Obituary: Eclectic, pioneering hornist K. Ethel Merker, 88

Posted on: July 20, 2012

In Friday’s (7/20) Chicago Tribune, Graydon Megan writes, “French horn player K. Ethel Merker began her career at a time when few women played the instrument. ‘She was a pioneer,’ friend and fellow horn player Dorothy Katz said. ‘We both came up when the climate was not favorable for women horn players. She made it through her talent and charisma.’ Ms. Merker never limited herself to a particular style of music. ‘She was a very accomplished player in many different styles of music, including show, commercial and symphony,’ said Dale Clevenger, principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who first met Ms. Merker not long after he joined the orchestra in 1966. … Ms. Merker, 88, died of a heart attack Thursday, July 12, in hospice at Franciscan St. James Health in Chicago Heights, according to Stephanie Van Slyke, who is married to Ms. Merker’s nephew Todd. … Ms. Merker was an accomplished performer of music ranging from jazz and pop to classical, and was also an excellent teacher, Herbert Winslow said. Winslow studied with her at Indiana University, where she was teaching in 1972. ‘Ethel was probably the perfect teacher for me at that time in my studies,’ he said. Winslow is associate principal horn with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis and also teaches music as an adjunct faculty member at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.”

Posted July 20, 2012