Gerald Onciul

Assistant Principal (On Leave)


A native Edmontonian, Gerald Onciul is in his 4th decade of performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal Horn. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Alberta in 1977, Gerald began his career with the ESO, while seeking further studies with James Decker, Erich Penzel and Eugene Rittich. Gerald's principal teachers were John Hermanns, John Iltis, Gloria Ratcliffe and David Hoyt. He has performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Regina Symphony, and the National Ballet Orchestra. He has also performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Banff Opera Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic.

On five separate occasions Gerald has appeared as soloist with the ESO, and was Acting Principal Horn with the ESO in the 2001 - 2002 season. Since its inception in 1997, he has been a participant in the ESO's Adopt-A-Player Program, which gives public and separate school students a chance to perform their own piece on stage at the Winspear Centre for Music. He was Professor of Horn at the University of Alberta from 1992 - 2008. A highlight of his career at the university was getting a chance to play the Robert Schumann Konzertstuck for Four Horns and Orchestra with his students and the University Symphony Orchestra in Convocation Hall at the U of A, with Tanya Prochazka conducting. He is currently Professor of Horn at The King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta. Gerald has also performed internationally with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1972 and with the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia tours of France and Italy in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Performing on tenor horn, he was a founding member of the Mill Creek Colliery Band. Gerald continues to be active as a clinician, chamber music recitalist and church musician.

One of his earliest musical memories was playing a solo on tenor horn at church in the 4th grade. Being so nervous in standing in front of an audience for the first time, he blurted out "SORRY" to the congregation upon completion.

Gerald's favourite ESO performance, by far, was the Procol Harum Reunion Concert in 1992. Everyone ended up at Bandito's Restaurant after the concert where Gary Brooker and company proceeded to take over the stage and play the Blues into the wee hours of the morning. Priceless!

The Richard Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 is a work Gerald would love to play with an orchestra. He likes listening to recordings of the Mahler symphonies while driving to and from the Winspear Centre for Music. He finds it very uplifting for a brass player! Gerald is an avid golfer, hiker, handyman and gardener. He is married to Evelyn, a teacher, and they have sons, Nathan and Byron.