Emily Wozniak

DePaul ’09

Jon was particularly helpful to me during a difficult period in my horn playing. I always appreciated his encouragement and willingness to try different approaches to solving the challenges I faced. A quote of his that I’ve always remembered is a reference to Charles Darwin, “Adapt or become extinct.” It maybe sounds somewhat blunt or harsh (not meant to), but he always pointed out the importance of being able to respond effectively to change. I thought it was an interesting point and relevant not only to my own horn playing but also the future of music. I also have to mention the enthusiasm Jon brought to coaching our Wagner tuba quartet! I loved playing in that group and his mentoring miraculously turned Wagner tuba playing into something I now jump at the chance to do. Overall, I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to study with Jon at DePaul and to hear him play in Lyric Opera. I remember going to see Lulu and being blown away by Jon’s flawless playing on such a difficult part. I feel fortunate to have lived in such a musically inspiring city for two years.

Tasha Lawson O’Neil

DePaul ’07

Whenever I think of Jon Boen, I describe him as one of the kindest people I’ve worked with. He was so patient and thoughtful in his teaching and in dealing with people. That’s the one thing that stuck with me. Also, whenever he made a joke, it was pretty much the best thing ever.

Chris Schetter

DePaul ’06

I remember his zen-like approach to the horn that really resonated with me, his seemingly unflappable demeanor on stage, his encyclopedic knowledge of horn technique and musical style, and lethal precision in applying it to his performance and instruction.

Alana Vegter

DePaul ’04 (Ghenghis Barbie)

I am so fortunate to have had Jon as my first true teacher while I embarked on a musical journey in which I had no idea would take me to where it has today. Being able to hear his simply beautiful and unique sound each and every week at our lessons amidst such an impressionable time in my life was an incredible gift that only later in my progress could I fully appreciate and comprehend. I continue to remind myself of that sound every time I pick up the horn. His catch-phrase “play by how it sounds and not by how it feels” has helped me work through so many difficult experiences through the years. It will be engrained in my mind forever! Jon’s commitment to always producing and maintaining a healthy and developed sound has made such a strong and everlasting impression on me. I would like to thank Jon for his guidance not only as a teacher but more so as a genuinely exceptional human being. He acted as a mentor, listener, and even a counselor in times when I doubted myself. I will never forget the semester in which I forgot to register for lessons. I felt terrible and cried as I apologized, knowing that he wouldn’t be paid to teach me that semester. Jon wouldn’t even consider terminating our lessons and offered to let me work off my payment by babysitting his young daughter. I will never forget how accommodating and generous that was. His continued support and encouragement helped me to grow more confident and in the process encouraged me to develop my own personal style and musicality. He’s helped foster the thoughts and ideas of so many young musicians throughout the years, anyone would be lucky to have known him.

Melissa Evans Plotkin

DePaul ’04

I am so very grateful that Jon accepted me into DePaul back in 2002 where I had so many wonderful experiences. His playing came so easily to him, but unlike most players who are talented naturally, he was able to figure out the problems I was having, and find the “easiest way to play”. He is the king of efficient playing, and I still recall words of wisdom and methods of ‘making things easier’ even as I play today. I am positive that his teaching helped me to win the job I hold now as principal of the Air Force Band of the West, and inspired me to solo with the band. He certainly gave me a lot to think about in my horn playing and I am very fortunate to have been able to study with him.

Margaret Tung

DePaul ’04 (University of Kentucky – Visiting Assistant Professor of Horn)

I had the privilege of studying with Jon Boen for 3 years during my undergraduate studies at DePaul University. I remember that I looked forward to every lesson with him because I always learned something new and he was able to approach the lesson with such warmth and understanding. His ability to explain and simplify concepts helped me develop into the horn player I am today. He helped to solidify the foundation I have in my horn playing and musicianship. I admire him for his horn playing, his professionalism, and most importantly, as a person. I am grateful that I was able to work with Jon Boen.

Mackenzie Merrill-Wick

DePaul ’03

While I’ve always appreciated his ability to instruct students in horn pedagogy, I’m in awe of his unwavering ability to show different methods of how to achieve results. It’s wonderful to have a teacher who has taken the time and effort to develop an accessible method of instruction. The students who have gotten to work with Jon have had the opportunity of a lifetime.

Keri Godon

DePaul ’01

I have fond memories of his guidance as a teacher, coach, guru, and shrink. He has given so much to so many students, sharing his time and expertise through lessons, master classes, recitals, studio classes, sectionals, auditions, and the list goes on. It is remarkable that he has coached and encouraged so many aspiring hornists. A teacher of mine in graduate school once remarked, ‘it is obvious from your playing that you have had very fine teachers.’ I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to study with Jon. Thank you for inspiring us through your patience, discipline, knowledge, musicianship, and especially your sound.



Dan Vidican

DePaul ’01 (Lukas Horns)

I remember having a lesson one morning, soon after I started taking lessons from him. I’ll always remember that the day was actually a Tuesday in 1999. I’m in the studio at 8:30 am, and my dumb— brain thought it was a good idea to start the lesson with the Short Call. Jon walked in and about 5 minutes after we started the lesson and I butchered the excerpt, and I asked him if he could play it for me. He said, “Well, I don’t usually warm up first thing in the morning with the Short Call, but I’ll give it a shot…”, then reluctantly proceeds and plays…what do you know! He nails absolutely everything and leaves me speechless, thinking, “Wow, if he plays like this when he’s not warmed up, how the heck does he sound when he is actually warmed up?!!!”

Michelle Duchow

DePaul ’95

Where does one start when trying to sum up four years of lessons with Jon Boen? There were many words of wisdom and inspiration spoken that I still remember and use today. I remember leaving most lessons feeling very positive and inspired, ready to hit the practice room and work on all the new things I was just taught. I also remember other students saying the same thing. I was fortunate enough to hear the Lyric Opera do most of the Ring Cycle when I was at DePaul. I’ll never forget his golden sound seeming to just float out of the pit and fill the hall. So effortless. That was probably the best inspiration for learning. I wanted to (and still want to!) play like that and have that sound. There are a lot of good horn teachers and great players out there, but to find someone that can be both of these AND a normal human being on top of that is rare. Very often great players are not great people. I personally think that all teachers should be good examples, since students look up to them and respect them. Luckily, I got a teacher worth respecting. Apart from his words of wisdom for horn, he also had good advice for life in general. I don’t even know if teachers remember all the things they say to their students, words that we remember so many years later. I had 4 wonderful years at DePaul and was lucky to have had Jon as a teacher. He was the absolute perfect teacher for me.