The Wedge mouthpiece rim has been very easy me for to adapt to. I started using it full time as soon as I received it eight months ago. Immediately I found that my stamina was much improved, slurs became easier and it encouraged a more relaxed embouchure. The only time I stopped using it was when I was playing a high programme on the baroque horn and it didn't suit the historical instrument, so I switched back to my old mouthpiece rim for a week without any difficulty. Interestingly the rim still works well with Classical and Romantic period historical instruments, so I have happily continued to use it with them, as well as on my valved horns. Dr. Harrison has agreed to see whether a mouthpiece rim could be made to suit the baroque horn too.
Andrew Clark's Biography
Andrew Clark has been blowing down pieces of metal tube ever since he first emptied his grandmother’s kitchen cupboard and found a funnel before the age of two. This interest was transferred to the French horn at school when the education department supplied two new horns for the school orchestra. After one week of using the new instrument he was chastised by the music teacher because it had become tarnished, so for a couple of years he avoided practice for fear of spoiling its shine.
Joining a youth orchestra inspired him to practise, and he started saving his pocket money, eventually persuading his parents to help him buy his first horn: one that was tarnished by much use. In a bid to catch up with technology he purchased a lacquered horn before entering the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1983. There, encouraged by horn professors Halstead, Chidell and Bryant, he was reintroduced to the joys of un-lacquered horns in the form of historical instruments (which should not be subjected to over-zealous polishing) and after graduating he went on to perform with many orchestras and ensembles using both period instruments or their modern counterparts.
Highlights of his career include many years of playing principal horn in London Classical Players (Norrington); Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Academy of Ancient Music (Hogwood); English Concert (Pinnock); and Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Koopman) with whom he recorded Bach’s Cantatas. As a soloist he has made several commercial recordings: concertos by Vivaldi, Fasch and Crusell; works for horn and piano by Beethoven and Czerny; the Brahms Horn Trio, Mozart’s Horn Quintet, Beethoven’s Sextet and the Sonata da Caccia by Thomas Ades. He was also a horn teacher at London’s Royal Academy of Music for seventeen years and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for ten years. He has performed in forty countries, but is now attempting to tour less often to reduce his carbon foot-print.
In 2010 Andrew moved from England with his wife, bassoonist Katrina Russell, to Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. He has set up a horn making workshop there, building customized instruments for himself and for colleagues around the world. For the 2011 concert season he will be playing principal horn with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra.