Alec Frank-Gemmill divides his time between concertos, recitals, chamber music and orchestral playing. He is widely recognised for pushing the boundaries of the French horn, whether by commissioning new music, making transcriptions of chamber music or through historically-informed performance practice.
Alec was a member of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme 2014-16, appearing as soloist with the BBC orchestras, including in performances of rarely-heard repertoire by Ethel Smyth, Malcolm Arnold and Charles Koechlin. He has been a regular soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, performing concertos by Mozart (on the natural horn) with Richard Egarr, Ligeti and Strauss with Robin Ticciati, and Schumann with John Eliot Gardiner. In 2017 Alec gave the première of James Macmillan’s Concertino for Horn, conducted by Andrew Manze.
Often invited as a guest principal horn, Alec has frequently appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He also performs as part of period-instrument groups, most notably with Ensemble Marsyas. Their latest album “Edinburgh 1742: Barsanti & Handel” was critically acclaimed and singled out for its solo horn playing.
Alec is the recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship, which enabled him to make two recordings for the BIS label: a disc of 19th Century works for horn and piano with Alasdair Beatson, and baroque concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGegan. Both albums have been highly praised in the press.
Alec is Professor of Horn at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, his alma mater. He also studied in Cambridge, Zürich and Berlin.
“A phenomenon with a tone of golden purity, wraparound warmth and ecstatic afterglow.” Financial Times
“A stunning performance… Alec Frank-Gemmill made the instrument dart, wail and flutter as if those were normal things for a French horn to do.” The Herald
“I especially enjoyed Alec Frank-Gemmill’s cheeky handling of the runs and decorations in the Horn Concertino.” Gramophone
Having a Fellowship is really exciting. I feel BBT has enabled my horn playing to go to new places. It’s not just a question of logistical or financial support with each project but also about their belief in me and what an artist can do. As such it is a wonderful gift; a liberating experience.
Photographs by Jen Owens, Andy Saunders