Ursula Paludan Monberg

Principal horn

I started playing the violin aged 4, but was completely devoid of talent! Luckily I just about managed to get myself into the local school orchestra where I first heard a French horn. It was love at first note and I haven't looked back since. When I was 15 my professor gave me a natural horn and said that this was my real instrument. He didn't give me any instructions, but just told me to go home and practise and come back the day after with Mozart’s third concerto. It was a different world he opened to me, without the valves on the horn I completely rely on my ears and I can manipulate the sound to create many more colours than on the modern valve horn. And maybe you have noticed the right hand in the bell? This both helps with tuning also allows me to touch every note with my hand - that is a very special feeling.

I came to London from my native Denmark to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and also got a place at the student scheme with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. That was really my way in to the scene of early music in Britain and I met lots of my current English Concert colleagues there.

The English Concert took a chance with me, when they first booked me for Bach's B Minor mass in Leipzig and at the BBC Proms. It was such an honour to play this wonderful music with this great band in two amazing venues.