Fourth Horn Kevin Haseltine is one of the newest members of the DSO, having won his job just one year after completing his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University. Read on for a Q&A with him!


Hometown: Houston, Texas

Education: Northwestern University

With the DSO since: 2015

Previous position: Horn Fellow, New World Symphony Orchestra

How did you make your way to Dallas?
This position opened up during my first year of a three-year fellowship at New World Symphony, so there was no pressure to get a job right away. I figured that I might as well take as many auditions as I could, and I ended up winning. When you get a job this good, you’re not going to turn it down!

How did you choose the French horn as your instrument?
I have my mom to thank for this. When I was starting middle school, she suggested joining the band, since she had enjoyed it so much. Knowing I had a good ear for music, she suggested trying the French horn. The band director showed me how to buzz on the mouthpiece, then they gave me an instrument to play. I think back fondly on the days when it was that simple... Anyway, my course was set from that moment.

What you really want to know is why I've stuck with the instrument. For one, no other instrument can produce that luscious tone that every horn player strives for. It's exhilarating to play Strauss or Mahler with a horn section as great as the DSO’s – you feel invincible when everyone nails a big moment together. Also, I’m a perfectionist, so I know there will always be something for me to work on, and there is nothing more rewarding than playing a passage exactly as you imagined it.

Was your plan always to be a professional musician?
Not always. I started college as a double major in engineering and music, which doesn’t really mix – you can’t do both at the highest level. I decided during my freshman year that I wanted to be a musician. Gale Williams, my teacher at Northwestern, was a very positive influence in my life.

What does a typical day as an orchestra musician consists of?
On a rehearsal day, I’ll get up and warm up, come to rehearsal and just play it down. If it’s a really hard chop day, or a double rehearsal day, I’m not going to be able to practice much later in the day. But if it’s an easier day, I’ll usually go home after rehearsal and practice for two hours or so. It also really just depends on the repertoire.

What do you like to do outside of music?
I enjoy cooking, eating and reading. But I don’t have any cool hobbies outside of music. Right now, I’m watching Criminal Minds. Crime shows are all great.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
December was always a great time for me growing up, for a number of reasons. I am Jewish, so weof course celebrated Hannukah, but we also celebrated Christmas. And my birthday is December 1st, so it's easy to see why it’s my favorite month! 

While getting presents during the holidays was great as a kid, it was actually the family time that I cherished most. Christmas Day was always a lazy day for us to play our new games, watch movies together and eat some turkey. For a couple of years, one of our traditions was to have a Lord of the Rings marathon – we would watch all three movies back-to-back. Nowadays, it is a lot harder to get the whole family together at any one point, so any time we actually all manage to come together – I consider it a holiday. 

Cats or dogs?
Tex-Mex or BBQ? Tex-Mex
Beer or wine? Depends! Both?
Favorite composer?Mahler and Strauss
Favorite books? Sci-fi
Cake or pie? Pie
Favorite Dallas restaurant?
All the Thai places


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