Elizabeth Schellhase Gray joined the Kansas City Symphony as Second Horn in November 2009. Prior to joining the Kansas City Symphony, she served as Acting Fourth Horn for the Houston Symphony during their 2008-2009 season. Mrs. Gray graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from Rice University, where she studied with Houston Symphony Principal Horn William VerMeulen. Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to study with former San Francisco Symphony Principal Horn, David Krehbiel. She won the position with the Kansas City Symphony during October of her first year and left school shortly after to join the orchestra. During the summer of 2015, she served as the Fourth Horn for the Colorado Music Festival and has also locally played with Summerfest. She has received fellowships to the Pacific Music Festival (2009-10), Tanglewood Music Center (2007), National Repertory Orchestra (2008), and the Spoleto USA Festival (2008). As a soloist, she has appeared with the Kansas City Symphony, Plymouth (MI) Symphony, the Ann Arbor Concert Band, and the Plymouth (MI) Community Band. Former teachers also include Louis Stout, Corbin Wagner, and William Brown. Mrs. Gray resides in Overland Park with her husband and two sons.
I am not the only musician in my family. My mom is a retired middle school band teacher and I have a cousin who plays violin in the Philadelphia Opera Orchestra. My maternal grandfather played jazz clarinet and saxophone (including subbing once with Glenn Miller), but most of my family dabbles in music as amateurs. Both of my parents sing in their church choir.
I started playing piano at age 4 and I did love to practice most of the time, but like any kid, there were often times where my parents would have to force me to practice. Especially when your mom is a band teacher…
My current obsession is Chameleon cold brew coffee and almond milk. With two kids under two, I don’t get time to drink coffee before it gets cold anymore.
I hope it would be a comedy! I love to laugh. I’ve often been told that I look like Erika Christensen or Julia Stiles, so maybe one of them?
I have two sons, Thomas and Caleb, who are both little (Thomas was born after the 2015-16 season and Caleb was born right after the last Yo-Yo Ma concert in the 2018 season…straight from the concert to the hospital!). My husband, Nathan, and I have been married since 2013 and own a house in Overland Park. He works for Cerner. I don’t get much time for hobbies with two littles, but when I do get time, I like to exercise, get pedicures, spend time with friends, and go shopping. My husband is an avid skier (he taught me!) so we like to head out on ski trips whenever we get the opportunity. I am also a member of the leadership team for my Building Better Moms group at Church of the Resurrection, where my family attends church.
As a four year old, I really wanted to be a coloratura soprano and used to attempt to sing the “Queen of the Night” aria from The Magic Flute while standing on my bed. Unfortunately, I was destined to be a mezzo-soprano. I was then on track to become a concert pianist, but after being in a masterclass with a child prodigy, I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen, nor did I want to spend all day alone in a practice room every day. By then, I really loved playing horn in orchestra and realized in ninth grade that I wanted nothing more than to play horn professionally.
Usually just pepperoni, but if I make it up from Overland Park to Il Lazzarone, they have a pizza with bacon, mozzarella, basil and a balsamic glaze that is to die for.
I’m sure there’s some crazy piece out there that I am totally unaware of, but the hardest piece I’ve ever performed is currently a tie between the Ligeti Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano, and the Elliott Carter Brass Quintet (which I performed at Tanglewood under the guidance of the composer himself).
I mostly spend the off-season months spending time with my kids. We like to get some summer travel in, usually heading to northern Michigan, where my husband’s family has a lake cottage and on vacation with my family, usually to the beach in South Carolina. If we have extra time, we like to head into the mountains in Colorado and go hiking.