Berlin Philharmonic principal horn is taking up conducting

Berlin Philharmonic principal horn is taking up conducting


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2022

Stefan Dohr is principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, has been since 1993.

But Covid-19 provoked second thoughts.

In his mid-50s, he took up conducting. He booked lessons with Paavo Järvi. He’s still beating. On the other hand, he keeps commissioning new horn concertos.

Stefan mentions that he never finished school. He’s looking for new challenges.  ‘“I definitely don’t overthink things,’ he says, ‘I’m a horn player.’



  • Paul Johnson says:

    I met Stefan before the Berliners Mahler 7 Prom.
    I asked him “Maestro Dohr, could we share a selfie?”
    He replied “I am not a maestro. I am Stefan!”

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know him, but I do know many other “Maestros” who when addressed in this way always respond with such colloquial modesty (e.g. just call me “Herb”). I find it to be a bit of an act, to be honest. Well intended, but nauseatingly insufferable. I’m sure mine is a minority opinion, but depending from whom its coming from, it can be highly disingenuous.

      Conducting is a different art. Great instrumentalists don’t always make great conductors. Stefan Dohr is obviuosly a very talented musician, and I wish him all the best for his conducting career.

      • Artie says:

        Don’t worry. If we ever meet, I’ll remind you that it’s spelled with a capital “M.” That should relieve you of any stress and remind you of your position in life.

  • J says:

    A rare talent in horn playing, wishing him the best in conducting!

  • Novagerio says:

    Yeah, they all think it’s so bloody easy…

    • RW2013 says:

      Just look at them to know it’s not – Schellenberger, Steffens, Dodds, Witt etc. – it will be Willis next!

    • Guest says:

      It’s way easier to conduct than it is to play horn or even squeezebox. They fake, dance, and pose, and the audience and critics are none the wiser. Try faking your way through a concert on any instrument. The conductor won’t know, but the musicians will.

    • Tamino says:

      I don’t think that’s it. But they see the conductor’s fee for a concert week is five times of what it is for coming as a soloist. 😉 And the amount of work is about the same, if not even more for the instrumentalist.

  • MacroV says:

    As long as he keeps playing the horn, great. He has every other week off, so might as well. And I’m sure there’s a good number of conductors in the Berlin Phil’s ranks.

  • Claudio says:

    As I know his fellow colleague, Andreas Ottensamer also makes attempts in conducting. Has anyone experienced results of his attempts?

    Radek Baborak, former solo horn of Berlin Phil, took up conducting as well.

    I highly respect Stefan as a horn player, let’s have some inputs to start judge his conducting.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      I heard Barry Tuckwell conduct the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra many years ago. But I no longer remember what was on the program.

  • Charles III says:

    God save the audience..

  • Pedro says:

    I have heard Mr. Dohr in a quite good Dvorak 8 despite poor acoustics. That was in Madeira. Next year will be Albrecht Mayer turn, with Beethoven 5. Both of them come for masterclasses and conduct the Madeira Classical Orchestra.Mr. Door also played Mozart’s Horn concerto nr. 3. He and the audience were happy with the results.

  • Graham B says:

    I have today been to a concert by the Aichi Chamber Orchestra in Aichi, Japan which was partially conducted by Stefan Dohr. He conducted the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and also directed the orchestra while playing the horn in Mozart Horn Concerto No.4.

    It sounded very good to my ears!

  • Rob says:

    If you have to book lessons then probably best not to continue

    • Tamino says:

      Uh, what? You believe conductors wake up one day in the morning, kissed by a muse, all ready to conquer the world with their incredible exceptional skills acquired from the fairy in wet dreams over night?