Maxime Alphonse, International Man of Mystery

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Probably every month during the school year I receive notes from horn students trying to research horn players of the past who are trying to find information on Maxime Alphonse. While he is the author of the widely used six volume set of horn etudes, believe it or not I actually have very little information on him. [But read this UPDATE.]

The only biographical listing I have found is in Hornisten-Lexikon, the 1986 German/English “dictionary for hornists” published and edited by Hans Pizka. In it the English version of his listing (p. 3) reads [the grammar issues are original to the listing]:

Alphonse Maxime, solohorn at the Paris Opera comique & with the Concerts Pasdeloup; 1900 3rd award at the Conservatoire; composed extremely valuable Etudes in 6 volumes: ….

Maxime-snipThe listing concludes with a list of the six volumes of etudes, published by Alphonse Leduc. While the performing positions in Paris are noted on the cover of the etudes, the award is new information. To double check this I turned to the 1952 publication by Birchard Coar A Critical Study of the Nineteenth Century Horn Virtuosi in France, as I knew he listed all the nineteenth century horn prize winners at the Paris Conservatory. However, he only lists the first and second prize winners, not the third prize winners. The first prize winner for 1900 in the studio of Bremond was Andre-Eugene Fontaine who performed a solo by R. Pugno; the second prize winner was Francois F. J. Mellin (p. 162).

So it is there that the trail runs cold. He was an active teacher and performer in early 20th century Paris to be sure, but I for one would welcome someone out there to take this trail of discovery further and present more about hornist Maxime Alphonse.

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UPDATE: I have more on “Maxime-Alphonse” in this article thanks to Jay Anderson! All the info there is online! Maybe some DMA student will find more someday if they are up for a big project–any takers?

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