Summer Plans, 2015

DuetHornsCoverWebAfter a somewhat busier-than-usual end to the semester, I’m finally settling into a summer schedule. As always, the next several weeks will include some much needed relaxation and social time with family and friends. In addition, I have some exciting events and projects to plan for in the coming months. Here’s a brief summary, with more details to follow in future posts.

  • Solo Duet Training for Horns is Complete: My new duet book from Mountain Peak Music is at the printer, and should be ready around June 1. After spending the last year working on this project (you can read more about it here), I’m very excited to see the final version in print! I have plans this summer to promote and introduce these duets to the horn playing community, including more videos and a presentation at an international conference.
  • Back to Blogging: Now that the duet book is finished, I am looking forward to spending more time writing and posting content to this website. I’ve missed it! Look for more frequent updates in the future.
  • Recording Reviews: As a subcategory of the above, I have several recent recordings in need of reviews, and will be working on those throughout the summer. Among them is En-Cor!, the American Horn Quartet’s most recent (and final?) recording, Uncommon Ground, an album of works for trumpet, horn, trombone, and organ (including two world premiere recordings of brass trios), and Songs of Love, War and Melancholy: The Operatic Fantasias of Jacques-François Gallay, a brand-new release by natural horn virtuoso Anneke Scott.
  • Arranging Projects: Taking a break from big projects this summer, but will be working on a few small-scale arrangements for horn and piano and brass trio.
  • 47th International Horn Symposium: The musical highlight of my summer will be the 47th International Horn Symposium, hosted by Andrew Bain and Annie Bosler at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, August 2-8. During the symposium I’ll be participating in three events: 1) performing the world premiere of Gary Schocker’s In Arkadia for Horn and Harp, a work I commissioned through the Horn Society’s Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund (read more here), 2) giving a lecture/demonstration on Solo Duet Training for Horns, and 3) performing in a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni horn ensemble, with Douglas Hill conducting. There are many more details to share about these, and I am planning separate posts about each one as the symposium approaches. In addition, I will of course be attending many other concerts and lectures, and checking out the exhibits. Hope to see you there!

As always, I want to wish my readers a safe, restful, and productive summer!


The Week in Review: Eli Epstein’s New Video, A Radio Interview, and More

In lieu of a more cohesive post this week, here are a few random highlights that you might find interesting.

A New YouTube Video by Eli Epstein: Eli Epstein is a big name in the horn world, both for his captivating playing as well as his insightful teaching. It was my pleasure to review his new book Horn Playing from the Inside Out, and I’m also very excited to share this new instructional video. Subtitled “Finger Breathing,” this nearly 20 minute lesson with Mr. Epstein ties together the major concepts from his book in one easily understood exercise. Although I have seen other pedagogues utilize the finger breath, I had not seen it used in this way before. In addition to demonstrating three different variations on the finger breath exercise, Mr. Epstein also performs several standard orchestral excerpts. It’s worth watching the video just to hear his playing!

Radio Interview Promo for My New CD: Here’s a brief interview with our local public radio station (90.3 KEDM) discussing my new solo CD. There are some nice excerpts here from the CD that you won’t find anywhere else! Special thanks to my colleague and friend Dr. Jason Rinehart for setting up the interview.

2013-06-24 14.26.27International Horn Symposium Mobile App: Ok, this probably doesn’t qualify as recent news, but the 45th International Horn Symposium is a little over a month away. In addition to the usual all-star lineup of performers, clinicians, and exhibitors, this year’s symposium may be the most technologically advanced one yet, thanks to symposium host and IHS webmaster Dr. Dan Phillips. The event website looks great – and, more importantly, is very functional – but on top of that the symposium boasts a free mobile app by Bloodhound. I haven’t explored all of the features yet, but at first glance it looks like it will be very useful in navigating the various venues and events at the symposium. The screenshot above shows the first couple of events on the first day.

Skype Master Class with Andrew McAfee

Here is an interesting master class video, presented via Skype by Andrew McAfee, Instructor of Horn at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and former Principal Horn of the North Carolina Symphony. Mr. McAfee has also created a series of educational videos and other materials for horn players available at This class, titled “Horn Embouchure Technique Overview,” is presented to a live and virtual audience on Skype simultaneously. A recording of the class has been made available on YouTube, embedded below.

I heard Mr. McAfee perform with the NC Symphony numerous times during my student years, and he certainly backs up his ideas with great playing. I particularly like his explanations of “heavy” air and playing into the bottom of each note.  While there are aspects of his pedagogy that could certainly be debated, that is not my intention in this post. Instead, I want to draw attention to the format of his presentation, which has some pretty exciting possibilities. There are a handful of horn teachers out there who are pioneering the area of online instruction, and though it has some definite disadvantages I think we will see it used more and more.  One possible way to use this technology would be at International Horn Symposiums. One of the complaints I have heard about IHS symposiums is that it isn’t always easy and/or convenient to travel to the host sites. Perhaps streaming some of the major concerts, master classes, and lectures online might encourage more participation, at least from those who might not otherwise attend the event. Access could be granted through a fee system, much like the onsite registration (1 day pass, full week, etc.). The technology to do this already exists, and is being used successfully at sites such as the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall and, to name a few.

There are of course some logistical issues to be worked out with such a venture, including licensing, and various technological concerns. However, I think the benefits in this case would outweigh the drawbacks. To me, having potentially thousands of horn players take part in an IHS Symposium – even if some of them are online – is worth the effort involved in setting up the streaming service. The concerts and classes could even be archived in video format and made available to IHS members, in much the same way as their podcast series. I don’t foresee the streaming service taking away from the number of live attendees at an IHS symposium – after all, nothing can replace an actual live performance or master class – but for those interested people who might simply live so far away from the event site as to make travel impractical, this might be a great alternative.

Welcome Back and 2012 Preview

After a couple of weeks off, it’s time to get back in gear for the spring semester. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season – I know I did! Over the break I got some much needed rest, and as the new year approached my thoughts turned towards the various activities coming up for me in 2012. For my first post of this year I thought I’d give a brief overview for a few of these activities, many of which I’ll be writing about in more detail in the future.

  • Chamber Music Galore: February will be a very busy and exciting month for chamber music, as I’ll be collaborating with my colleagues on three faculty recitals. The first is a concert of music by Eric Ewazen, where we’ll perform his Ballade, Pastorale and Dance for flute, horn, and piano. It’s a great piece, and is really becoming well known in the literature. For the second concert I’ll be joining a member of our voice faculty for Vitaly Bujanovsky’s Evening Songs for soprano and horn. Though not very well known, this is a wonderful recital piece. If you haven’t heard of it, check out this fine performance by Sofia Kapetanakou and Antonis Lagos.
    To close out the month Black Bayou Brass will present our annual faculty recital. This promises to be an exciting program as well, with the big piece on the concert being Anthony Plog’s Triple Concerto. Later this year Black Bayou Brass will also be performing several more concerts – some of them at home, and some in far away places! More on that to come.
  • Orchestra Concerts: In addition to lots of chamber music, there is also plenty of orchestral playing to go around. Program highlights this spring are Pines of Rome by Respighi and Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss.
  • 44th International Horn Symposium: This year’s symposium will be held at The University of North Texas in Denton, and I’m looking forward to hearing some great horn playing as well as catching up with several friends and colleagues. For my part I’ll be appearing as a contributing artist, performing Jan Koetsier‘s Sonata for Horn and Harp with Jaymee Haefner, harp professor at UNT. Koetsier’s music is gradually becoming known in the U.S., and he has several very fine works for horn. Later this year I’ll also be recording the sonata along with other works by Koetsier for a forthcoming CD project.
  • Blogging: I’ve got several drafts for posts in progress, so it’s just a matter of getting to them over the next few months. One blogging project I’m particularly excited about is a weekly series reviewing recent publications and recordings.
  • Summer Teaching: This year I’ll be on the faculty of Cannon Music Camp in Boone, NC. This three-week high school music camp is held on the campus of Appalachian State University, my alma mater. I attended CMC during my early high school years, and I have very fond memories of the time I spent there. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to being on the faculty.

Though I’m sure 2012 will bring with it new challenges (i.e. opportunities), I look forward to this year with optimism and enthusiasm – I hope you do too!

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