BY JEREMY SHERE
When he was 12, celebrated French horn player and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Professor Myron Bloom was taken by his parents to see famed cellist Emanuel Feuermann in concert. “I emerged knowing that I wanted to spend my life in music,” remembers Bloom, now 89.
Bloom played principal horn in the New Orleans Symphony from 1949 to 1954, then he began a long tenure as principal horn for the Cleveland Orchestra until 1977. Argentine pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim then invited him to play principal horn for the Orchestre de Paris, a position he held until accepting a professorship at the IU School of Music in 1985. Along the way, he also taught at schools such as Carnegie Mellon University, the Juilliard School’s Music Division, Boston University, and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.
Although he admits his first love was the cello, he was drawn to the French horn — “the most noble of instruments,” he says — partly because of its dual nature; while made of brass, the horn is actually a member of the woodwind family. Plus, he contends, the French horn potentially saved his life. During World War II, he auditioned for and was accepted into the United States Navy Band instead of being shipped off to fight in the Pacific.
Bloom says having worked with some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, including cellist Pablo Casals and conductor Leonard Bernstein, informs his teaching. “I can pass on to my students this historical lineage of the greatest values and the great respect and love that these musical greats had for music,” Bloom says. “My approach to teaching is great love for the students but demanding the highest level of achievement, just as it was expected of me.”
Bloom has also had a distinguished recording career, having participated in several celebrated recordings, including Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 in E Major with conductor George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, Franz Schubert’s Auf Dem Strom, and Johannes Brahms’ Trio for Horn with pianist Rudolf Serkin and violinist Michael Tree.
“Music is a gift from God,” Bloom says. “It’s so precious that we must constantly be filled with awe. Music will constantly keep one looking upwards and striving to arrive at a goal that can always be improved upon. At 89, I am still feeling young because of this!”