Grand Valley State University Horn Studio

fench horn on boat

Welcome to the Laker Horn Studio at Grand Valley State University!

At Grand Valley State University, the music program offers only undergraduate programs, which means there are no graduate students for undergrad students to compete with for the top positions in the major ensembles.  Music students will only study their instrument with the major professor, not a new grad assistant or recent graduate of another school. 

Horn lessons taken for credit at GVSU cover a wide-range of abilities, from the student who may have recently switched from another instrument to horn, to the advanced student preparing for a professional orchestra audition.  Some horn students are not music majors, but participate in lessons and/or ensembles while pursuing a non-music major.

Grand Valley’s horn studio offers a close association with a nationally renowned symphony orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, which offers concerts almost every week between the week after Labor Day to the week before Memorial Day. Students are given the opportunity to attend rehearsals and special events, as well as work with members of the professional orchestra’s horn section in studio classes and recitals.  Downtown Grand Rapids is a free 25-minute "Laker Line" bus ride away from GV’s main campus. Free tickets to the Classics Concerts will be offered when available. This is the Grand Valley difference.


All Horn majors and minors receive lessons with Professor Britsch on a weekly basis. At the end of every term, the student will perform a jury that combines technique requirements from technique class and repertoire from lessons for the GVSU faculty.

rick britsch with Vanessa Williams

 "I love the French Horn." - Vanessa Williams
Miss Williams sang with the Grand Rapids Symphony on the "Symphony with Soul" program.  Her parents were music teachers and Miss Williams played the horn through high school and college.

rick britsch

Professor Britsch with Stormtroopers at the Grand Rapids Symphony Star Wars concert.

Studio Class

In addition to weekly private lessons, all horn students attend an hour of studio class. This is the time to polish performance skills, receive feedback, and improve pedagogy and communication skills. 

horn studio
horn studio
horn studio

Members of the studio in a chamber concert


GVSU Horn students partake in a variety of Masterclasses offered by professionals from the Grand Rapids Symphony and beyond.

horn mastrclass

Master class with Paul Austin of the Grand Rapids Symphony, demonstrating "natural horn" and "alphorn"

horn masterclass

Master class with natural horn builder and artist, James Hampson

horn masterclass

Master class with Paul Austin of the Grand Rapids Symphony, demonstrating "natural horn" and "alphorn"

About Richard Britsch

rick britsch

Richard Britsch, Senior Affiliate Professor of Horn at Grand Valley State University has been Principal Horn of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1990. Formerly with the Sarasota Orchestra, he has appeared as soloist numerous times with the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Peninsula Music Festival, where he has also been Principal Horn since 1992. He performs regularly with the Detroit Symphony and has performed as guest Principal Horn with the Milwaukee Symphony and the Taegu City Symphony in Korea. In addition to being a founding member of the Florida Wind Quintet, he was a member of the Emerald Brass, which won first prize in both the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the Yamaha/Summit Brass International Brass Competition. He holds a BA from the University of South Florida in Tampa He has taught horn at Calvin College, Grand Rapids Community College, and Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Florida.

Prospective Students

Auditions for entrance into the music program for the next academic year are generally held in November, February and March.  These include auditions music scholarships, which are separate from academic scholarships, which are granted by the university application process.  

For advanced students, who have played horn for a few years, the first movement of a Mozart Concerto or Strauss Concerto would be appropriate.  Any other solos that demonstrate advanced ability, such as the Morceau de Concert by St Saens would be acceptable.  Major and melodic minor scales from the MSBOA state solo and ensemble proficiencies are highly recommended to illustrate the applicant's abilities.

For students recently switched to horn, a solo, such as the Romance by St Saens, op. 36 or one 2nd movement of a Mozart Concerto for horn (Concerto 2, k419, Concerto 3, k447, or Concerto 4, k 495).   For scales, C Major, F Major, Bb Major, Eb Major, G Major and 1-2 octave chromatic are requested.  Printed music can be obtained through a source, such as Amazon.

Sight-reading may be requested at an audition.

Students applying to Grand Valley are invited to set up a complementary lesson with Professor Britsch.  Contact him, using the link above.  

Page last modified October 5, 2023