What’s the most popular horn brand in America? The International Horn Society publishes extensive user-generated section listing information on its website for several thousand orchestras around the world (include or update your section listing here and consider becoming a member). It’s a good representation of the intermediate to advanced market over the last 5-10 years. We analyzed the US-based listings to discover player preferences for different brands.
It may not come as a surprise that Conn tops the list. The popular 8D model has been a mainstay in America since the 1950s. But digging deeper, some interesting trends emerge. We looked at not only overall brand popularity, orchestra type and region:
Conn may be #1 overall, but of the 76 horn players we evaluated at the highest professional level, only three play a Conn. There is a growing market for custom brands, typically Geyer-style, each with small market share but often enjoying cult like followings. We’re also seeing growth in popularity of foreign brands, such as Germany’s Engelbert Schmid, which has the highest market share among the top tier orchestras.
There are also clear regional preferences for different brands. 40% of players in the Pacific region of the USA list Conn as their instrument, while only 25% do in the Mid West. This is in large part due to the tone set by major orchestras. For example, we may attribute the popularity of Holton in the Mid West to former Chicago Symphony 1st horn Philip Farkas, who helped design the Holton Farkas horns. The same can be said of Carl Geyer’s influence on horn playing in that region.