Hermann Baumann gradually built a career as one of the world's leading horn players following his decision in 1967 to abandon work as an orchestral member in favor of teaching and concertizing. As his appearances in Germany and abroad drew critical acclaim and the frequency of his recordings increased, Baumann became widely recognized both for his interpretive acumen and virtuoso technique. His earliest major successes were in German repertory, particularly the concertos of Richard Strauss, Weber, and Mozart. But for most of his career Baumann has also performed a broad range of works outside the German sphere by a list of composers including Pokorny, Glière, Saint-Saëns, Dukas, Chabrier, and Ligeti. What may separate Baumann from his rivals is his uncanny versatility: he is able to perform with near flawless technique not only on modern horns but also on more ancient ones, including the Baroque-era corno da caccia. Baumann is among the most recorded horn players of his time, as well, having appeared on countless albums spread over a variety of labels, including DG, Philips, Teldec, Wergo, and Arthaus Musik.
Hermann Baumann was born in Hamburg, Germany, on August 1, 1934. Until he was 17 his musical interest focused on singing and jazz drumming. But he advanced quickly, studying with horn virtuoso Fritz Huth in Hamburg. From about 1955 Baumann spent 12 years playing in orchestras: his most notable assignments were as first chair horn with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra (1957-1961) and with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (1961-1967). In 1964 Baumann captured first prize at the Bavarian Radio ARD competition in Munich.
Baumann devoted three decades of his career to teaching, doing two stints at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, 1966-1980 and 1983-1996, with the three years in between spent at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. Meanwhile his solo career took off: he debuted in 1967 with the Vienna Symphony in the Strauss Second Horn Concerto, recorded to acclaim the concertos of Mozart with Harnoncourt in 1972, and thereafter made regular concert tours at major venues throughout the world. In 1993 Baumann suffered a stroke, but eventually returned to activity on the concert scene and as a teacher primarily of master classes. In 2002 he joined the staff at the Kendall Betts Horn Camp in Lyman, NH, where he teaches every June. Among Baumann's recordings the 2008 reissue on Eloquence of the Haydn Horn Concerto No. 1 and the seven-disc Hermann Baumann Collection on Newton in 2011.