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 »  Home  »  People  »  Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic, virtuoso hornist, makes it sound easy
 »  Home  »  Events  »  Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic, virtuoso hornist, makes it sound easy
 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic, virtuoso hornist, makes it sound easy
Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic, virtuoso hornist, makes it sound easy
By Edward Andrus | Published  04/7/2007 | People , Events , Culture And Arts | Unrated
One wonders what Mozart would have thought of his modest piece on such a scale.

Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic renders divine sounds
from the notoriously difficult French horn.

Virtuoso hornist, makes it sound easy
By Peter Dobrin
Inquirer Music Critic
Croatian-born Radovan Vlatkovic renders divine sounds from the notoriously difficult French horn. The French horn is the easiest instrument in the orchestra. It practically guarantees a gorgeous tone to anyone pressing his or her lips to the mouthpiece. So securely and evenly placed are the pitches in its range that it's hard to miss a note. If you believe the previous three sentences, you either have never actually heard the horn, or you were lulled into a delicious delusion

Thursday night by Radovan Vlatkovic in recital with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute.

It's not just that the Croatian-born hornist, a professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, has fabulous chops or a luxurious tone that makes him so extraordinary. What sets him apart is his possession of these preternatural abilities plus the fact that they are merely a springboard for his artistic agenda. The horn is one of the least evolved of familiar European instruments. Its source is naturalistic (think hunting horn, ram's horn), which makes it both charming and treacherous (we'll leave it to hornists and oboists to wage their ongoing pity party over who has the tougher instrument). Paul Dukas' Villanelle for horn and piano is a common showpiece for students, but here its value multiplied ten-fold as the perfect union of repertoire and performer personality. Vlatkovic never let you forget how wild those fanfares can be; he has a generally loud sound and is expressively adventurous. But his tone is extremely refined (he plays a Paxman, an English instrument known for its mellow flood of sound), making this Villanelle an act of bringing something in from outdoors and taming it. Other works in his program at the smallish Benjamin Franklin Hall of the American Philosophical Society referred even more explicitly to nature. Richard Strauss' Das Alphorn, in which Vlatkovic was joined by soprano Hyunah Yu, "resounded from the hilltops," and from "a valley's flowery meadow." Yu is a polished and intelligent singer, though her artistic presence was but medium-sized next to Vlatkovic's. Their partnership was similarly lopsided in Berlioz's Le jeune pâtre breton and Otto Nicolai's Variazioni Concertanti on a theme from Vincenzo Bellini's La Sonnambula. A few listeners shifted impatiently in their seats after the first few notes of Messiaen's Appel Interstellaire for solo horn. Dating from 1971, it sounds every bit its age - experimental, scrupulously unmelodic, slightly arbitrary. It uses a small vocabulary of caustic techniques: stopped notes (jamming your hand up the bell of the horn to produce an edgy, buzzy muted tone); flutter tongue (a machine-gun-like interruption of the sound produced by pushing your tongue forward and letting it roll); and very fast chromatic flourishes. But it's a brief work, and all the more alluring when you realize that it was inspired by the American canyons - another bit of the horn bringing nature indoors.

Contact music critic Peter Dobrin at 215-854-5611 or Read his recent work at

Next concert: The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society hosts pianist Richard Goode Monday at 8 p.m. at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets, in works of Bach, Mozart, Brahms and Debussy. Tickets are $22, $10 for students. Information: 215-569-8080 or

Radovan Vlatkovic, Croatia

Born in 1962 in Zagreb. At the age of six, during a 2 year stay in the United States, he received his first horn lesson. Later he studied at the Academy of Music in Zagreb as well as at the Northwestgerman Academy of Music in Detmold where he finished his studies with great distinction.

Already as student Vlatkovic carried prizes at the International Horn Competition in Liége, Belgien, at the 12th Yugoslavien Music Competition and at the International Competition ""Premo Ancona"" in Italy. Especially noteworthy was being awarded the First Prize at the ARD International Competition in Munich in 1983 Ð the prize had not been awarded in hornplaying for 14 years.

The career that followed is remarkable. As soloist he travelled most of the European continent, America, Canada, Mexico, Israel, the Near East, East Africa, Japan and Australia. Among his appearances he played with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Camerata Academica des Mozarteums, in Japan with the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

From 1982-1990 Radovan Vlatkovic was the principal horn at the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He left the Orchestra to devote himself fully to solo works. In 1992 he accepted a professorship at the ""Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst"" at Stuttgart.

Since 1998 he is professor at the ""Mozarteum"" in Salzburg. Based on his broad experience, Radovan Vlatkovic has access to an especially wide repertoire reaching from the Baroque period to the 20th century. For EMI Classics he has recorded, together with the English Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate, all the Concertos for Horn by W.A. Mozart and Richard Strauss. His recording of the Mozart Concertos for Horn was awarded the Prize German Recording Critics Prize.

Osmun Music, Inc.

Radovan Vlatkovic

 wurde 1962 in Zagreb geboren. Wührend seines zweijührigen Aufenthaltes in den Vereinigten Staaten erhielt er als sechsjühriger seinen ersten Hornunterricht. Spüter studierte er an der Musikakademie seiner Heimatstadt sowie an der Nordwestdeutschen Musikakademie in Detmold, wo er seine Studien mit Auszeichnung abschloss.
Schon als Student wurde Vlatkovic Preistrüger unter anderem beim Internationalen Hornwettbewerb in Liüge, Belgien, beim 12. Jugoslawischen Musikwettbewerb und beim Internationalen Wettbewerb "Premo Ancona" in Italien. Eine besondere Auszeichnung war der 1. Preis beim Internationalen ARD Wettbewerb in München 1983 und dies, nachdem der Preis 14 Jahre lang im Fach Horn nicht mehr vergeben wurde.

Die darauffolgende Karriere des Künstlers ist bemerkenswert. Als Solist bereiste er fast alle Lünder Europas, Amerika, Kanada, Mexico, Israel, den ganzen Nahen Osten, Ostafrika, Japan und Australien. Unter anderem spielte er mit dem Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Symphonieorchester der Bayerischen Rundfunks, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Camerata Academica des Mozarteums, in Japan mit dem Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra und dem NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Von 1982- 1990 war Radovan Vlatkovic 1. Solohornist beim Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Er verliess das Orchester, um sich ganz solistischen Aufgaben zu widmen. 1992 wurde er als Professor an die Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart berufen. Seit 1998 unterrichtet er als ordentlicher Professor am "Mozarteum" in Salzburg.

Auf Grund der vielseitigen Tütigkeiten kann Radovan Vlatkovic heute auf ein besonders breit gefüchertes Repertoire zurückgreifen, welches vom Barock bis ins 20. Jahrhundert reicht.

Vlatkovic hat für die Schallplattenfirma EMI Classics zusammen mit dem English Chamber Orchestra unter Jeffrey Tate alle Hornkonzerte von W.A. Mozart und Richard Strauss aufgenommen. Seine Einspielung der Mozart Hornkonzerte wurde mit dem Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik ausgezeichnet.


2002 © Simon Scheiwiller

Radovan Vlatkoviæ (born 1962) is a Croatian born horn player. He is the former principal horn of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He left that post in 1990 to devote himself to a solo career and has recorded many of the major works for horn. He is now professor of horn at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid. Vlatkovic also participates as a senior artist at the Marlboro Music Festival, has performed in chamber music and solo recital for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and is widely considered to be one of the world's most exceptional French Horn players.

Mozart Concerti

Radovan Vlatkovic, Mozart Concerto
Submitted by Robert Douglass on February 23, 2006 - 5:06pm. :: French Hornists Elsewhere in the News

Radovan Vlatkovic's enormous sound and largely graceful horn playing easily filled the hall, and one wonders what Mozart would have thought of his modest piece on such a scale. Even with modern improvements, the horn is erratic enough to betray even the steadiest hand. Mr. Vlatkovic did very well under pressure.

Radovan Vlatkovic
(French Horn)
One of the leading instrumentalists of his generation, Radovan Vlatkovic has travelled the globe performing extensively as soloist and popularising the horn as recording artist and teacher.

Born in Zagreb 1962 he completed his studies with Professor Prerad Detièek at the Zagreb Academy of Music and Professor Michael Höltzel at the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. Radovan Vlatkovic is the recipient of many first prizes in national and international competitions, including the Premio Ancona in 1979 and the ARD Competition in Munich in 1983 - the first to be awarded to a horn player for fourteen years. This led to numerous invitations to music festivals throughout Europe including Salzburg, Vienna, Edinburgh and Dubrovnik to name but a few, the Americas, Australia, Israel, Korea as well as regular appearances in Japan.

From 1982 until 1990 he served as Principal Horn with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin (now Deutsches Symphonie Orchester) under Maestros Riccardo Chailly and Vladimir Ashkenazy. From 1992 to 1998 he held the post of Horn Professor at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule. In1998 he became Horn Professor at the renowned Mozarteum in Salzburg. Since 2000 he holds the Horn Chair "Canon" at the "Queen Sofia" School in Madrid.

Radovan Vlatkovic has appeared as soloist with many distinguished symphony and chamber orchestras including the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Munich Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Mozarteum Orchestra, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra Rome, Rotterdam Philharmonie, the orchestras of Berne, Basel and Zürich, the Lyon and Strasbourg Orchestras, NHK Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan and Yomiuri Orchestra, Adelaide and Melbourne Orchestras.

From 2000 - 2003 he was Artistic Director of the September Chamber Music Festival in Maribor, Slovenia.

Very much in demand as chamber musician he regularly performs with András Schiff, Heinz Holliger, Elmar Schmid and Klaus Thunemann and has performed at Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus Festival, Svyatoslav Richter's December Evenings in Moscow, Oleg Kagan and Natalia Gutman's Festival Kreuth, Marlboro Festival, András Schiff's Mondsee, Vicenza and Ittingen Festivals as well as Kuhmo Festival, International Musician's Seminar Prussia Cove and Casals Festival in Prades.

Radovan Vlatkovic has participated in first performances of works by Elliott Carter, Sofia Gubaidulina, Heinz Holliger and Krzysztof Penderecki and several Croation composers who have written concertos for him.

Radovan Vlatkovic has received the German Critics Award for several of his discs. His numerous recordings include Mozart and Strauss Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra and Jeffrey Tate, works by Saint-Saens with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and Jean-Jacques Kantorow, the Britten Serenade for tenor, horn and strings with Neil Jenkins and the Oriol Ensemble in Berlin, Concertos for two horns by Leopold Mozart and Fasch with Herrmann Baumann and Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and Iona Brown. More recordings including chamber music have been issued by EMI, DECCA, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, Dabringhaus & Grimm and Denon labels.

Radovan Vlatkovic Plays a full double horn Model 20 M by Paxman of London.

This biography is for website use only. For a full and updated biography please email

Contact Details:
David Sigall
+44 (0)20 8874 3222
+44(0)20 8877 3113

Territories: UK

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  • Comment #1 (Posted by zvonko springer)

    Prisustvovao sam na vise koncerata s Radovanom Vlatkovicem ovdje u Salzburgu. Imam nekoliko snimljenih koncerata sto na CD ili na audio trakama. Sve dobro!
    Srdacni pozdrav od Zvonka od Hrastovog brezuljka
    PS: Clanak o Radovanu je veoma opsiran i zbog toga nece zanimati one, koji ne zanima "ozbiljna" muzika.
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