John Sargent Pillsbury Chair
Michael Gast joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1990 and was appointed principal horn in 2004. He has appeared as soloist here in concertos and other major works by Bach, Britten, Mozart, Schumann and Strauss. In 2007, he and three Orchestra colleagues were featured in performances of Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns, using Gast’s own adaptation of Schumann’s original horn parts. At Sommerfest 2009 he performed Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto under the direction of Andrew Litton. He played Strauss’ Second Horn Concerto on the Orchestra’s spring 2011 Minnesota State Tour and reprised the work at the May 2011 Guarantors’ Concert.
Gast has served as principal horn in the orchestras of the Grand Teton Music Festival, Santa Fe Opera and Festival L’Aquila Opera, among others, and as guest principal with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition to his solo roles with the Minnesota Orchestra, he has performed solos with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Miami Chamber Orchestra, Sunriver Music Festival, Winters Chamber Orchestra, Musical Offerings (San Antonio) and Texas Bach Choir, and at International Horn Society Workshops. In 2007 he was a soloist in Schumann’s Konzertstück at the Sunriver Music Festival with the festival’s resident orchestra.
Gast began playing the horn at the age of 15 in Tallahassee, Florida. He studied with William Capps at Florida State University and with Mason Jones at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned a bachelor of music degree and was a finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. He next headed the horn section of the Jacksonville Symphony and then became assistant principal horn of the San Antonio Symphony.
In 2005 Gast was appointed as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Minnesota’s School of Music. He presents master classes at colleges and conservatories worldwide and maintains a private studio. Among his personal interests is scuba diving. He is married to violinist Joan Christenson.