Mary Buscanics-Jones, French Horn
When did you begin to play your instrument?
I started horn in 7th grade. Previous to that I took piano lessons starting in 3rd grade then played flute in 6th grade. Needless to say, switching to horn was wonderful!!
Where did you study your main instrument; with whom?
In high school I studied horn with Patricia Standley through the CMU Saturday Extension School. (Fun Fact : As a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony she was on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” in March of 1968!) I went to Carnegie-Mellon University 1972-1977, where I studied with Forrest Standley through five years of college and beyond. In Aspen I studied with Michael Hatfield. When I moved to Chicago I studied with then-Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal hornist Dale Clevenger, Eugene Chausow and Arnold Jacobs, and had just a couple of lessons with Gail Williams.
When did you join ESO?
I auditioned for Margaret Hillis and Robert Hanson and began with ESO the fall of 1981.
What other orchestras have you played with/do you play with now?
The many groups I’ve played with include Chicago Opera Theater 2018, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
What was your most memorable ESO performance?
This past February I played second horn on the Strauss Oboe Concerto. The part was very unusual in that it was mostly separate from the first horn part and really fun. It had these neat parts interwoven with other instruments including the solo oboe. I was so glad that I did my “homework” before that ESO week began! Before Covid-19 social distancing was put in place, I had just finished a week of Ein Heldenleben with Madison Symphony. Overnight I lost weeks of orchestra work that I was preparing to perform. It was so sad to miss out on the weeks of orchestra playing, but just having played wonderful interesting music in two different orchestras helped me to cope.
What are some of your interests, and how are you passing the time?
I’ve truly been enjoying my walks outside. They seem to help me to stay grounded. My husband and I walk a bike trail and it is a good way to remember how much we enjoy time together. I’ve been sorting music and stuff and listening to WFMT. I’m surprised that I am enjoying just listening to music. For many years listening to music has been almost exclusively to learn it in order to perform it! I am reading much more, and really just learning to relax!!