Q&A with Section Principal Trumpet, Huw Dann

APO’s Ben Gemmell talks to APO Section Principal Trumpet Huw Dann about Frozen, his hair in high school and long distance running.

Where are you from?
Melbourne, Australia 

How long have you been a musician in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra?
I have been playing in the APO since 2009. 

What is your musical background? Have you always wanted to be a musician?
I started playing when I was around 7 or 8. My first teacher was my Dad, who taught my brother and me together, despite not having really played before himself! I went to Blackburn High School, which had an excellent music programme and I was lucky to have some very inspiring teachers.

I haven’t always wanted to be a musician. It wasn’t until the last couple of years of high school, when my teacher encouraged me to pursue a tertiary music degree, that I thought about it. Even at that point, I probably thought I wanted to be a teacher more than a musician.

I’m slightly envious of people that can say “I’ve always wanted to be a musician.” To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be anything. I do know I’ve always loved playing music with others and I have always tried to be open to new opportunities.

Can you play any another instrument, other than the trumpet?
Not anywhere near a professional level. I played a bit of drums and guitar in high school, and I can make a sound *laughs* on all the brass instruments. 

What is your funniest story from performing as an orchestra musician?
I have lots of funny stories but if I wrote them here I think I’d get in trouble. Come and talk to me in the bar after a concert sometime! 

How did you pass the time during New Zealand’s lockdown?
At the beginning of lockdown, my wife Emma and I had a 6-month-old and a 2-and-a-half-year-old. We were constantly swapping between parenting, our music studio, watching Frozen and nonstop cleaning up after our kids.

Somehow, we both managed to fit in practise and teaching around all of that. Luckily, my wife Emma is a scheduling master. There is a great game we play, that I like to call: ‘Why did you do it that way?’ There are no winners.

What are your interests outside of music?
I enjoy long distance running, playing chess, supporting the Melbourne Demons in the Australian Football League, cooking and reading literary fiction. 

What makes you happiest?
When I have the time to spend with my beautiful family without feeling as if I have to go practise!

What might surprise people to know about you?
In high school, I had really long hair.

Quickfire! What is your favourite-at-the-moment...?

BookA Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

MovieFrozen

TV ShowCurb Your Enthusiasm

Food: Italian

Song: ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’

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