Hazel Dean Davis is an American orchestral hornist living in Boston. She plays regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Pops, and the Grammy nominated chamber orchestra, A Far Cry. In 2018 Hazel made her Boston solo debut in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings with tenor Nicholas Phan and A Far Cry, for which critics celebrated her “masterful colorings and sensitivity to text” (BMIntelligencer).
As a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade, she has toured the East Coast, California, Texas, and Florida and has upcoming tours to the midwest and Japan. Hazel has played with orchestras across the USA including a 2017 tour of China and Taiwan with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops; ten weeks of the 2015-16 season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including their Carnegie Hall Tour; two weeks with the San Francisco Symphony; and a Carnegie Hall Tour with the Baltimore Symphony. Hazel played principal horn in the premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s opera “Crossing” at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge in 2015 and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2017. She gave double-horn recital with Cincinnati Principal Elizabeth Freimuth and solo recital in 2017 and 2019 at the University of New Hampshire. Around New England, Hazel enjoys playing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Boston Ballet, Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Hazel appears on the Boston Symphony’s 2016 Grammy winning recording of Shostakovich Symphony 5, and can be heard on the BSO’s 2017 recording of Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. Prior to her move to Boston, Hazel played second and fourth horn with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for 11 years, a job she won at age 22.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Hazel graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a BA in Biological and Social Anthropology. At Harvard, she studied horn with James Sommerville and was active in the chamber and orchestral music scene, receiving both the David McCord Prize for Music and the Louis Sudler Top Senior Prize in the Arts. In addition to Mr. Sommerville, Hazel studied with Caroline Lemen and Kendall Betts in St. Paul, and with Julie Landsman at The Juilliard School, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma in 2004.
Hazel spent two summers as a Tanglewood Fellow and also enjoyed summers at the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. She now spends her summers as a faculty artist and teacher at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.
A passionate chamber musician, Hazel has played chamber concerts in Virginia, New England, and at the Brevard Music Festival. She was often featured in the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Series, where critics called her “the star of the show…she played with complete security and authority…whether asked for leaps, trills, or long beautiful sustained notes” (Virginian Pilot).
Hazel is on faculty at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, where she teaches horn, as well as wind and brass pedagogy. She also maintains a private horn studio in Arlington, MA.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the music industry in 2020, Hazel helped to cofound the New England Musicians Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping musicians in crisis during the pandemic and beyond. Now a 501(c)(3) non-profit, NEMRF has raised over a half million dollars in it’s first year and helped over 400 musicians with direct relief checks. To learn more about Hazel’s work at NEMRF, check out the website she created, nemrf.org.
Hazel lives with her husband Steve, children Diana, Nadia, and Kalle, Sophie-Cat and dog Piper . When not playing horn, you will find Hazel running around the Arlington reservoir, sipping coffee and reading novels at her favorite coffee shops, making granola, marching for minority and women’s rights, reading up on the latest discoveries in human evolution, and playing board games or crafting with her kids. Her friends tease her for loving everything local, and indeed Hazel loves little more than a day spent exploring farmers markets, neighborhood cafes and small shops. She enjoys traveling and immersing herself in the “local” food, culture, and neighborhoods of wherever she is. She has spent time living in Norway, Sweden, and France, and has traveled extensively throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America.
Website Link: Hazel Davis