At 37, Andrew Bain has traveled the world as a professional French Horn player since embarking at 21. He’s performed with the best orchestras in Australia, where he’s from, to Germany. As the Principal Horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a Colburn Conservatory instructor, Andrew treks to Bunker Hill from his home in Little Tokyo, appreciating the proximity. He’s lived in Downtown since appointed by Gustavo Dudamel four years ago, the perfect time to experience the meteoric rise of business and culture here. It seems fitting that Andrew is shaping the culture of Downtown while broadening the exposure of a little known or appreciated instrument like the Horn.
As a horn player in the Melbourne Orchestra, he considered Los Angeles a premium destination. With a wry, self-effacing smile, he says, “My dream job was the Melbourne Symphony and I got that in 2009. Then after a couple of years, I started to think of my next challenge.” The Phil had an opening for some time and the film industry has unique opportunities for a horn player. With one of his many affable pauses, he says he really didn’t think he’d get the job. But he did. So Andrew and his new bride relocated to Downtown, eventually settling on a Little Tokyo spot. Both he and his wife walk to work and clearly enjoy what the many establishments close to home have to offer. He’s witnessed the explosion of arts across Downtown, most recently, The Broad Museum opening directly across the street from both gigs. Watching the enormous lines for the new museum through the front doors of Colburn while snaking through the bustling scene of children from all over the city congregating for their Community School classes makes him beam. He marvels at the change, “When my wife and I first came out, you could shoot a canon down the sidewalks and not hit anybody.”
When he’s not busy as a critically acclaimed horn player for the Phil, traveling the world playing and recording, or teaching, he and his wife enjoy a bite out at Justice Urban Tavern, a drink at ever the intriguing Edison, or the lush and furry hang at Wine Bar C. Like most Downtowners, he seems to relish the benefits of another ambitious food or beverage project emerging from this rapid growth, “It seems like every time you leave the house, a new place is opening up. It’s amazing!”
Andrew acted as a co-host to the recent gathering of the International Horn Society based at Colburn this past August. He says he felt a sense of responsibility to the city and musicians to showcase Downtown and promote the important role horn plays in film, thus inextricably linked to the city. There’s modest amazement in the reminiscing of over one thousand horn players he invited from around the world who have played on film in the last 20 years. Hence, the theme, “Then and Now,” backdropped by Downtown, was a synchronous moment, befitting a renewed vibrancy for the city and the instrument.