John Zirbel, French horn

Instrumental Focus

  • horn

Programs Taught

  • Artist-Faculty Emeritus

John Zirbel, horn, has been Cor Solo of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since 1979. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, he began playing the horn at age nine. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with John Barrows and Douglas Hill. Mr. Zirbel enjoys teaching and mentoring talented young horn players both at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he serves as principal horn of the Aspen Festival Orchestra. As a soloist, Mr. Zirbel was a prize winner at the 1981 Grand Concours International de Cor in Liège and has performed all the major horn concertos with the OSM. He especially enjoys bringing to life new works composed for him: in 2001, he gave the premiere of Serénade Héroïque, a horn concerto written for him by Quebec composer Jacques Hétu. In 2015 he premiered Cor et Âme, a wonderful new work for horn and orchestra by Denis Gougeon.