Alana Despins, Principal Horn

Alana Despins was thrilled to return to her hometown of Victoria, and take up the position of Principal horn with the Victoria Symphony, beginning with the 2009/10 season. She has since been featured by the VS as a soloist in Mozart’s Concerto No. 2 for Horn (2013), and just recently in the monumental Mahler Symphony No. 5 (2015).

In addition to her busy orchestral life, Alana is in demand throughout Victoria as a chamber musician. Highlights include a sold out performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (arranged for chamber ensemble) on the University of Victoria Faculty Chamber Music Series in 2014, and appearances on the Eine Kleine Summer Music Series, and the Christ Church Summer Recital Series.

In 2011, Alana was asked to join the faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and has since embraced the opportunity to share her passion of music with her students. That same year, she taught the horn studio at the University of Victoria. She has also adjudicated the brass in the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival.

Before joining the Victoria Symphony, she held the position of Third Horn with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony for two years. Additionally, she has participated in numerous summer festivals across North America, Europe, and Asia, including the National Repertory Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, the International Bach Academy Festival Ensemble in Germany, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, among others.

Alana received her Master of Music from Northwestern University in Chicago, having studied with Gail Williams. She completed her Bachelor of Music, with distinction, at the University of Victoria where she studied with Kurt Kellan.

When she is not with horn in hand, she is exploring our beautiful city of Victoria with her husband and curious toddler.

Hometown: Victoria, BC

First season with the VS: 2009/10

Most memorable VS experience: My first concert as Principal horn with the VS featured Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony – so it was definitely a concert for me to remember. I soon discovered though that sitting in the “hot seat” meant that many concerts would become memorable! Never a dull moment, especially in this, our 75th Anniversary season.

I also can’t help but mention how excited I get for our opera weeks. We are very fortunate to work with Pacific Opera Victoria, accompanying such marvellous singers. Some opera highlights include Stravinsky’s “A Rake’s Progress” and Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos.”

Hobbies and interests: At the moment, my time is spent either practicing or exploring the Greater Victoria region with my very active and curious toddler. It’s great fun to rediscover the world through fresh eyes 🙂

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