On December 13, 2009 AfriClassical posted:
On October 17, 2014 Robert Watt's autobiography was published in hard cover and ebook formats. It is widely available:
The Black Horn: The Story of Classical French Hornist Robert Lee Watt tells the story of the first African American French Hornist hired by a major symphony in these United States. Today, the number of African Americans who hold chairs in major American symphony orchestras are few and far between, and Watt is the first in many years to write about this uniquely exhilarating—and at times painful—experience.
The Black Horn chronicles the upbringing of a young boy first fascinated by the sound of the French horn. Watt walks readers through the many obstacles presented by the racial climate in the United States both on and off stage in his efforts learn and eventually master an instrument little considered in the African American community, with even the author’s own father, who played trumpet, seeking to dissuade the young classical musician in the making. Opposition from within the community—a “middle instrument suited only for thin-lipped white boys,” Watt’s father once chided—and from without, Watt document his struggles as a student at an all-white major music conservatory as well as his first job in a major symphony orchestra after his conservatory canceled his scholarship.
Watt subsequently chronicles his triumphs and travails as a musician, sometimes alone when confronting the realities of race in America and the world of classical music. This work will surely interest any working classical musician and student, particularly those of color, seeking to grasp firsthand the sometimes troubled history of being the only “black horn.”