G. Janson, 57, Hornist For Orchestra

Posted: March 18, 1997

Glenn Janson, 57, a hornist whose remarkable career with the Philadelphia Orchestra included two tenures - 20 years apart - died yesterday morning at his home in Center City. Mr. Janson had pancreatic cancer.

The hornist joined the Philadelphia Orchestra for the first time in 1962, when Eugene Ormandy was its music director. Mr. Janson had graduated from the Curtis Institute the year before.

But in 1975, following a series of personal ordeals, the hornist decided to halt his music career. Mr. Janson went to Key West, Fla., and opened a charter-fishing operation. It was 11 years before he would resume professional music-making, teaching and performing.

Twenty years later, in 1995, Mr. Janson returned to audition for the Philadelphia Orchestra's fourth horn position. The music director was Wolfgang Sawallisch. Mr. Janson, then 55, edged out about 60 other applicants.

``It was quite remarkable the way he returned,'' said Mason Jones, former principal horn. ``This is a cruel twist of fate: He was at the peak of his career.''

Jones had taught Mr. Janson at the Curtis and led the section during the late hornist's first tenure.

``It was absolutely grueling for him to have to come back and prove himself again. But he never stopped saying how appreciative he was to have gotten this second opportunity. He was reborn and he gave us a real vitality,'' said Dan Williams, the orchestra's assistant principal hornist.

Williams said Mr. Janson's music-making attracted the section's admiration during an orchestra tour of South America in the mid-1990s, when he performed as a substitute for a departing fourth hornist.

``We were playing a lot of hard stuff, the Bruckner Fourth, and the Richard Strauss Don Juan, which has a very tricky little fourth horn solo. After that, my colleagues and I kept talking about how well Glenn sounded with us.''

Mr. Janson played a German Kruspe instrument. Its rich, dark sound had started a tradition in Philadelphia. The Kruspe was first played here by Philadelphia Orchestra principal hornist Anton Horner, who would later teach Mason Jones.

Early in the century, Horner's sonority became synonymous with the American sound for a horn, a darker, richer, full quality. ``It's a sonority that really started in Philadelphia, and Glenn wanted to keep that tradition,'' Williams said.

According to Mr. Janson's partner, Louise Hayne, arrangements are being made to keep the Kruspe instrument in the Philadelphia Orchestra family.

Mr. Janson was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 11, 1939. The family later moved to Havertown.

During Mr. Janson's years in Florida, he taught at the New World School for the Arts in Miami, and was a professor of horn at the University of Miami.

He also participated in the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico.

In 1993 he traveled to Beijing to coach the brass section of the Chinese Central Philharmonic. Mr. Janson admired Oriental arts, and Chinese decor furnished his home.

He was an adept gardener and cook, specializing in the Latin tropical cuisine he had learned in South Florida.

His first marriage to Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Julie Grayson ended in divorce during the 1970s.

A subsequent marriage to Florida lawyer Mary Brennan also ended in divorce.

Survivors include sons Carl and Alan from the marriage to Grayson, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned at the Academy of Music Ballroom at 2 p.m. next Tuesday.

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