Engaging with the natural notes

of the (French) horn


 The Brass Whisperer's main aim is to play with subtle music tunings and coax brass players (and other musicians) into achieving delicious harmonies. Resources for student French horn players are also featured. 


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  • Resources (almost all are free)


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Michael Hugh Dixon

I am grateful to have been born into a musical family, hearing my older sisters and my dad practising. All five of us kids learnt piano from mum’s mum. Dad taught all the brass, we all tried strings, my brother and I drumming. I took to the trumpet, then french horn and composed in my teens. All of this in Auckland. I wanted to play in orchestras professionally, dropping out of school to do that in Sydney. I love rhythm and also love finding good tuning and playing in small groups. This evolved to a fascination with microtones, playing them and getting others to play them especially in lovely harmonies. I teach, as well, and some of my students kind of get my interest in intonation.

A few facts:

  • Born in New Zealand in 1961 I learnt piano with my grandmother; horn and composition with my father. I've held full-time positions with a number of Australian orchestras including that of Principal Horn in the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. I now perform regularly with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra on natural horn as well as with the Opera Australia Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I have performed with most orchestras in Australia. Chamber music credits include my ensemble LOCANA, Omega Ensemble and Notos Woodwind Ensemble.
  • Teaching is an important part of my work, currently including Inaburra School, Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. I also develop resources for French horn players and have written a beginner band program. In 2011 I was awarded the degree of Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong after having previously been awarded an MPhil in composition from the University of Queensland and MMus in Musicology from Griffith University. 
  • Composition is a significant part of my musical life. I have written for a variety of ensembles along with songs and percussion works. A considerable number of my compositions include intervals from the harmonic series, extended just intonation. My music is published by Wirripang Pty Ltd (www.australiancomposers.com.au). In 2017 I performed in EUROMicroFest2017 and from that year on have been co-curating SydneyMicroFest.