Willard Zirk was French horn professor at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, from 1980 – 2007. With the onset of tinnitus, he began teaching music theory, counterpoint, and music literature at EMU, and found that he enjoys music composition. His music is melodious and is accessible to musicians and the general public alike.
Born in 1950, Willard Zirk began studying horn while in elementary school in Muskegon, Michigan, with Donald Roelofs. He studied horn with Douglas Campbell at Michigan State University and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1972. While in The United States Army Band (Pershing's Own), he studied with Lynden Mitchell at The Catholic University of America, earning a Master of Music degree in horn performance in 1975. He then studied with Louis Stout and Lowell Greer at the University of Michigan, earning a Doctor of Musical Arts in horn performance in 1989.
During Zirk's horn performing days, he was a member of The United States Army Band (Pershing's Own); the EMU Woodwind Quintet, “Eastern Winds;” and principal horn with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. He played extra horn with many orchestras including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and natural horn with Philharmonia Baroque, Tafelmusik, and Apollo's Fire. Zirk has recorded several discs including “A Horn Museum,” Mozart's Horn Concertos 2 and 3 for Music Minus One, Mozart's “Quintet for Horn and Strings” with the Arianna String Quartet, and he can be heard in several orchestral recordings by Tafelmusik and Apollo's Fire.