A hornist who was much better known 50 years ago than today is Lorenzo Sansone. I saw on the IHS Facebook page that a relative of Sansone has started a Facebook group for Lorenzo Sansone. On visiting I see he has posted several archive photos and items to the page but there were actually no fans! At all! So I joined!
Lorenzo Sansone (1881-1975) was recognized as an Honorary Member of the International Horn Society in 1971 and was quite a horn entrepreneur, being not only a player but also a publisher and manufacturer. A native of Italy, the bio of Sansone in the IHS website provides this information on his career, and this photo is linked from the IHS site.
Sansone’s orchestral career included virtually all the major orchestras in the US in the first half of the 20th century (some now defunct); Los Angeles Symphony, Denver Symphony (1909-1910), St. Paul Symphony (1910-1911), St. Louis Symphony (1912-1915), Chicago Symphony (1914 summer), Cincinnati Symphony (1915-1918), Detroit Symphony (1918-1919), New York Symphony (1920-1922), Beethoven Symphony (1927), National Broadcasting Orchestra (1929), Metropolitan Opera (1931-1933).
Sansone was on the faculty of Juilliard School from 1921 to 1946, where he taught nearly 300 students. He also taught privately at his shop and later at his home. He often said, “You are your own best teacher.” He taught primarily from method books and stressed learning transposition by clefs rather than intervals. He often played for his students to illustrate his ideas. Sansone published etudes, two method books, editions of standard repertoire, and French Horn Music Literature with Composers’ Biographical Sketches. Southern Music took over his publications. He published a series of articles in The International Musician in the early 1940s.
Sansone played a Kruspe double horn for 11 years but switched to a five-valve B-flat horn in 1914, while he was playing in St. Louis, and stayed with the B-flat horn for the remainder of his career. The horns were manufactured to Sansone’s specifications by Wunderlich in Chicago from 1914, by Kruspe from 1916, and finally, from 1954, by Sansone at his shop, Sansone Musical Instruments, in New York City [but see UPDATE II]. The shop was established in 1925, with most of the business in publications in the early years. After 1954 he manufactured the five-valve B-flat horn, other brass and wind instruments, mouthpieces (metal and Lucite), woodwind reed tools, and mutes. His son Lawrence, who was also a professional horn player, eventually took over the business.
It is an interesting idea to have Facebook groups for famous players of the past. Not surprisingly, Dennis Brain has a fan page with quite a number of members. Check out his page too but also check out the Sansone group, he deserves a few more fans.
UPDATE: The good news is I have a bit more on his 5 valve horn model here and also that Nicholas Caluori published an extended article on Sansone in the February 2005 edition of The Horn Call, pages 47-57. Also note a detailed response to this article by David Sprung in the May 2005 edition, pages 101-103. Thank you to Nicholas Caluori for this information.
The bad news is the Facebook page is gone. Perhaps this article can serve as a fan page of sorts, his name is one that clearly is slipping into the past but is one worth remembering of our horn world.
UPDATE II: I was contacted as well by a former Sansone student from the late 1940s. The major update being he took lessons from Sansone at his shop from 1946-50 and in that time frame Sansone was definitely making horns in the USA in that shop (from straight bell sections and such). Sansone was at the time playing a lot of jobs, teaching, publishing, and producing a good quantity of horns; again, he was quite an entrepreneur and is a name that should be remembered in our horn world.