Hazel Dean Davis
Hazel Dean Davis is Lecturer of Horn at Boston University and an in-demand orchestral and Broadway hornist living in Arlington, Massachusetts. She played the solo horn chair in the revival of 1776 on Broadway in New York City in 2022-2023 and on the national tour in 2023, and is a longtime member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in Boston. From 2004-2015 Hazel was a tenured member of the Virginia Symphony and Opera. Now she freelances throughout New England and beyond, performing frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Pops, Portland Symphony, the Boston Ballet, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the conductor-less chamber orchestra A Far Cry. In 2018 she made her Boston solo debut in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with tenor Nicholas Phan and A Far Cry, for which The Boston Musical Intelligencer celebrated her “masterful colorings and sensitivity to text”.Recent highlights include a 2023 Japan tour with Boston Pops Esplanade, playing Wagner’s Ring Without Words with Cincinnati Symphony, a 2022 solo and chamber recital series exploring how the concept of “space” shifted during the COVID 19 pandemic; 2021-2023 chamber recitals with Chamber Music Boston and the Chameleon Chamber Ensemble; Boston Pops tours of the East Coast, California, Texas, and Florida; a 2017 tour of China and Taiwan with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops; a 2016 double-horn recital with Cincinnati Symphony principal hornist Elizabeth Freimuth; and ten weeks of the 2015-16 season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including their Carnegie Hall Tour. She can be heard on numerous BSO recordings, including the 2016 Grammy-winning Shostakovich Symphony 5, Strauss’ Alpine Symphony (2017), and Strauss’ Sinfonia Domestica (2019).
A passionate chamber musician, Hazel has played numerous chamber recitals across the Eastern Seaboard. She plays regularly with Chameleon Arts Ensemble and Chamber Music Boston and has been featured in the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Series, where critics called her “the star of the show...she played with complete security and authority...whether asked for leaps, trills, or long beautiful sustained notes” (Virginian Pilot).
A dedicated teacher, Hazel is on faculty at Boston University School of Music and Longy School of Music, and spends her summers as a faculty artist and teacher at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. She also maintains a private horn studio in Arlington, MA.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Hazel graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a BA in Biological and Social Anthropology. At Harvard, she studied horn with James Sommerville and was active in the chamber and orchestral music scene, receiving both the David McCord Prize for Music and the Louis Sudler Top Senior Prize in the Arts. Hazel studied with Caroline Lemen and Kendall Betts in St. Paul, and with Julie Landsman at The Juilliard School, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma in 2004. She spent two summers as a Tanglewood fellow, and also enjoyed summers at the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the music industry in 2020, Hazel helped to cofound the New England Musicians Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping musicians in crisis during the pandemic and beyond. Now a 501(c)(3) non-profit, NEMRF has raised over a half million dollars in and helped hundreds of New England freelance musicians with direct relief checks. To learn more about Hazel’s work at NEMRF, check out the website she created, nemrf.org.
Hazel lives with her husband Steve, children Moon, Nadia, and Kalle, a cat, a dog, and a tortoise. When not playing horn, you will find Hazel running around the Arlington reservoir, sipping coffee at her favorite coffee shops, making granola, marching for minority and women’s rights, reading up on the latest discoveries in human evolution, and playing board games or crafting with her kids. She enjoys traveling and immersing herself in the “local” food, culture, and neighborhoods of wherever she is. She has spent time living in Norway, Sweden, and France, and has traveled extensively throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America.