Alec Frank-Gemmill

Alec Frank-Gemmill
Principal Horn

Alec Frank-Gemmill ranks among the finest of a new generation of horn players. He is recognised internationally for the beauty of his tone and the keen sense of musicianship he brings to performances of works by a wide range of composers. Prize-winner of the 2011 Aeolus Wind Competition in Germany, Alec has performed concertos with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker and Sinfonietta Köln. In the UK he appears regularly as a soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, most recently in Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings for which he received rave reviews. Alec can be heard on the SCO “Weber: Wind Concertos” disc. Released last year on Linn, it met with great critical acclaim.

Highly sought-after by festivals and colleagues alike to play chamber music, Alec can also be heard frequently in recital. A former member of both the Making Music and Countess of Munster Recital Schemes, he has performed works for horn and piano throughout Great Britain. Alec recently appeared in a trio with tenor John Mark Ainsley and pianist Tom Poster at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh. He is a regular guest at the prize-winning Fredener Musiktage, where he has recorded works by Brahms, Ligeti and Reinecke for broadcast on Deutschlandradio Kultur. In the summer Alec not only returned to Freden but also took part in chamber music festivals in Corbridge, England and Horten, Norway. He was Artist in Residence at the Lammermuir Festival 2013 and in October performed the Brahms Trio and Mozart Quintet for horn and strings at the Wigmore Hall. 

Alec combines solo appearances with work as first horn in various orchestras. After serving an apprenticeship in the orchestra of Zürich Opera he became Solohorn of the Tiroler Sinfonieorchester in Innsbruck, Austria at the age of 22. The following year he became principal horn of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Since then Alec has played with numerous orchestras including the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Dresden. He is also a regular guest of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.

Alec is one of only a few musicians to have mastered both modern and period horns. Besides playing the classical repertoire on the valveless natural horn with the SCO, he has championed the use of early romantic instruments such as the piston horn and Vienna horn. He is often invited to perform with the Academy of Ancient Music among other period instrument orchestras. This summer Alec explored Telemann's solo/chamber works for baroque horn as part of the Cottier Chamber Project in Glasgow. Contemporary music has also been an important part of his repertoire since working with Pierre Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy. He was the soloist in Ligeti's Hamburg Concerto with SCO under Robin Ticciati and also recently performed Messiaen's Appel interstellaire at the East Neuk Festival.

Born in 1985, Alec grew up in Kent, England. He read music at Robinson College, Cambridge graduating in 2006 with the highest marks in his year. Having studied with Marcus Bates he went on to complete a Masters degree at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Hugh Seenan, Jeff Bryant, Richard Bissill and Andrew Clark. (He is now himself Visiting Professor at the Guildhall). Then in Zürich he was taught by Glen Borling and Radovan Vlatković. Alec's final studies were at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin with Marie-Luise Neunecker. In April he returned to Berlin to feature in the television programme “Stars von Morgen” hosted by Rolando Villazón. It will be broadcast in December 2013.

What is your most memorable concert? (either playing or listening)?

The Huelgas vocal ensemble performing works by Michelangelo Rossi in Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Saintes, France (July 2008)