Our People

Dennis Houghton earned his Bachelor’s degree in music performance at California State University, Long Beach, where he studied horn with Fred Fox. He went on to post-graduate study at HFM Detmold (Germany) with Michael Hoeltzel. Other notable teachers include James Decker and William Scharnberg. He has held the position of Co-Principal horn of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle (Cali, Colombia) and is currently 4th horn in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. Best known for his handicraft, Mr. Houghton seeks to combine the greatest qualities of artisanal brass craftsmanship with the advantages of new technology. His technical background in brass instrument repair, customization and restoration includes thousands of projects over more than thirty years, as well as consulting work with professional musicians, industry-leading music brands and corporations. Dennis’ outstanding service and reputation have yielded clients from across the United States and abroad. Dennis is an owner of Houghton Horns and serves as Head Craftsman.

Benjamin Allen is a writer, podcaster, and French horn restoration artist from North Texas with over fifteen years of repair experience. Trained and mentored by Dennis Houghton, Benjamin has worked with several instrument repair shops, including the largest musical instrument repair facility in the United States. Benjamin specializes in repairing all brass instruments, and is an expert at magnetic dent removal. On occasion, he also performs minor woodwind adjustments on saxophones, clarinets, and flutes. Mr. Allen lives with his wife in Fort Worth and hosts the Apocalypse Theater Podcast.

Andrew Bjarnson is new here and hasn’t given us his bio yet. You should probably give him grief about that until he does.

Karen Houghton has been a private horn instructor for over forty years and has taught in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the past thirty years. During this time, she has had over one hundred high school students place in the prestigious Texas Music Educators Association All-State Bands/Orchestras. Several of her former students now hold professional teaching and playing positions across the country. Karen enjoys teaching all levels and loves to see each student excel and reach their potential on the horn. She studied horn with Fred Fox at California State University, Long Beach, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance. Other notable teachers were James Decker, Michael Hoeltzel (HFM Detmold) and William Scharnberg. Karen has held the positions of second horn in the Long Beach Symphony, Co-Principal horn in the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle (Cali, Colombia) and is currently 2nd horn in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, in addition to freelancing in the DFW area. Karen is an owner of Houghton Horns.

Kathryn Houghton is an oboist who was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents are musicians and music store owners. Kathryn started on violin, and began studying oboe at age twelve. After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy for her senior year of high school, she completed her bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music as a student of Richard Killmer. She then went on to earn an artist diploma and a master’s degree at Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Erin Hannigan. While at SMU, Kathryn maintained a private oboe studio of 25-30 students in the Dallas area. Kathryn has performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, Spoleto USA, Dallas Wind Symphony (Dallas Winds), the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Kathryn has been in charge of accounting, payroll, and finance at Houghton Horns since 2007.

Mark Houghton has been a member of the internationally acclaimed Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2014. Previously he held principal horn posts in the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Mark is a past prizewinner of national solo horn competitions, and has appeared as a guest artist or soloist with many notable orchestras and music festivals. Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell wrote of Houghton: “He had a tone of burnished elegance and amazing expressive range, and he delivered some protracted decrescendos that took the breath away.” Mr. Houghton holds a degree from the Eastman School of Music (BM with Performer’s Certificate), a student of W. Peter Kurau. A passionate educator, Mark has presented numerous clinics and masterclasses across the nation, and currently serves as adjunct professor of horn at Duquesne University. Mark is an owner of Houghton Horns and manages Artistic Ambassadorship, Events and Strategic Planning.

Christian Paarup enjoys a varied schedule of performing as a trombonist, composing, arranging, digitally engraving sheet music, and teaching. He has performed with the Fort Worth Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Waco Symphony, and a number of music festivals including the Round Top Festival Institute, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Eastern Music Festival. Mr. Paarup holds degrees from Baylor University (BM), where he graduated magna cum laude, and the Manhattan School of Music (MM). Christian is the Trombone Specialist for Houghton Horns.

Victoria Paarup is a horn player and educator from Fort Worth, Texas. After falling in love with the horn in high school while studying with Karen Houghton, she decided to pursue a career in orchestral music. She holds degrees in Horn Performance from Texas Christian University (BM) and The Manhattan School of Music (MM), studying with Heather Test and Michelle Baker, respectively. Victoria is the Sales Manager and Social Media Coordinator of Houghton Horns.

Christopher Reddick is known as “The Valve Whisperer”. A skilled craftsman, Christopher specializes in the maintenance and restoration of rotary valves. He also does bell conversions, refits bearings, removes dents, cleans horns and makes people laugh on a regular basis. Christopher’s years of experience in the shop and his love of the horn make him a valuable member of the Houghton Horns team.

Katie Rios was born and raised in Texas and started music lessons at the age of four. She grew up in a family of musicians; all of her family members play piano, a wind instrument, and sing! After placing 21st and then 11th in the state of Texas on French Horn, Katie won several music scholarships and began attending the University of Texas in 2010 where she met her husband, Carlos.  After graduating with a degree in orchestral performance, she toured around the world and performed in eight different countries with the University of Texas Wind Ensemble. Katie then taught for two years in Hays-, Manor-, and Austin-ISD at nine different public schools. In addition to being a repair technician at Houghton Horns, she currently is a free-lance performer and music teacher around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Derek J. Wright currently plays 4th horn in the Amarillo Symphony. He has also performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and multiple other organizations. As a solo musician, Derek has performed at many symposiums and workshops. In 2015 he was a semi-finalist in the professional division at the International Horn Competition of America. Derek has studied with William VerMeulen, John Ericson, Herbert Winslow, and Kazimierz Machala. He holds degrees from Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Illinois. Derek is an owner of Houghton Horns and also serves as Director of Operations.

Kacie Wright earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Texas at Arlington. Before coming to work at Houghton Horns as photographer and webmaster, she worked in public schools for over a decade, first teaching English to students in Japan, then teaching Japanese to students in the U.S. Her passions include podcasts, cooking, and the Oxford comma.

Chief is Houghton Horns’ VP of Napping and Executive Manager of Treats. His responsibilities include greeting each customer who comes through the door and finding the most inconvenient location possible to fall asleep.

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