William and Gayle Cook Music Library
Past School of Music Faculty
Tenure at the School of Music: 1960-1982
[ Biography | Scores Edited | Writings | Selective Bibliography | Discography ]
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Philip Farkas was born on March 5, 1914 to Emil Nelson Farkas and Anna Cassady Farkas. As a child, Farkas' first exposure to music was with a piano in the Farkas home. His parents were not musically inclined, but his mother thought piano lessons were important, as popular thought of the time dictated. Farkas also learned how to play the mouth organ, and became quite good.
At age twelve, Farkas joined the Boy Scouts. The troop needed a bugler, so Farkas volunteered. Farkas had no experience of the instrument prior to this, so he employed the help of a neighbor who was a jazz trumpet player. In a short time Farkas became proficient, and remained a bugler until age fourteen.
At about that time, Farkas started to show signs of asthma, and his parents thought that playing a wind instrument in the school band would help. The bass drum and the tuba were the only instruments available. Farkas selected the tuba. Because the tuba was so heavy, Farkas took the streetcar to get to and from school. He did this until one day the streetcar conductor decided that the tuba was taking up too much space on the streetcar. Farkas asked the conductor what instrument he would be allowed to take on board. The conductor spotted a group of band students on the street, and pointed to a French horn case. Shortly afterwards, Farkas and his father went to downtown Chicago and rented a Schmidt horn for $3 a month. Farkas loved it immediately, and it was at that point Farkas decided he wanted to become a professional horn player. The year was 1927.
Farkas' first horn teacher was Earl Stricker. In 1930, Farkas became a student at Calumet High School, and played in the band and orchestra there, as well as in the All-Chicago High School Orchestra. Also, Farkas began studying privately with Louis Dufrasne, a great horn artist of the time. In addition, Farkas began playing with the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
In 1933, Farkas began his career as first horn player in the newly formed Kansas City Philharmonic, his first professional job. He had not yet finished high school. In 1936, Farkas finished his tenure with that orchestra, and began a period as first horn in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra until 1941. From 1941 to 1945, Farkas played first horn with the Cleveland Orchestra. From 1945 to 1946, he played first horn in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1946, Farkas returned to the Cleveland Orchestra. One year later, Farkas returned to play first horn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and continued in that capacity until 1960.
In 1960 Dean Wilfred Bain of the Indiana University School of Music told Farkas that the School's horn professor had left, and wanted to know if he was interested in the position. Believing that the pressure of playing under Fritz Reiner was not good for his health, Farkas accepted. During his tenure at Indiana University, Farkas gave many clinics and performed as soloist all over the United States. He also founded a publishing company, Wind Music, Inc., shortly after his arrival in Bloomington. In April 1978, Farkas received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Eastern Michigan University.
Farkas retired from the School of Music in 1982. The stress of travel and responsibilities at the School of Music had increased dramatically over the years, and had been taking its toll on his health. For the remainder of his life, from 1982 to 1992, Farkas remained active as a performer and clinician.
Farkas died on December 21, 1992.
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Farkas, Philip. Orchestral Passages for the French Horn from the Modern French Repertoire. Paris: Durand; Philadelphia: Elkan-Vogal Co., 1958.
_____, and Philip Palmer, eds. 8 Artistic Brass Sextets. Bloomington, IN: Brass Publications, 1965.
_____, and Milan Yancich, eds. Complete First Horn Parts to Johannes Brahms' Major Orchestra Works. Bloomington, IN: Wind Music Inc., 1969.
_____. Complete First Horn Parts to Tchaikowsky's Major Orchestral Works. Bloomington, IN: Wind Music Inc., 1969.
Grieg, Edvard. To Spring: French Horn Solo (E-flat Horn) with Piano Accompaniment. New York: Belwin, 1964.
Herbert, Victor. Gypsy Love Song: French Horn Solo (E-flat Horn) with Piano Accompaniment. New York: Belwin, 1964.
Robinson, William C. An Illustrated Method for the French Horn. San Antonio: Southern Music, 1978.
Schubert, Franz. Andante from Quartet in A minor, op. 29. Rockville Centre, NY: Belwin, 1963.
Smith, Leonard. Chalet: French Horn Solo (E-flat Horn) with Piano Accompaniment. Melville, NY: Belwin Mills, 1968.
_____. Count Down: French Horn Solo (E-flat Horn) with Piano Accompaniment. Melville, NY: Belwin Mills, 1962.
_____. The Huntsman. Melville, NY: Belwin Mills, 1968.
Vander Woude, Mary. Pre-Virtuoso Studies: For Trumpet, Cornet, Alto Horn, Mellophone, Treble Clef Baritone. New York: Chas. Colin, 1963.
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In chronological order.
Farkas, Philip. The Art of French Horn Playing: A Treatise on the Problems and Techniques of French Horn Playing. Chicago: C. F. Summy, 1956.
_____. "The Use of the Lower Lip in Horn Playing." International Musician 58, no. 5 (November 1959): 22-23.
_____. The Art of Brass Playing: A Treatise on the Formation and Use of the Brass Player's Embouchure. Bloomington, IN: Brass Publications, 1962.
_____. A Photographic Study of 40 Virtuoso Horn Players' Embouchures. Bloomington, IN: Wind Music, 1970.
_____. Kinkan Gakki O Fuko Hito No Tame Ni: Amubushua No Keisei To Sono Yoho (The Art of brass playing: a treatise on the formation and use of the brass player's embouchure. Japanese.). Translated and edited by Kiyoshi Ito and others. Tokyo: Paipasu Grupu, 1971.
_____. The Art of Musicianship: A Treatise on the Skills, Knowledge, and Sensitivity Needed by the Mature Musician to Perform in an Artistic and Professional Manner. Bloomington, IN: Musical Publications, 1976.
_____. "Reflections of a Longtime Musician." The Instrumentalist 42, no. 2 (September 1987): 20-26.
_____. "The 15-Hour Recording Session, and Other Recollections of Playing Under Stock, Rodzinski, Kubelik and Reiner." The Instrumentalist 44, no. 1 (August 1989): 28-30+.
_____. "Playing the First Horn Part to the Introduction of Richard Strauss's Tone Poem, Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)." The Horn Call 22, no. 2 (April 1992): 55-56.
Planas, Jaime. "Further Experience with Rupture of the Orbicularis Oris in Trumpet Players." Discussion of this article by Philip Farkas follows. ITG Journal 16, no. 4 (1992): 22-27.
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AmeriGrove, Baker's20Cl, New Grove (Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Sources)
Betts, James Edmond. "A Comprehensive Performance Project in Horn Literature with an Essay Consisting of a Comparison of Concepts of Horn Technique as Expressed in Selected Instrumental Materials for Horn Dating from 1798 to 1960." DMA document, University of Iowa, 1984.
Compares the horn technique concepts of Anton Joseph Hampl, Giovanni Punto, Heinrich Domnich, Louis François Dauprat, Jacques François Gallay, Henri Kling, Oskar Franz, Josef Schantl, Domenico Ceccarossi, Philip Farkas, and Lucien Thevet.
Chicowitz, Vincent, Tom Erwin, and Philip Farkas et al. "Getting Down to Brass Facts: A Roundtable." Music Educators Journal 66, no. 1 (September 1979): 40-47.
Decker, Richard. "A Complete Discography of Recordings Made by Philip Farkas, James Chambers, and Mason Jones." The Horn Call Annual 1 (1989): 20-58.
Fako, Nancy Jordan. Philip Farkas & His Horn: A Happy, Worthwhile Life. Elmhurst, IL: Crescent Park Music Publications, 1998.
Meckna, Michael. "'As If Your Life Depended On It': Advice from Some Horn Masters." The Horn Call 24, no. 2 (1994): 39-41.
Neidig, K.L. "Philip Farkas: Master Horn Teacher." Interview. The Instrumentalist 33, no. 9 (April 1979): 16-23.
Phillips, Harvey, moderator. "The Evolution of the Chicago Symphony Brass Sound: A Roundtable Discussion with Adolph Herseth, Arnold Jacobs, and Philip Farkas." The Instrumentalist 44, no. 2 (September 1989): 30+.
Stewart, M. Dee, ed. Philip Farkas: The Legacy of a Master. Northfield, IL: Instrumentalist Publishing Company, 1990.
Thompson, Virginia M. Weichman. "Comparison of Selected Writings on Melodic Interpretation." DMA doc., University of Iowa, 1987.
A comparison of writings by Donald Barra, David Blum, Oliver Colbentson, Grosvenor Cooper, Leonard Meyer, Philip Farkas, Hermann Keller, Mathis Lussy, Erwin Stein, and James Thurmond which sheds light on the relevance of harmony to melodic interpretation, the rhythmic structure of melodic lines, and the hierarchies in melody.
Winter, James H. "Philip Farkas: On Horn Playing." Interview. Woodwind World 3, no. 2 (April 10, 1959): 7-8.
Zimmerman, Jack. "Philip Farkas' Last Stories." The Instrumentalist 47, no. 8 (March 1993): 96+.
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A comprehensive discography of Farkas recordings prior to 1990 is found in "A Complete Discography of Recordings Made by Philip Farkas, James Chambers, and Mason Jones" by Richard Decker, The Horn Call Annual 1 (1989): 20-58.
Two further recordings:
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mozart. Special ed. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Volume 6 (From the archives). Chicago Symphony Orchestra CSO-CD91-2, 1991. 2 Compact Discs.
Farkas, Philip. Shared Reflections: The Legacy of Philip Farkas. Summit DCD 176, 1995. Compact Disc.
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Created: Oct.-Nov. 1999 / Peter H. Lisius
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