guegold. As a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, she went on tour to China in 2015. When not playing horn, Zoe enjoys riding and maintaining classic motorcycles.


Caroline Baker, a native of Colorado, is a Horn Performance major at the Eastman School of Music. Caroline made her soloist debut with the Denver Concert Band after being named the winner of their Young Artist Scholarship Concerto Competition. She also competed in the final round of the Arapahoe Philharmonic Collegiate Concerto open to Colorado and its seven surrounding states. Caroline has enjoyed playing Principal Horn in the Colorado All-State Orchestra and Band in 2012 and 2013 along with other various statewide honor ensembles. Throughout her high school career she relished in playing with the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra and Denver Young Artists Orchestra. In 2013 she was involved in a natural disaster awareness ensemble where she had the privilege to perform in Japan for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck in 2011. During the summer Caroline participates in the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Denver and Kendall Betts Horn Camp in Lyman, New Hampshire. Aside from playing the horn, Caroline enjoys riding horses, hiking, and spending time with her cat.


Jessica Elder, from Mobile, Alabama, is a senior at the Eastman school of Music studying with Peter Kurau. In her summers, Jessica has attended the Interlochen Horn Institute, Brevard Music Center, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Kendall Betts Horn Camp, and she has had fellowships at Music Academy of the West, Texas Music Festival, and Pacific Music Festival. Jessica has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Syracuse-based Symphoria. She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 International Horn Competition of America, and she was the winner of the 2016 Northeast Horn Solo Competition. Jessica is the 2017 recipient of the Mu Phi Epsilon scholarship. Jessica is pursuing a minor in Social and Emotional Development at the University of Rochester, and enjoys studying all things related to Psychology.

Nikolette LaBonte, a native of South Florida, has quickly emerged as a distinguished performer in the field of orchestral horn playing. Nikolette is tenured as the Associate/Assistant/Utility Horn of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.  She joined the RPO in 2016 but prior to that, LaBonte was appointed acting assistant principal horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra in 2015. While living and working with the orchestra in Honolulu, she also served as the associate principal horn of the Hawaii Opera Theater and Oahu Choral Society. In addition to the RPO and HSO, she has had the opportunity to perform with orchestras across the country including the New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Syracuse-based Symphoria and recently performed as a soloist with the Eastman Horn Choir.

LaBonte returned to Rochester not only as a performer, but also to complete her undergraduate degree coursework at the Eastman School of Music, under the direction of RPO Principal Horn W. Peter Kurau. In addition to this, she is a member of several chamber ensembles including the Antara Winds and HardCOR quartet, currently maintains a private studio, and is a clinician with the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.  Outside of the concert hall, LaBonte is active in promoting classical music throughout the community.  She is on the staff of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp, previously worked as the education coordinator of the Hawaii Symphony, and is the co-creator and coordinator of “Olympic Overtures”, a multimedia project designed to spread awareness of classical music through collaboration with Olympic athletes.  Away from the horn, she enjoys hiking and scuba diving, although she has to reserve the latter for her visits to more tropical climates.

Mattingly photoEthan Mattingly is a senior at Eastman School of music studying under Professor W. Peter Kurau. In the past he has studied with Professor Leslie Norton from Vanderbilt University and Erin Horner. He has received numerous scholarships such as a full scholarship for one week at Kendall Betts Horn Camp, The Mira Jackson Pre-College Scholarship, a full-paying scholarship for the pre-college program at the Blair School of Music in Vanderbilt, and more. In his free time, he composes, learns East Asian musical instruments, and is intrigued by foreign language. He is currently taking his fourth year of French classes, and he is also teaching himself Japanese.


Kara Miller, a Texas native, is currently a senior dual degree student pursuing a BM in horn performance and a BA in business at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. Most recently, Kara was on the music staff at Camp-of-the-Woods, a Christian family resort in the Adirondack mountains, where she performed regularly in an orchestra, a big band, chamber music, and as a soloist. In 2015, Kara was selected as a winner of the IHS LA Masterclass Participation Competition which afforded her the opportunity to perform for Will Sanders. Past summer music festivals include the Pierre Monteux School, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Interlochen Arts Camp. Before coming to Eastman, Kara was a three time Texas All-State M usician and qualified four consecutive years for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble competition for both solo and brass quintet. Her senior year of high school, she was awarded outstanding soloist of the day. Furthermore, Kara was the 2nd place winner of the 2014 Houston Civic Symphony Concerto Competition. In her free time, Kara enjoys trying new coffee shops, exploring the outdoors, and playing with her dogs.

SchoberKyle Schober is a performance major from Greer, South Carolina. He began playing at the age of 11 and studied with Paula Riddle. In his sophomore year of high school, Kyle was selected to attend the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities as an early admissions student. Kyle joined the Carolina Youth Symphony at age 13 and held the principal position in the top orchestra from age 15 until his graduation.  In his senior year, Kyle was named most outstanding senior musician in the Carolina Youth Symphony and was also selected to perform Richard Strauss’ 1st Horn Concerto with the orchestra. Kyle has also competed in the MTNA Senior Brass competition twice, most recently taking second place at the national level. He has attended summer institutes such as the Interlochen Horn Institute and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Horn Workshop where he studied with Eric Ruske, Eli Epstein, Rose French and Gustavo Camacho.

Graduate Students

Elizabeth Simmons, a native of Johnson City, Tennessee, is a first-year Master’s student at Eastman and the Horn Intern at the Eastman Community Music School.

She recently graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where she studied with Kevin Kozak to earn a B.M. in Horn Performance.  During her undergraduate career, Ms. Simmons was a member of each of the university’s major ensembles, playing principal horn consistently from 2014-2017, and was actively involved in various chamber ensembles.  Before Samford she attended Science Hill High School, where she participated in the band program.  During this time she also performed with the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra, where she played principal horn from 2011-2013 and was the winner of the 2013 Joyce Brown Senior Concerto Competition. Her primary teachers were Stephanie Blaha and James Blalock.

In 2016, Elizabeth participated in the soundSCAPE festival for new music in Maccagno, Italy, and in 2017 she joined the staff of Kendall Betts Horn Camp, after having attended the camp as a student since 2010.

Marie Smith is an active symphonic and chamber musician. In addition to school orchestras and wind ensembles, she has performed with the American Festival Orchestra and New American Philharmonic in Utah. As part of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute, a partnership between the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Marie was a member of the Quiescent Wind Quintet which was a national finalist group in the MTNA Wind Chamber Music Competition in 2017. Marie has attended the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas, Kent/Blossom Music Festival in Ohio, the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, and was a Hesse Student at the Aldeburgh Festival in England. Outside of performing, Marie’s hobbies include hiking, swimming, reading, and research. Her article Natural Horn Technique Guiding Modern Orchestral Performance is published in the May 2016 and October 2016 issues of the Horn Call, the official journal of the International Horn Society. She received a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from Utah State University, a Master of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the Eastman School of Music. Her primary teachers include W. Peter Kurau, Dr. Maria Serkin, Dr. Joseph Falvey and Steve Park.

Erin Futterer is in the final year of her doctoral studies at Eastman under the tutelage of Peter Kurau, where she enriched her knowledge and passion for many different facets of horn playing. From early music to jazz, symphony orchestra and chamber music to solo performance, and scholarship to commissions and lectures, she has certainly followed a less traveled, more scenic route, but one which has ultimately led to several notable achievements.

Having served as the natural horn assistant at Eastman for 5 years, she is looking forward to participating in the  inaugural performance of Ensemble True Concord, an all-period classical group of which she is a founding member. In November of 2016, Erin was asked to give a solo recital on natural horn as part of the Rochester Early Music Festival. Also for REMF, she arranged a set of traditional French calls of the hunt for horn quartet, which she performed with members of the Eastman natural horn studio on the Prism-style closing concert. Admittedly, some of her interest in this era of music stems from her fascination with with the instruments, and she in fact owns both a Midwinterhoorn, on which she is quite a novice, and an Alphorn, of which she is slowly gaining mastery. The Alphorn first made its appearance during her lecture recital at Eastman, which featured the solo works for horn that had been commissioned by or written for Frøydis Ree Wekre. Frøydis was the Professor of Horn (now Professor Emeritus), at the Norges Musikhøgskole (the Norwegian Academy of Music), in Oslo, Norway, where Erin, a Fulbright Fellow,  completed her master’s work. The material from Erin’s lecture recital, which she has presented in several versions, both at the 2015 International Horn Symposium in Los Angeles, and in various regional workshops, was excerpted from her ongoing work on Frøydis’s biography, now nearly 2/3 complete. Portions of the finished biography are to be published in the Horn Call,  the publication of the International Horn Society, in near future. Other scholarly endeavors are focused around the physical/mental interdependency in horn playing and FLOW states in performance, and the publication of several of the aforementioned solo works for horn, which have previously been unavailable to the public. 

While at Eastman, Erin was a two-time concerto competition winner, earning the opportunity to perform Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, and James Beckel’s horn quartet version of In the Mind’s Eye with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also played principal on several large orchestral works including Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s fourth Symphony. Erin has performed with several local orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic and the Buffalo Philharmonic, and is regular member of the Finger Lakes Opera Orchestra and the Genesee Community Orchestra. Her life-long love of jazz and big band is finally taking form, as she has performed with several Eastman-affiliated groups, and most recently on both horn and vocals in Palm Springs, CA with acclaimed jazz musicians Bill Marx, Michael Healey, and the Shelley Yoelin Group.

Inspired by all of her mentors, including Prof. Kurau, Frøydis, and Gail Williams at Northwestern, where Erin completed her undergraduate studies, Erin is dedicated to the the promotion of new music and the expansion of horn repertoire, and currently has two commissions in progress. One is a concerto for horn and and wind ensemble, by up and coming composer Andrew Boss, and will be premiered with the Eastman Wind Ensemble at a future date, and the other is a chamber work for horn, soprano, bassoon, and harpsichord set be completed later this year by Daniel Baldwin, a featured composer at last year’s IHS Symposium in Ithaca.

In Rochester, Erin works as a freelance horn player in the jazz, classical, and early music scenes, and has her own business as a professional gardener and landscape designer. 

Eastman School of Music Horn Studio 2010-2011

Eastman School of Music 2012-2013 Horn Studio

Eastman School of Music 2014-2015 Horn Studio