Skip to main content

Donna Dolson

A member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Grammy winner Donna Dolson has lived and played in ensembles in Japan, Norway, and Mexico. An extra player with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, she has played four of their last European tours; Manfred Honneck, conductor. Dolson recorded Bruckner Symphony #7 with the PSO (playing horn and Wagner Tuba), Elektra Symphonic Rhapsody, and Shostakovich Symphony #5, which won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2018.

This year, Ms Dolson produced a Masterclass tour given by her horn teacher and mentor, world renown Norwegian pedagogue Frøydis Ree Wekre. Classes were held at SUNY Fredonia, Cleveland Institute of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Eastman School of Music.

In 1991, the Osaka Foundation of Culture recruited Ms Dolson to play principal horn with the newly formed Osaka Century Orchestra. Dolson was the only foreigner, and first woman to play a principal brass position in any orchestra in Japan. Ms Dolson set an example for Japanese brass players to envision their own possibilities. As soloist with the orchestra, she performed concertos by Mozart, Strauss, Vivaldi, and the Schumann Konzertstück for Four Horns (with Radek Baborek). Dolson recorded all the symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann with the Century Orchestra. Performances were live-broadcast on national television.

A Featured Artist at the Japanese Horn Society Conference in Kochi, Dolson performed solos and chamber music by Mozart, Verne Reynolds, and the Schumann Konzertstück, again. For two years, she was a Featured Artist at the Kyoto Minami Yamanashi International Chamber Music Festival, performing the Mozart Quintet for Horn and Strings, Herzogenberg Trio for Oboe, Horn and Piano, Ibert Quintet, with members of the Berlin Philharmonic, Mozart's Concerto #1, Beethoven Sextet for Two Horns and Strings, and Haydn's Concerto for Two Horns with the principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dale Clevenger.

Ms Dolson was a frequent Adjudicator for the Osaka Wind Band Competition, and for the Japanese Horn Society Solo Competition in Tokyo. The Osaka Wind Band Association invited Ms Dolson to play Mozart Concerto #3 at Banpaku Koen Park, site of the 1970 World's Fair, televised live nationally.

After completing her graduate degree, Dolson toured the U.S. nine times playing principal horn with the New York City Opera National Co. (Up to three months of one-nighters.) Additional experience: Shanghai Symphony, New York Philharmonic, The Who, Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, Broadway Musicals, including recording the Original Cast Album of On Your Toes, a Rogers and Hart show that won the Tony Award for Best Revival.

For one year, Dolson lived in Guadalajara, where she played third horn with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guadalajara.

A graduate of LaGuardia High School, Ms Dolson earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Boston University, Master of Music at the Manhattan School of Music, with one year post-graduate work at the University of Oslo, studying with Frøydis Ree Wekre. While in Norway, she played with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Horn and chamber music faculty at the Chautauqua Institute Music Festival School. Presented Masterclasses at Osaka Century Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Kuala Lumpur, the University of Las Vegas, and Chautauqua Institute.

Donna Dolson

Donna Dolson

Major Ensemble Directors

Mason Hall
(716) 673-3151
View email