You are here

Q&A with featured horn soloist, Aisling O'Sullivan

December 5, 2019

On Tuesday, December 10, Aisling O’Sullivan will perform as a featured soloist in the University Symphony Orchestra concert at Westminster Hall. In addition to being joined by the many talented students the University Symphony Orchestra, Aisling and her fellow musicians will be joined by U of M music faculty members for the final piece of the concert.

Aisling O’Sullivan will be graduating this spring with her master’s degree in horn performance. After completing her undergraduate degree with Professor Randy Gardner at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory College of Music, she began her studies at the U of M School of Music under Ellen Dinwiddie Smith.

What piece will you be performing?

I will be performing as the horn soloist for Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. The Serenade is set to poetry by various British poets, all on the subject of night, and each movement has a different character. It has been challenging but very rewarding to work on this piece and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to perform it on Tuesday! This will be my first time performing as a soloist with an orchestra, so I am very excited for that!

What is it like to be able to study so closely with Ellen Dinwiddie Smith?

I have known Professor Smith for a long time now. I started studying with her in 2012, as a junior in high school. I loved studying with her right from the very first lesson! Her passion for the music drew me in and inspired me. Her influence fueled my desire to become a professional horn player. I would not be where I am right now without her support and guidance. She bends over backwards to help students, whether that is finding room in her busy schedule to reschedule a lesson, loaning equipment such as mutes and mouthpieces, or helping with recordings for festival applications. She is not only a fabulous horn teacher but an incredible mentor as well. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to study with her for many years.

What is your favorite part about studying at the UMN?

My favorite part about studying at the U is the number of opportunities that are available to me. Although my main interest is music, I also enjoy learning Chinese, and I have been able to take some Chinese classes during my time here to help keep up my language skills. I have also had some great opportunities to participate in many different ensembles that I might not have had at other places. I have had the opportunity to play in three different opera productions (Albert Herring, Die Weisse Rose and La Tragédie de Carmen), and each semester I get to play a variety of both band and orchestra repertoire. I am thankful to the School of Music as well as the orchestra and band directors for providing these opportunities!


This story was written by an undergraduate student in CLAgency. Meet the team.