Make a Recital Wish List

One way I like to plan for future recitals is to consult my “wish list,” an ever-growing, frequently changing catalog of composers, genres, and repertoire I’d like to perform someday.  As a student,  my wish list consisted of the standard concertos, sonatas, chamber music, and other works in the repertoire, with maybe a few new or unusual pieces thrown in there for variety.  This was as it should be, since the student years are definitely the time to cover all of the basics in the repertoire.  At this point I am still trying to some extent to make sure I cover all of the standards, but now I have quite a bit more time and room for flexibility in my programming.  Having a wish list helps me stay motivated, and gets me thinking about creative ways to combine both new and old compositions into a cohesive recital program.  I’m a big fan of “themed” recitals, as they can help both the performer and the audience engage with the music on a deeper level.  As mentioned before, I’m always tweaking my list of repertoire and recital ideas – the following is a brief list of some of the recitals I’d like to perform. Many of these are not original, and feel free to appropriate any of the themes you like and adapt them for your own uses.

A Duo Recital for Horn and any other Instrument: Be creative! There’s plenty of repertoire out there, either in original or transcribed form.  Consider partnering with an instrument you wouldn’t normally have a chance to work with.  Some combinations I’d really like to explore one day are horn and organ and horn and clarinet.

Horn and Percussion: Technically this could be filed under the above category, but there’s so much great music for horn and percussion that I think it deserves its own place on the wish list.   Some great pieces to start with are Dragons in the Sky by Mark Schultz, and Thoughtful Wanderings, by Douglas Hill.

Music of a Specific Time and/or Place: What about a program of all 21st-Century music, or what about all Baroque music, or music from Italy? The possible combinations are enough to fill dozens of recital programs, if not more.

Music by Horn Players for Horn Players: There are – and have been throughout history – many composer/performers on the horn, so why not devote a recital to them?

Music Influenced and Inspired by Jazz: See here for more info.

Music which Involves Some Improvisation: Start off by programming a single improvised work on a recital program, and then go from there.  Check out Jeff Agrell’s great post on this topic here.

A Recital of Encores: I’d love to program a recital of short, flashy works that are usually reserved for encores.  This would make a great program for public school performances or other venues in a community.

An Interactive Lecture Recital on Any Topic: Present a lecture recital on a historical topic, and allow the audience to ask questions and otherwise participate in the experience – something they rarely get to do at performances of classical music.

The list could go on, but you get the idea.  Over time I update the list with new works and possible combinations.  The important part is to spend some time thinking about future recital programs. This can do wonders for your motivation (especially during the summer months), and can help keep you from experiencing a post-recital slump.

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