Ursula is the principal horn of The English Concert.
When, where and what did you play the first time with the English Concert?
My first project with the English Concert was Bach’s b minor mass in St Thomas church in Leipzig in the summer 2012, it was followed by a performance at the BBC Proms of the same piece.
What has been your most memorable TEC concert and why?
That first performance with the orchestra in St Thomas in Leipzig was spectacular! Such an honour to play Bach’s b minor mass in Bach’s own church. From my place in the orchestra I could see Bach’s tombstone and I remember thinking he might rotate in his grave if he didn’t approve of our performance – I’m happy to report that he stayed still!
What’s one of your favourite pieces of music and why?
Bach b minor mass! As a horn player my contribution is only one aria, but before the Quoniam I have 45 minutes to be completely focused on the most wonderful music ever written.
Do you have a secret interest or hobby that would surprise people?
I’m a very bad knitter, but enjoy knitting hats. I aim to always have a steady supply of homemade woolly hats to give to people in need of a hat!
Born in Aalborg, Denmark in 1982 Ursula Paludan Monberg was thrown into the world of classical music from the very beginning. Spending much of her childhood under pianos in her motherʼs singing lessons or listening to choir rehearsals in the Parish church, the sound of the voice has always been the source of inspiration for her music making. After an unrequited love affair with the violin, Ursula found her right instrument with the horn. Shortly after taking up this wonderful instrument, during a lesson with German horn professor Michael Höltzel, he suggested an even better fit for her – the natural horn! It quickly became obvious that this was the perfect way for Ursula to make her music going forward, using the colourful palette of the early horn, making her inner voice sing. A few years later Ursula was the first student to take a Bachelorʼs degree at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with natural horn as her first study. Andrew Clark wrote a completely new syllabus for the instrument and through his very high standards inspired a practice regime and desire for excellence that allows the control of instrument needed for this repertoire. Further studies at the Formation Superiéure in Saintes, France gave her the opportunity to discover a different style of playing under the guidance of French natural horn virtuoso Claude Maury. From 2007-2013 Ursula held the position as principal horn for Concerto Copenhagen and during these years she had the added opportunity of completing the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Under the direction of Lars-Ulrik Mortensen she made her debut as a soloist with Concerto Copenhagen in 2010 with a tour of Denmark playing concerti by Quantz, Graun and Haydn. During her studies in London Ursula got a place on the OAE Experience Scheme with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Having a connection with an orchestra of this calibre from a very early stage in her career has opened lots of doors and the bond with the orchestra is still strong as Ursula is a regular guest principal with the ensemble, appearing with them several times a year. In 2018 the OAE invited her to play principal horn for Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne Opera playing the horn obligato in Va Tacito alongside Dame Sarah Connolly and thereby fulfilling a career dream! In 2012 Ursula was appointed principal horn for The English Concert following two high profile performances (at the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms) and St Thomasʼ, Leipzig) of Bachʼs b minor mass, with its demanding solo obligato part for the instrument.