Death of an American horn hero, aged 81

Death of an American horn hero, aged 81


norman lebrecht

February 20, 2018

Ed Birdwell, principal horn of the American Symphony Orchestra and managing partner of the American Brass Quintet, died on January 26 in Huntsville, Alabama. This is the first public notification of his passing.

Edward Ridley Birdwell was always interested in running things. He went on from playing horn to being manager of concert operations at Carnegie Hall, 1976-1978; executive director, Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra; 1978-1981; orchestra manager, Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1981-1983; director music program, National Endowment for the Arts, 1984-1987; executive vice president and managing
director, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, 1987-1992.





  • Roger Kaza says:

    Ed was a great guy. One of the first horn players I knew who played a “triple horn.” Now they are everywhere. He also ran the Marrowstone Festival for the Seattle Youth Symphony. Rest in Peace, my friend.

  • David J. Hyslop says:

    Got to know and work with Ed in his managment roles in Boston, the NEA and Seattle.

    We also did a few on site NEA evaluations together years ago.

    Ed was a talented and kind man who loved music and colud play the horn

  • Richard Sparks says:

    I got to know Ed when he was at Seattle and I conducted the SS Chorale from 1990-94. Wonderful man.