Jonathan Boen, Horn
Hometown: Rockford, Illinois
Joined Lyric Orchestra in 1978
Education: Bachelor of Music, Northern Illinois University
With which other orchestras have you performed, either as a member or as a soloist?
I also perform as Principal Horn with the Music of the Baroque and the Grant Park Orchestra in Millennium Park. I’m on the faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston and Roosevelt University downtown. My solo engagements have taken me many places, in addition to giving masterclasses as far away as Japan.
Who are your favorite composers?
When I was younger, my answer would have been directly related to the composers who wrote the best horn parts: Strauss, Wagner, Puccini, Berg and Janacek, to name a few. At this point in my career, it has much more to do with the setting of the moment as there are so many great operas by Mozart, Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, etc. where we are part of the texture and fabric of the story…and when that’s well done, it’s very satisfying.
Why did you choose your instrument?
I was in the 7th grade and wanted to be in the band, so I went to the director’s office, saw a poster of the horn, and liked the way it looked. I chose it not even knowing what it sounded like!
Outside of the pit:
I like to spend time in my garden. I have 11 raised beds in my backyard for vegetables, and have spent years working on landscaping the yard with perennials, potted plants and annuals. So much of what we do as musicians is on demand, in the moment, and very exciting and/or stressful. Gardening is a wonderful complement to the demands of performing as it allows me to be outdoors and in the light, connecting with nature, relaxing at my own pace, and the by-products (vegetables and flowers) are amazing.