Michael Gast joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1990 and was appointed principal horn in 2004. He has appeared as soloist here in concertos and other major works by Bach, Britten, Mozart, Schumann and Strauss. Most recently, he performed Mozart’s Third Horn Concerto and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 on subscription concerts during the 2016-17 season. In 2007, he and three Orchestra colleagues were featured in performances of Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns, using Gast’s own adaptation of Schumann’s original horn parts. At Sommerfest 2009 he performed Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto under the direction of Andrew Litton. He played Strauss’ Second Horn Concerto on the Orchestra’s spring 2011 Minnesota State Tour and reprised the work at the May 2011 Guarantors’ Concert.
Gast has served as principal horn in the orchestras of the Grand Teton Music Festival, Santa Fe Opera and Festival L’Aquila Opera, among others, and as guest principal with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition to his solo roles with the Minnesota Orchestra, he has performed solos with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Miami Chamber Orchestra, Sunriver Music Festival, Winters Chamber Orchestra, Musical Offerings (San Antonio) and Texas Bach Choir, and at International Horn Society Workshops. In 2007 he was a soloist in Schumann’s Konzertstück at the Sunriver Music Festival with the festival’s resident orchestra.
Gast began playing the horn at the age of 15 in Tallahassee, Florida. He studied with Dr. William Capps at Florida State University and with Mason Jones at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned a bachelor of music degree and was a finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. He next headed the horn section of the Jacksonville Symphony and then became assistant principal horn of the San Antonio Symphony.
Michael presents master classes at colleges and conservatories worldwide and maintains a private studio. Among his personal interests is scuba diving. He is married to violinist Joan Christenson.
Dr. Carrie Strickland
Since moving to Texas in 2010, Dr. Carrie D. Strickland has maintained a large studio throughout the New Braunfels and San Antonio area, performed as a freelance hornist for shows at the Majestic Theater as well as with the Mid-Texas Symphony, and taught horn and advanced music theory at Bulverde Academy of Music.
She has held principal positions with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, The Philharmonic Society of Northwest Florida, Meridian Symphony, and Natchez Opera Festival, and performed with orchestras in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania as well as Oslo, Norway. She has judged competitions and performed at regional and international horn workshops as well as performed as a soloist and recitalist throughout the U.S. and Europe. Active in solo and chamber music competitions, she has been a finalist in the Farkas Competition with the International Horn Society and Semi-Finalist at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
As a Fulbright Scholar in 2003-2004, Dr. Strickland completed her dissertation through which she worked with hornist Frøydis Ree Wekre and composer Wolfgang Plagge. Before moving to Texas, Dr. Strickland was Instructor of High Brass at Jones County Junior College and has previously held positions at Toccoa Falls College, Augusta State University, and was a music appreciation instructor at the University of Georgia.
Dr. Strickland holds degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M.), West Virginia University (M.M.), and the University of Georgia (D.M.A.). Her teachers have included Dennis Behm, Frøydis Ree Wekre, Dr. Virginia Thompson, Dr. Jean Martin-Williams and Arnold Jacobs.