Simon de Souza

French Horn Tutor

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Simon was brought up in Henley-on-Thames. He studied horn with the virtuoso Ifor James at Colchester Institute, winning several prizes for chamber music, and gaining a Cert.Mus and G.Mus (CNAA) and then undertook postgraduate studies at Trinity College of Music in London.

Since graduating he has developed a busy schedule as a freelance performer with orchestras such as the CBSO, BBC NOW and Bolshoi Ballet, West End and touring shows, chamber music and recitals.

He is 2nd horn in the Southern Sinfonia. He has a major commitment (over the past 27 years) to the brass quintet Chaconne Brass, with whom he is frequently heard on radio and TV and has made four recordings, the most recent of which, Dancing in the Dark on the Deux-Elles label received a 4* review from the Independent. Simon has performed virtually all the standard horn concerto repertoire, a highlight being a performance of the Britten Serenade in the Purcell Room on London's South Bank.

Simon has been the specialist horn tutor at Wells Cathedral School for 28 years and spent 10 years occupying the same position at the Purcell School.

He has also taught for other public schools and as a specialist horn tutor in the state sector.

In September 2003 Simon was invited to take up the post of horn tutor at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music in London and in September 2004 became Horn tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Few, if any, horn teachers nationwide can equal his breadth of teaching experience. Very many of his pupils have gone on to win awards and scholarships to conservatoires and he numbers two under-18 winners of the Shell/LSO prize and a winner of the British final of the prestigious Paxmans International Horn Competition among many competition successes.

In recent years no fewer than three principal horns of the NYO have been pupils of Simon. Many of his former students have gone on to successful careers as performers and teachers, several holding principal positions in major British orchestras including:

  • Elspeth Dutch - Principal CBSO
  • Tim Thorpe - Principal BBC National Orchestra of Wales
  • Kathryn Saunders - 2nd horn RPO
  • Andrew Budden - Assistant Principal BBC Northern Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Andrew Littlemore 3rd horn Opera North
  • Matthew Gunner
  • David Oxley - West End show principal players.

As an orchestral and chamber coach Simon has worked for the National Youth Wind Orchestra, National Children's Wind Orchestra, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales, National Schools Symphony Orchestra, National Children's Orchestra, IAPS Orchestras and many county orchestras.

He directs the Camden Wind ensembles course three times a year for Benslow Music and for twenty years has co-directed Focus on Chamber wind quintet courses for the NYWO.

He undertakes seminars and master classes on horn teaching and also writes regularly on horn teaching and performing matters for a range of publications including Music Teacher and the Hornplayer magazine. Some of these articles have also been published abroad. Simon was for seventeen years the Vice-Chairman and educational consultant of the British Horn Society.

When not engaged in all these musical activities Simon tries to find time to indulge in his many hobbies such as building award winning finescale models of old railways, cycling, cooking, reading, photography and supporting Reading FC through their ups and downs.

He lives in Reading with his violinist wife Brenda and their two sons, Daniel, 21, (a horn player, surprise, surprise!) and Ben, 18, an accordionist and violinist.

For more information on how to apply please visit our course page