Aged nine, taking part in the national Jugend musiziert competition on the recorder, I first heard a horn, being played wonderfully by another nine-year-old girl. From then on I wanted to play the horn myself. Two years on, I had my first lessons on the instrument, and just six months later I performed for the first time in a youth orchestra, and in another not long after. At rehearsals, I often had to play several parts at once, as there were never enough horn players. When I was 14, I was at a party and met players from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra who were giving a concert in Bremen. They were great fun and told me all about the Orchestra’s many fantastic trips. From that moment on, I’d decided my vocation: orchestral horn player, preferably with the Bamberg Symphony.
Elisabeth Kulenkampff won three first prizes at the federal Jugend musiziert and German Music Universities competitions. She studied with Prof. Erich Penzel in Cologne, was a member of the Federal Youth Orchestra and Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, and at the age of 21, while still a student, spent four months substituting as solo horn at the Würzburg State Theatre. That was also when she passed her audition for the Bamberg Symphony, of which she has been a member since 1986.