Ben Goldscheider is the only student of the great Czech Horn player Radek Baborak at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin. The son of professional string players, Goldscheider started to learn the cello, but turned to French horn when he was diagnosed with the lung condition Bronchiectasis at the age of six, as a way of strengthening his lungs. Progress was rapid, and at the age of 18 he won the brass category of the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016, the year that cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason ultimately triumphed.
Goldscheider’s competition programme included works that he has now recorded for his debut disc, released by Willowhayne Records and reviewed on page 62, not least Esa-Pekka Salonen’s extraordinary Concert Etude for solo horn, which demonstrates the sheer range of sound and the athleticism the instrument is capable of. As well as contemporary solo pieces-bold choices for any debut disc-Goldscheider is joined by pianist Daniel Hill in worms by Schumann, York Bowen, Krufft and Kirchner.
As Goldscheider puts it, his intention is “to capture the development of the horn as it grew from its natural state with no valves, to the full double chromatic horn today”, and this debut album showcases the music’s resulting increase in virtuosity.
Such an exploratory personality, as well as musical maturity and technical ease, bodes well for Goldscheider’s development. We’ll be hearing a lot more of him.