Welcome to the Sam Ramsay Site
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Sam Ramsay, a 1954 graduate of the Curtis Institute under Mason Jones, played French horn with the New Orleans Symphony, the National Symphony (1956-1963), and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (1971-1994). He also performed in the Wolf Trap orchestra (1971-198?), and taught privately in Silver Spring, Maryland, leaving a devoted group of friends and colleagues. In addition, many heard his playing at the National Gallery, National Theater, and at numerous schools with the Maryland Brass Trio arts education program. He was a top player and a gifted teacher. This page is mainly intended for his students and admirers to have a place to learn, reminisce, and leave public thoughts.

In May through July, 1959, he toured South and Central America with the National Symphony, visiting Colombia, Venezuala, Argentina, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. He is also known to have played, at times, in Hamburg and Barcelona. Any other information is welcomed.

Sam's interests included: writing, cars, photography, foreign language, travel, electronics, art, computers, the ladies, and literature. He was self taught and highly fluent in Spanish. His skill and appetite for learning may explain why his students speak so highly of their time studying with him. He was extremely fond of his students as well; many one hour lessons became complimentary multi-hour workshops because of his passion for, and dedication to, his student's improvement. His explanations, exercises, sketches, and friendship were all noteworthy. Samuel Edward Ramsay was born June 18, 1932 and died of stroke on June 26, 1997, just a few days after his 65th birthday. His memorial is in Upper Darby, PA. Upper Darby is located in Delaware County and is part of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey metropolitan area. For more information about Sam from a horn perspective, click here.

Former students we are seeking

Former students we have found

Quotes about Sam
* Carolyn Parks, stand partner at the Kennedy Center: "For twenty three years, I had the best seat in the House."

* Andrew Lane, former horn player, currently resident conductor of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra: "At the last moment I was asked to play 1st horn, on a performance with no rehearsal, in the Kennedy Center Orchestra. Sam was playing second. He gave me some quick notes before the performance like "don't look at the conductor at this spot, it will just screw you up". He eased my nerves and I was able to get through the show....the musical was '9'."

* Liz Enagonio, colleague: "I also studied privately with Sam Ramsay, who played in the National Symphony and later the Opera House Orchestra. He was a defining force in my life: passionate, musical, talented and outrageous. We were deep friends until his death."

* Walter Lawson: "When I woke up in the hospital after a career ending injury, the first thing I saw as I opened my eyes was Sam standing there against a wall, waiting for me to regain consciousness."

* Lee Reynolds, a friend: "Sam invited me over for Thanksgiving, so we sat around talking, having a few drinks, and laughing, but in the back of my mind I began to get curious what the meal plan was, because I didn't smell the old familiar baking bird, or anything. After a while Sam says, "Are you ready for dinner?" After I said yes, he says, "Hold on, let me get 'em in the microwave. . . " He had gone all out: turkey microwave dinners! You know what? It was one of the best Thanksgivings I've had."

* Joan Voorhees, colleague: "Sam was such a nice guy. I always enjoyed his great sense of humor whenever I played with the KCOHO."

Hi Ned,
Was just visiting Sam's webpage to look at recent updates. Thought I should let you know that last season I accepted an offer from the Minnesota Orchestra to be their associate principal horn, so after 25 years as principal horn at the St Paul Chamber Orchestra I now have a new job. I'm enjoying the change of repertoire and playing many of the pieces whose excerpts I studied with Sam. His influence carries on!
All the best,
Herb Winslow
Mon, 10 Jul 2006

Some time ago I promised you some photos of Sam in his high school days. My friendship with Sam began in high school, when we both played horn in all the musical groups sponsored by the school. We stayed in touch throughout his life. Sam was an usher at my wedding in 1954; I visited him and Gloria in New Orleans in early 1956; we were neighbors for a short time in 1960 in Alexandria, Virginia; he helped me select and buy a horn in the mid-60's; and my son, Bill, was one of Sam's horn students. When my sister died awhile back, I inherited her collection of family photos. I've been slowly scanning these, and came across two that may be of interest. The first, taken in 1948, is of the Haverford High School brass ensemble. Sam and I are in the center of the first row. The second is a pic of the Haverford High School Orchestra taken in 1947. Sam is on the top row, second from the left. I am the ruffian to his right. I am sure I have additional photos of Sam; I'll forward whatever I find later.
Bill Albright
Oct 21, 2006

From Friends

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Photo Collection



Minnesota Orchestra
Howard Sanner's Horn Page
Lawson Horns
Kennedy Center
Wolf Trap
Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra
Curtis Institute of Music
Hamburg Symphony
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
United States Army Field Band
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This site is a work in progress with material being steadily added, so check back for updates and use the refresh button of your web browser to make sure you are seeing the current content. We need help from students and friends, mainly essays about the unique friendship and teaching of Sam. If you have information that may help, or you were a friend of Sam's, please contact the webmaster to say hello, or to give your thoughts on the site. Special thanks to Howard Sanner for research assistance and guidance.