The busy and bustling classical music desk at The Buffalo News has been receiving questions about the status of Jacek Muzyk, who is, or was, the principal horn player of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Muzyk -- yes, the name means "music" -- has not been in evidence recently and a look at his Web site suggests that he will not be back.
"Recently Jacek Muzyk has won the Associate Principal Horn position with the Houston Symphony," is the relevant line.
That would make sense because Muzyk studied with William VerMeulen, the distinguished principal horn player with the Houston Symphony. VerMeulen has performed as a soloist with the BPO.Muzyk was with the BPO seven years. I wrote a Sunday story about him in 2008 and I got a kick out of his personality, which is kind of colorful and combative. Just the story of how he began playing the horn cracked me up:
Muzyk's musical life got off to a rocky start when he was a kid in Communist Poland.
When I was 7, I started playing piano. When I was 15, I got into jazz," he says. He loved McCoy Tyner and Oscar Peterson -- "the Bach of jazz," he says.
His teacher objected. "She told me, 'No jazz or I kick you out.' " The inevitable happened. "She caught me again."
The upshot of this showdown was that young Jacek (pronounced YAH-check) was given two options: French horn or trombone.
His answer was sullen. "I said, "If I had this choice, I prefer trombone.' " They gave him the French horn.
Good luck to Jacek with his new gig.
We hope Muzyk keeps playing a long time!
-- Mary Kunz Goldman