BRIAN DRAKE grew up in Akron, Ohio, where he was awed by the Cleveland Orchestra’s children’s concerts, inspiring him to learn to play the French horn. He attended the Eastman School of Music, winning a national audition for Second horn of the Rochester Philharmonic immediately upon graduation. While in Rochester, Brian also worked in Eastman’s instrument repair department. He was a student of Milan Yancich and Verne Reynolds and also studied wind chamber music with the legendary French flutist Marcel Moyse in Marlboro, Vermont.
Chosen by Carlo Maria Giulini, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1979 as Fourth horn and was appointed Third horn nine years later. A versatile hornist, he has played every chair in the section, serving as acting Second horn and acting Associate Principal horn as needed. In the 2014/15 season he returned to his roots on Fourth horn, glad to once again be providing the bass note to the horn section.
Brian considers himself fortunate to have worked with many great musicians, including Giulini, Boulez, Leinsdorf, Bernstein, Ligeti, and Lutosławski, and to have had the chance to travel around the world with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on tour.
He has taught on the faculties of California State University, Los Angeles and Chapman University, where he performed solo concertos with their orchestras as well as faculty solo recitals. He has also taught for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute and performed on the Green Umbrella (New Music Group) and Chamber Music series. In addition to his private teaching studio, he enjoys encouraging young brass players by leading sectional rehearsals at high school and college levels.
Brian’s hobbies include hiking with his Norwegian Elkhounds, listening to traditional Irish music and making “tin” whistles.