Tom Kenny, First horn, Cleveland, Szell


Dear Mr. Friedland

Can you please tell me more about Tom Kenny? Did he play with Baltimore in the 50s? Did he have to stop playing due to losing his teeth? Thanks,


Hello Matt:

Tom Kenny , now retired and living in  Delray Beach,Florida is one of the best horn players of the 20th century.
Probably the most notable position of his career was as Principal Horn with the Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell, conductor.
He also played in the Detroit Symphony as first horn under Paul Paray. Prior to these positions he played for Bruno Walter, Frits Reiner, Arturo Toscanini, and many others including making many recordings with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He did play first in Baltimore, but I am not sure of the exact years. He used to talk about the woodwind quintet from the orchestra which used to tour in a hearse, a funeral carriage, if you will.The clarinetist in the quintet was the principal  of the Baltimore Symphony, Ignatius Gennusa(” Iggy”).

Sometime after Baltimore, he was invited to bring the entire horn section of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, then moved to Montreal, where he played with the Montreal Symphony, under Zubin Mehta.

One of the funniest men I have ever met, he was made even more famous by calling that conductor a ” goodamned camel driver”, for which he was made to apologize in front of the entire orchestra. He also taught at McGill University, and left there, taking all his students to Concordia University and was a research fellow there in the resource center of the Music Department until he retired a few years before I did.

I was privileged and honored to be his boss, to laugh with him hysterically about the musical  winners and losers , and to consume a great many carrot muffins, and also to buy and sell several cars from and to him. We both loved cars, still do, and I can remember one of the funniest things about his car registrations. He could never afford to register and license them all , especially in Montreal, so once, I saw his entire fleet of 19 cars parked closely ,one behind the other , with only one license plate on the last car in the row. One plate only!!

He and his wife Andree entertained me and my wife Linda, many times , eating chinese or chicken in Montreal or going to his camp up in Lac St,Jean. The last time we had dinner with them was in Florida when Andree, an excellent gourmet chef, duplicated for us the last meal served on the Titanic.( One could say say here, that we all drowned in Miami after that meal, but that wouldn’t be nice. But it would be in the character of our wonderful relationship)

These memories of Tom could go on all night and are very amusing. He knew how to laugh, but he was also one of the greatest horn players who ever played…….sharp. (that’s our joke)

keep practicing, sherman


2 Responses to Tom Kenny, First horn, Cleveland, Szell

  1. cbarbhart says:

    oh my!
    Tom was my teacher for many years in Montreal (vanier college and McGill( and I lost touch with him. He was exactly as you write. Is there a way to contact him?
    Corinne Hart
    Toronto, Ontario

    • Hi Corinne,
      I was 3rd horn in Baltimore in the mid-50s when Tom Kenny was there on first. We had great times together, especially after concerts, when we would swig a few beers, (in Dickman’s Bar), and then go tearing around the streets in my wolf-whistle-equipped Chrysler convertible! I’m google-search for Tom in Del Ray Beach, but I haven’t yet come up with an address or phone number. Best to contact me at,

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