College News

Joshua Williams

UA doctoral candidate Joshua Williams won first place in the International Horn Competition of America in 2017.
UA doctoral candidate Joshua Williams won first place in the International Horn Competition of America in 2017.

In seventh grade, Tuscaloosa-native Joshua Williams was told that he needed to wait a year to play football so he could participate in spring training. Instead, he forged his own path and joined his school’s band, where he picked up a French horn.

Now, he’s one of the best horn players in the world.

As an undergraduate and now doctoral candidate at UA, Williams practiced constantly to achieve success. But the hours of rehearsals paid off after his performance at the International Horn Competition of America last year, where he won top prize, beating out the National Symphony Orchestra’s Markus Osterlund and Jorge Mejia of the Bogotá Symphony Orchestra.

“During the final round performance, I just got lost in the music,” Williams said. “The audience reaction was incredible. I’d have to say it was one of the most incredible moments of my life, for sure.”

That moment spurred him into international fame. Williams spent the past year playing events around the country. Recently, he was invited to be a featured soloist with the Detroit Symphony.

The horn virtuoso’s future looks brighter than ever before, giving him the opportunity to do more solo performing. But eventually, he wants to share his knowledge with others.

“I want to do a little bit of everything,” Williams said. “I enjoy giving recitals, traveling the world, and performing. But I eventually want to be a college horn professor. I really love teaching. Teaching is my passion.”