Brett Hodge, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is currently the Principal Horn of the Omaha Symphony, a position he has held since 2016. In addition to this position, he also serves as the Third Horn of the Grant Park Music Festival held in Chicago, Illinois, where he spends the majority of his summers.
Hodge has appeared as soloist with numerous organizations, including the Omaha Symphony, Omaha Chamber Music Society, and the Kansas City Symphony. He also frequently appears as a guest artist and lecturer at universities around the country. Notable institutions include the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Columbus State University and the University of Missouri- Kansas City.
Hodge earned his Bachelors of Music in Horn Performance, under the tutelage of Martin Hackleman, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance in 2014. Other notable teachers include Ellen and Doug Campbell, Thomas Bacon, Tod Bowermaster, Thomas Jöstlein, Roger Kaza, Julie Landsman, and John Thomas.
Prior to his appointments in Omaha and Chicago, he served as the Principal Horn of the South Dakota Symphony and Third Horn of Orchestra Iowa in Cedar Rapids.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, Paisley, and dog, Sadie.
BM Horn Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Natalie Brooke Higgins
Dr. Natalie Brooke Higgins received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas City-Missouri Conservatory of Music and Dance, Masters of Music from George Mason University, and Bachelor of the Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Natalie is an active performer of solo, chamber, wind band, and orchestral music. As an active soloist she performs regularly on recital series, in workshops and clinics. Most recently she was a prizewinner of the International Winds, Brass, and Percussion Enkor Competition, finalist at the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Brass Competition, and winner of the St. Louis Artist Presentation Series. She has been featured with such ensembles as the Appleton Concert Band, Missouri Western State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, George Mason University Symphony Orchestra, and George Mason University Wind Ensemble. As an active chamber musician she is currently a member of the Alias Brass Company, Missouri Western State University Faculty Brass Quintet, and Muse, an oboe, horn, and piano trio. Previously she has been a member of the award winning Fountain City Brass Band, award winning University of Missouri-Kansas City Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet, award winning Borderline Brass Quintet, University of California-Los Angeles Gluck Scholarship Woodwind and Brass Quintets, and has performed with such ensembles as the Kansas City Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony, Topeka Symphony Orchestra, St. Joseph Symphony, American Festival Pops Orchestra, American Wind Symphony, Bowdoin Festival Orchestra, and Banff Festival Orchestra.
As an educator Dr. Higgins is currently instructor of horn and lecturer of high brass methods at Missouri Western State University, applied horn instructor at Avila University, and a clinician and private instructor at several high schools throughout the greater Kansas-City area. She also holds a thriving private studio, and mentors the Kansas City Horn Club Cor Youth Ensemble. Dr. Higgins has given clinics and performances at such workshops as the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, Oklahoma Horn Day, and the Western Horn Workshop.
As an administrator and artistic entrepreneur Natalie co-founded the Alias Brass Company and the Kansas City Horn Club. She has also held positions as the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra Manager and The Gluck Foundation Chamber Music Program Coordinator.
Dr. Higgins has studied and participated in master classes with many internationally recognized and accomplished brass performers and teachers, among them Martin Hackleman, Chris Cooper, Brian O’Connor, Jens Lindeman, Patrick Sheridan, Sam Pilafian, and David Wakefield.
Dr. Natalie Brooke Higgins
DMA Horn Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
MMus George Mason University
BA University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Matthew Haislip serves as Instructor of Horn at Mississippi State University. His duties include teaching applied horn lessons, music theory, ear training, and an online section of history and appreciation of music, coaching and directing the MSU Horn Choir and other chamber ensembles, performing in the MSU Faculty Brass Quintet, and performing as Principal Horn of the Starkville-MSU Symphony. In the summer months, he teaches horn students at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan and he performs with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra in Columbia, Missouri for the annual Hot Summer Nights Music Festival. He is a founding member of Quintasonic Brass, a professional brass quintet comprised of former and current faculty members of universities in the Southeastern United States. Committed to serving the music educators and students of Mississippi, he regularly visits schools throughout the state and the region to provide horn clinics and lessons for the students. Additionally, he serves as the Mississippi Area Representative for the International Horn Society.
Prior to moving to Starkville, he previously served on the music faculties of Washburn University (KS), Calvary Bible College (MO), Hardin-Simmons University (TX), and McMurry University (TX). He has held positions with several orchestras, including three seasons as Co-Principal Horn and Personnel Manager of the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale (TX) and two seasons as Assistant Principal/Utility Horn of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (KY). He has performed with dozens of orchestras, including the Cincinnati Opera (OH), the Omaha Symphony (NE), Opera Naples (FL), the North Mississippi Symphony (MS), the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (MO), the Dubuque Symphony (IA), the South Dakota Symphony (SD), and the Topeka Symphony (KS), among others.
As a clinician and a recitalist, he has appeared as a guest at universities throughout the United States, and he has contributed as a performing artist or as a clinician at such festivals and conferences as the 2016 International Horn Symposium at Ithaca College (NY), the 2016 Kansas Music Educators In-Service Workshop, the 2014 International Tuba-Euphonium Conference at Indiana University (IN), the 2014 Western Horn Workshop at Colorado State University (CO), and the 2011 White Lake Chamber Music Festival (MI), among others. He is a commissioned composer, and his book of horn studies is published by BrownWood Publishing. Most recently, two of his compositions were performed in recital at the 2016 International Horn Symposium. His articles have been published by the International Horn Society online and in print.
Dr. Haislip holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Horn Performance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Master of Music degree in Horn Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. His primary horn teachers include Martin Hackleman, Randy Gardner, Michael Morrow, Elizabeth Freimuth, Thomas Sherwood, and Duane Dugger. His hobbies include collecting CDs/LPs, visiting museums, traveling, modern architecture, Mississippi State athletics, Kansas City Royals baseball, listening to his favorite band, Yes, and spending time with his family and friends, especially with his lovely wife, Dr. Jessica Cary, a professional oboist and English hornist.
Dr. Matthew Haislip
DMA Horn Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
MMus Horn Performance, The University of Cincinnati
BaS Music Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce
Steve N. Lewis Jr. has enjoyed a diverse musical career as both a conductor and French hornist. Steve is the Music Director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble where he conducts chamber orchestra concerts and performs chamber music. Lewis has collaborated with such guest artist as pianist Charl Louw, Mary Rose Norell, and Keith Kirchoff, French hornist Brett Hodge, soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson and countertenor Jay Carter. He has conducted the Missouri Symphony, the Wilson Symphony (NC), Classical Revolution-Kansas City, OvreArts (PA) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. Steve made his opera debut in 2011 conducting the Kansas City Metro Opera’s productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
As a French hornist Steve has performed at the Stamford International Music Festival (UK) and the Brevard Music Center (NC), as well as concerts with the Black House Collective (MO), the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestras, the Mahlerfest Orchestra (CO) and the Missouri Symphony.
As an educator Steve taught at the Salvation Army’s A-OK Conservatory of Music where he conducted Brass Band, Men’s Chorus, and taught music theory. From 2012-2013 Lewis served as conducting fellow of the Kansas City Youth Symphony where he led many rehearsals and coached the brass section.
Steve attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied French horn with David Jolley. Steve holds degrees from East Carolina University (BM, Theory/Composition) where he studied French horn with Mary Burroughs and the University of Missouri- Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance (MM, Orchestral Conducting) where he studied conducting with Robert Olson and French horn with Ellen Campbell and Martin Hackleman. Steve has attended the South Carolina Conductors Institute (2007) and the International Conductors Institute workshops in Round Rock Texas (2011) and New York (2012). His many arrangements for French horn and other ensembles are published by Cimarron Music.
MM Orchestral Conducting, University of Missouri-Kansas City
BM Theory/Composition, East Carolina University
Benjamin Bacni, (Sandusky, OH) has recently graduated with his Master’s degree (2016), in Horn Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City under the tutelage of Martin Hackleman. Mr. Bacni received his BM (2014), in Horn Performance from Bowling Green State University studying with Dr. Andrew Pelletier. Upon moving to Kansas City, he was appointed as the new Principal Horn of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, now in his 3rd season.
An avid orchestral player, Mr. Bacni has previously performed with The Ballet Theatre of Toledo, Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony, Detroit Symphony Civic Ensembles, Dearborn Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and most recently the Ottawa Chamber Symphony.
Aside from orchestral playing, Mr. Bacni has had the opportunity to perform with competitive chamber ensembles, participate in the 2012 American Wind Symphony Orchestra Tour, the 2014 Ohio Light Opera Festival, and the 2016 Marrowstone Music Festival.
Always looking to gain perspective, Mr. Bacni has had the opportunity to acquire instruction from teachers such as Gail Williams, Daniel Gingrich, Dale Clevenger, Denise Tryon, Robert Ward, Aaron Brant, Bryan Kennedy, Johanna Yarbrough, Corbin Wagner, John McGuire, and William Hoyt.
MM Horn Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
BM Horn Performance, Bowling Green State Univeristy