My name isn’t Denise Brain, but it has been a bit of a nickname for me. I am a professional horn player and teacher, and Dennis Brain is one of the greatest horn heroes any horn player could ever have. Tragically, the Englishman was only 36 when he suffered a fatal crash in his sports car in 1957. He had already become arguably the greatest hornist of modern times.

Dennis Brain
In 1999, when I was first prompted to provide a user name on eBay, I was helping a student bid on horns and my first thought was the nickname denisebrain.

From eBay, to Etsy, to my own website called denisebrain.com, I have had no competition for the use of this name! I don’t use the name denisebrain flippantly—I feel the utmost respect and awe for the inimitable musician who inspired it. 

It isn’t always easy for others to understand my love for both vintage clothing and the horn, but I have a simple premise that ties these in my mind: I am attracted to beauty. I love the quality and beauty of vintage clothing and I consider the horn capable of the most beautiful sounds in music.

Tying these together further for me, I am growing a small collection of vintage clothing and accessories featuring horns of all types and eras (other than the all-too numerous Ugly Christmas Sweaters with horns that is!) and here are some:

I made these earrings out of Christmas ornaments

I’ve worn the earrings for many a concert over the years (Jim Hendrickson photo)
50s modern print circle skirt
50s instrument print dress...and my most beautiful accessory
50s Vera scarf
70s photo print dress

Some, not all, of my vintage horn pins!

A few have asked if there are video or audio examples of me playing my horn online. There are, but not without some permissions granted. Here, however, is a brief snippet of my playing, from hornexcerpts.org.

I was really pleased that the site’s administrator chose the San Diego Symphony’s performance of this excerpt from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet as a good example of this important horn part. I’m playing 3rd horn, which happens to be the highest part in this brief passage. Kudos to my former colleagues in the San Diego Symphony, particularly the horns on this recording: John Lorge, Warren Gref, Doug Hall and Keith Popejoy. 


If you ever see a vintage horn print item, I’d be very grateful if you’d let me know about it!

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