IHS 48 Report No. 5

This post is the fifth in a series of brief summaries regarding the 48th International Horn Symposium. Here are links to the previous reports: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4.

My morning presentation went very well, and I am grateful to Jeff Nelsen and Randall Faust for stopping by! Be on the lookout for more updates about Solo Training for Horn.

After lunch I heard some lovely playing by Dr. Katie Johnson, who performed the Franz Strauss Nocturno, Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel (which works quite well on horn), and Joseph Rheinberger’s Sonata for Horn and Piano. The concert concluded with a solid performance by Dr. Amy Laursen and Dr. Heather Thayer of the Concerto for Two Horns by Ferdinand Ries. If you are familiar with the solo horn sonata of Ries, the style in this concerto is similiar, but with considerably more “fireworks” in both horn parts.

I spent the better part of the next hour trying out several different horns in the exhibit rooms. This is an area that I don’t always get to explore at horn conferences, but I made a conscientious effort this year to play some horns for more than just a few seconds. More on exhibit room etiquette in my next post! For now, here is the list of horns I tried.

First let me say that these are ALL good horns, with a range of prices from just over $4,000 to close to $10,000. Furthermore, comparing a mid-level horn to a higher priced custom instrument isn’t really a fair comparison. In terms of automobiles, think of comparing a Honda to a Mercedes. Much depends on your personal preferences as a player, and of course your budget. That being said, in the limited testing of the above instruments my favorites were, in no particular order, the Briz Custom, Patterson Custom, and a tie between the Yamaha 671 and Yamaha 871. If I were serious about purchasing any of the above models, I would definitely give them a more extensive testing. What did I play to test these horns? Nothing fancy: scales, arpeggios, harmonic series slurs, other flexibility patterns, perfect 5ths in several keys. For some tips on testing horns, see this article by John Ericson at Horn Matters. To sum it up, there are lots of fine instruments out there from a variety of makers in the $4K to $10K range.

From the exhibit rooms I went to a lecture by my Louisiana colleague Dr. Catherine Roche-Wallace. Titled “Under Pressure: Solutions for Struggles in the High Range,” her presentation provided some practical tips for success in the high range, as well as a discussion of how to apply Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences to horn pedagogy.

The final event of the day and of my time at IHS 48 (the symposium ends tomorrow) was an eclectic concert featuring Mexican music for horn and piano, performed by Mauricio Soto, and a new brass trio by Tyler Ogilvie, (Lori Roy, horn). Since I spend a good bit of time performing in a brass trio, this performance was especially interesting to me. Titled Realm’s End, this three movement work was funded in part by the IHS Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund. The piece was challenging at times, but still very accessible. The addition of a Melodica part performed by the trumpet player during the second movement was a nice touch, and created a unique texture.

IMG_20160617_085952264_HDRThis brings my series of reports on IHS 48 to close. It’s been a fantastic week of music making and camaraderie, definitely one for the books. In the next few days I’ll post my summary comments, including a bit more about the gear I purchased (see photo).

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