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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Marine Band French Horn Player Makes Solo Debut with Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1

By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | August 15, 2017


On Aug. 16-17, French horn player Staff Sgt. Cecelia Buettgen will make her solo debut with the Marine Band when she performs Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, Opus 11. The concerts, conducted by Assistant Director Major Michelle Rakers, will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16 at the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol and 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Sylvan Theater, on the Washington Monument grounds. The program is free and will also include works by Carl Maria von Weber, Bedrich Smetana, Frank Ticheli, Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne, and John Philip Sousa.

Buettgen joined the Marine Band in 2013 after performing as the acting principal horn of the Beijing National Opera House in China and as a member of the Columbus and Lima Symphony Orchestras in Ohio, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in Newport, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Indiana, and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra in St. Joseph. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music but she would like to dedicate this performance to the memory of her late high school horn teacher Walter Lewis. “I first learned this concerto while studying with him,” she said. “He was also the person who encouraged me to audition for the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra scholarship, which I won and got to perform the first movement of this concerto. This performance, however, will be the first time I am performing the second and third movements.”

In addition this will be Buettgen’s first solo with the band. “I am very thankful that the Marine Band affords its musicians the opportunity to work with not only each other, but with our amazing conductors as well,” she said. “Maj. Rakers reached out and together we thought of a few pieces that would fit well on this program; we ended up choosing this one. I hope the audience enjoys this romantic work as much as I do!”

The Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 is a staple in the horn repertoire and can be found on professional horn audition lists across the globe and it’s easy to understand why. “If you’ve ever listened to the orchestral works of Richard Strauss you’ve probably noticed that there are lots of great French horn moments,” Buettgen explained. “Richard’s father, Franz, was the principal horn player of the Court Opera in Munich. This very much influenced Richard’s musical works, so much so that he wrote this Concerto when he was only 19 years old.”

Although the last movement is her favorite to perform, with its fast and exciting passages and romantic, lyrical lines, Buettgen advises the audience not to discount the middle movement. “Listen to the beautiful song-like melody,” she said. “Strauss plays with both major and minor harmonies—one moment you feel love and hope and the next, longing and perhaps sadness. Listen for yourself and imagine what story might be playing out!”

The Marine Band will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16 on the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol and 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The concerts are free but weather permitting. Concert cancellations will be announced by 6 p.m. at (202) 433-4011 and www.facebook.com/marineband. The full program and notes may be found at www.marineband.marines.mil.

Complete program and notes

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