Horn Symposium Update No. 4

IMG_0937Today was a little bit different in terms of what I attended, but it was still a very productive day at the symposium. I’ll give my customary recap below, but have also included a list of some new music and equipment purchased during the week. Although I have been pretty selective at this symposium with buying books, sheet music, and other merchandise, I did pick up what I hope will be a few very useful items.

  • Concert – Timothy Thompson, Travis Bennett, Daren Robbins A fantastic concert of new and/or little known works for horn ensemble, horn with piano, and horn with chamber ensemble. Timothy Thompson (University of Arkansas) conducted a horn ensemble in his composition Hornscape for Eight Horns. A very effective work incorporating extended techniques and antiphonal effects. Next, Travis Bennett (Western Carolina University) gave a great performance of the seldom heard Sonata for Horn and Piano by York Bowen. I really enjoyed this work, which is written in a neo-Romantic style. Daren Robbins (Mahidol University) closed the concert with a new work for horn, trombone, tuba, and piano by Australian composer Christopher Gordon. Another great performance, especially in the lyrical second movement.
  • Lecture – Recovering from Lip Injury: The Long Road Back (Bruce Atwell) Several months ago I posted an interview with Bruce Atwell, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and is a very active freelancer in Milwaukee and the surrounding area. For some background on Bruce’s story, feel free to check out the interview. I haven’t spoken much to Bruce since our interview, and it was great to catch up with him and hear some more details about his recovery.
  • Theatrical Production: I Found My Horn This was a fantastic performance, and really a tour de force for the actor. If you ever have the chance to see this show performed, I highly recommend it! Here’s a summary, which can be found on the IHS 47 website.
    Jonathan Guy Lewis is directed by Harry Burton in an updated production of this wryly funny and infinitely touching story about making music and confronting one’s private demons. Adapted from Jasper Rees’ popular book, A Devil to Play, the play was premiered in 2008 at the Aldeburgh Festival in Benjamin Britten’s home town. It was performed to great acclaim at the 2014 International Horn Society workshop in London.
    A man wakes up at forty to a broken marriage, a beckoning bedsit, and the realisation that he has done nothing to make himself memorable. Then he clambers into the attic… After a lay-off of 25 years, he seeks redemption via the sixteen feet of treacherous brass tubing he never mastered in his youth. Resuming his old French horn, he sets himself an impossible task: to perform a Mozart concerto in front of a paying audience of horn fanatics.

This was the last major event of the day for me, although I did stop in briefly to hear a bit of the Berlin Philharmonic Horn Quartet. It was a packed house (standing room only) so I elected to step out early and get some dinner. Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to read through a new horn quartet composition by Gina Gillie with Daren Robbins and Lin Foulk. We were also joined by Douglas Hill, who listened and provided feedback. The quartet is really well done, so be sure to look for it in publication soon.

Here’s a list of the few items I’ve purchased from the exhibitors this week. Watch this page for reviews in the future!

  • Bandera for Trumpet, Trombone, Horn and Piano, by Kerry Turner (A new work to read with Black Bayou Brass, the faculty brass ensemble at my university.)
  • Unlikely Fusion: Chamber Works by Kerry Turner (A CD which contains lots of great stuff, including a recording of Bandera.)
  • Musician, Heal Thyself, by Kristy Morrell (A new horn method book by a member of the LA Chamber Orchestra)
  • 30 Etudes for Stopped Horn, by Robert Ward (Who doesn’t need more stopped horn practice?)
  • To the Seasons for Soprano, Horn and Piano, by Gina Gillie (A relatively new work for horn/voice/piano. My colleagues and I are planning a recital tour next spring for this combination, and this piece might make a nice addition to the program.)
  • Engelbert Schmid Digital Mouthpiece, 17.5 mm ID, medium cup (Let the mouthpiece wheel of doom begin! Actually I’ve been hearing very good things about these mouthpieces, and I’m looking forward to doing some more extensive playing on it.)

Tomorrow will be my last day at the symposium, and events will include my presentation on pedagogical duets for the horn, more concerts and lectures, and a very special concert, the final performance of the American Horn Quartet. Update to follow!

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