September 3, 2015

Meet Maura McCune Corvington, new second horn at the RPO

Maura McCune Corvington joins the RPO this season as second horn. We caught up with the Chicago native and Eastman grad on returning to Rochester, reuniting with her former professor and mentor (RPO Principal Horn W. Peter Kurau), and what pieces she is most looking forward to playing at the RPO this season!
Maura McCune Corvington
credit: Kate Lemmon

Maura, you grew up in Illinois and were inspired to play after seeing the Chicago Symphony Brass. How old were you when you started attending symphonic concerts?

I vividly remember my first Chicago Symphony Orchestra holiday concert, and my parents, brother, and I never missed the annual performance of A Christmas Carol (which features a horn player) at Goodman Theatre. I have always equated music and horn with holidays and family!

Sounds like you found a love for horn at an early age. When was your “aha” moment as a musician?

My grandmother and great aunt, both professional musicians, patiently encouraged me as a budding young pianist refusing to learn to read bass clef. But my “aha!” moment was with my family in attendance at a CSO Ravinia summer performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. As a beginning band student I had no clue that the horns were instructed to “aufstehen” (stand up) in the finale. When the eight horn players stood in choreographed unison (and stole the show, of course) I was sold!

Before completing your master’s in horn performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, you completed your undergraduate at Eastman under the tutelage of RPO Principal Horn Peter Kurau. What’s it like to be returning to Rochester and what are you most looking forward to about working with your former teacher and mentor?

My husband and I relocated in the fall of 2013 from Houston to Honolulu where we performed with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. Patrick and I have definitely been ridiculed by friends, family, and even colleagues for parting with the sandy beaches of Oahu in favor of the snowy streets of Rochester! However, this vibrant musical community was my first home away from home!

As my mentor at Eastman, Peter Kurau encouraged me to make discoveries, to formulate plans, and to be relentless in achieving my dreams! I have great respect for him as well for his vast knowledge and innate musicality. I am most delighted that I will share a stage with him and our section mates to touch RPO audiences and to inspire the next generation of Eastman students as I was inspired!

You will also be mentoring freshmen studying horn at Eastman this spring. If you could give any advice to aspiring young musicians, what would it be?

Dream big! Dream really big!

What are you most looking forward to performing this season with the RPO?

I have an inextinguishable love for Beethoven, Mahler, and Strauss, but my musical tastes change daily! The breadth of repertoire to be performed during the 2015-16 RPO season is so exciting to me. Sunday Matinees will serve as intimate musical experiences for audiences and performers where we can see, feel, and hear every tiny detail. Nothing compares to interacting musically with kids, so the OrKIDStra concerts will be a breath of fresh air. I already imagine a snowy winter day on Gibbs Street and a cozy evening showing of Home Alone accompanied by John Williams’ score. I love John Williams’ music! And pops shows are just a blast! I could not ask for more!

Look for Maura onstage with the RPO this season, and learn more about her on!