IHS 48 Report No. 3

This post is the third in a series of brief summaries regarding the 48th International Horn Symposium. You can read the first one here, and the second one here.

Today I attended a mix of lectures and performances. First was a concert featuring the music of Daniel Baldwin. Baldwin’s music is tuneful, and very fun to perform. Here is a condensed version of the program, with instrumentation and the names of the horn players. For full information, you can view the online program book, page 18.

  • KUI Awakened (Solo Horn; Philip Kassell)
  • Dreams of the White Tiger (Woodwind Quintet; Clare Tuxill McKenney)
  • Landscapes (Horn, Clarinet, Bassoon, Piano; Erin Futterer)
  • Big Sky Country (Horn Ensemble)
  • Firefall (Horn Ensemble)

Bravo to all of the performers on this concert! If you don’t know Daniel Baldwin’s music, it is well worth a look and listen. *I had to step out of the concert early, and missed the last two horn ensemble works. Immediately following this performance I spent some much needed time in the practice room, preparing for my presentation on Friday.

Next I attended a very special presentation, “MRI Horn, The Inside Story: Pedagogy Informed by Science,” by Eli Epstein and Dr Peter Iltis. There was way too much information in this presentation to summarize here, but you can view this video conversation between Sarah Willis and Peter Iltis for an overview of how this powerful technology can improve our understanding of horn playing. The presentation began by reviewing some of the information presented at IHS47 in Los Angeles, and continued with some new discoveries regarding tongue position, and the role of the glottis in brass playing.

The afternoon performance included both new and old, with Dr. Jeffrey Snedeker performing the Nikolas von Krufft Sonata on natural horn, Dr. Erica Tyner Godrian performing a new solo horn work titled “across the plains, to Devils Tower” by Mack LaMont, and Dr. Margaret Tung performing the World Premiere of John Cheetham’s Sonata for Horn and Piano. All of the performances were very solid, and I especially enjoyed the Cheetham. Anyone who has played in a brass quintet knows Cheetham’s Scherzo, and think this new work for horn will get played quite a bit.

ihs 49The next update isn’t directly related to today’s events, but rather to the symposium as a whole. The dates and location of the next symposium have been announced in the program book. The 49th International Horn Symposium will be held June 26-30, 2017 at the Federal University of Rio Grande de Norte in Natal, Brazil, and the host is Radegundis Tavares.

This evening’s concert included some really spectacular playing: first by Bruno Schneider and Leslie Norton, followed by William VerMeulen on the second half. One notable thing about the program is that I had never heard any of the pieces before. All of the compositions made for interesting and enjoyable listening, but standouts for me were the Gothic Concerto by Kerry Turner (performed by Leslie Norton), and the Horn Sonata No. 1 by Christopher Caliendo (performed by William VerMeulen). I enjoyed hearing all three of these world class players, each with a very distinctive sound and approach to the instrument. It’s difficult for me to put into words, but they all had something special to offer in terms of their sound quality, beyond just “getting the notes.” I plan to think about this a bit more during the rest of the week, and maybe will be able to put a finer point on it in my summary comments.

 

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Thanks for this, but I am surprised you didn’t mention the final piece of the evening, the work Mr VerMeulin commissioned. The musicality and the technical capacity of the performance were beyond just about anything I have EVER heard in over 60 years of listening to horn music. Mr V gave us about an hour of music and was able to end with a sustained F above high C at fff! Another technical aspect of note was the absence of sheets of paper, as Bill
used an iPad and a food pedal for page changes. A stunning evening in all ‼️

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