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IHS E-Newsletter June 2015

IHS E-Newsletter June 2015
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Volume 1 Issue 5 , June 2015   Facebook

pope headerThe ‘buzz’ about the upcoming IHS symposium in Los Angeles has been noticeable worldwide in the horn circles that I’ve been following.  I’m already planning my evenings - which concerts and lectures to attend, and then the wonderful hangouts with all the friends I get to see once a year.  The IHS is more than a place to sell horns, or read intriguing articles - it is also a ‘community’ and that is evident at every horn workshop I attend.  I grew up in a small town where playing the ‘horn’ was a curiosity to most of my friends, and when I discovered the IHS I felt like I had found ‘my people’. This issue features a wide variety of articles - some focusing on the intersection of Technology and horn (by Lydia Van Dreel, and by Arkady). I spent many years playing in Orchestras which specialized in ‘New Music’, and though many of the pieces will most likely never be played again, it was fun to see what new techniques and sounds the composers  came up with for our instrument.  See you in California!

Ken Pope
IHS Advisory Council


IHS LA 2015

IHS LA 2015, hosted by Andrew Bain and Annie Bosler, is almost a month away! If you have not yet registered, make sure to visit the website: to register soon. There are over 180 events taking place within the 7 day span: August 2 - 8, 2015. 


Healthy Horn Playing: Injury Prevention through Pedagogy Informed by Science
August 3, 2015 - 1:30pm  2:20pm

An alarming number of brass players, professional and non-professional, have developed career-limiting focal dystonia. Dr. Peter Iltis, Professor of Horn and Kinesiology at Gordon College, and Eli Epstein, veteran second horn of The Cleveland Orchestra, will present MRI films that clearly illustrate horn techniques that may lead to sustainable careers and the prevention of focal dystonia in brass players.

If you have yet to check out this link from Sarah Willis' website, this also refers to the work of Peter and Eli.

Theatrical Production: I Found My Horn 
First Show: TBA
Second Show: Saturday, August 8, 2015: 1:30pm  3:20pm

Writers: Jasper Rees and Jonathan Guy Lewis
Director: Harry Burton
Actor: Jonathan Guy Lewis

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. Q&A will follow.


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IHSLA2015We are looking forward to seeing you in Los Angeles for the 2015 International Horn Symposium, August 2-8, 2015! The web site: has the list of featured artists, a daily schedule and the current list of over 40 exhibitors. This is going to be an exciting and packed event, make sure to register now so we can all meet this summer. See you there!

Incorporating Technology into Teaching of Non-Traditional Idioms

by Lydia Van Dreel, Associate Professor, Unversity of Oregon

lydia190Most young horn players, while loving the tradition of western music, also love popular music. Therefore, encouraging them to experiment with non-traditional idioms is a logical step in helping them to use the horn creatively. Interesting things can happen when students are given non-traditional performance parameters. Some students flourish at the opportunity to be expressive in a non-traditional genre, and they can bring that freedom and versatility back to their more traditional performance genres. Technological tools can help a student better understand musical structures and form in application, and can help them gain versatility in musical expression.

There are innumerable technologies currently being developed for music making. To experiment with non-traditional idioms, you can explore the technologies of sound manipulation and recording. Hardware technology uses tools like a mic, a mouthpiece pick-up, or a silent brass mute (with a mini plug) as a source signal sent into devices that process and change the signal. The mics or pick-ups then go directly into a variety of stomp boxes, pedals, or mixers that are designed to create effects like reverb, delay, and distortion. A more modern device such as an iRig guitar interface can take the horn signal into a smartphone, tablet or computer, and from there, you can use all sorts of software (apps, computer programs) to create the sounds you want. The stomp box effects that electric guitarists use can be found in apps such as Amplitube. A variety of settings can manipulate reverb, delay, distortion, etc.

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The International Horn Society is excited to announce a new award! The IHS International Music Competition Award is aimed at supporting hornists competing in music competitions around the world. This special prize is for the first prize winner of the Horn Division of any of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. The award is:

  • $1000 US
  • An opportunity to perform at the upcoming IHS Symposium
  • A three year membership to the IHS

The first competition where this IMCA prize may be awarded is the International Jeju Wind Ensemble Festival in Jeju, Korea, in August, 2015.

We are excited to be offering this support to young, talented hornists from around the world!
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2014 Composition Contest

by Randall Faust, Composition Contest Coordinator

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faust190 In 2014, The International Horn Society celebrated the 35th year of its Composition Contest. During this special anniversary year, there were two divisions in the contest.

1. The Featured Composition Division: Compositions in this division were works of moderate difficulty for solo horn and keyboard instrument.

2. The Virtuoso Composition Division: Compositions in this division had no difficulty limitation and were from one of the following instrumentation categories.

  • Compositions for Solo Horn (alone/unaccompanied)
  • Compositions for Horn Ensemble (two or more players, all horns)
  • Horn with chamber ensemble of four or more players (one horn part only)
  • Solo Horn featured with large ensemble

(The instrumentation for the divisions will rotate in future contests.)

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Arkady Shilkloper Interview

Interviewed by Kristina Mascher

arkady portrait1) Arkady, you are widely known for your creative improvisations, your use of technology in live performance, and for your heartfelt jazz compositions. Can you tell us how you first fell in love with jazz?

In teenage years I was interested in hard rock: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Grand Funk Railroad…A little later - progressive rock: YES, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson…Later - jazz rock: Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Tower of Power...even later - fusion/jazz/soul: Weather Report, Return to Forever, Brecker Brothers, Mahavishnu Orchestra...

 Step by step I learned new musical styles, new techniques, harmony, rhythmical and metrical structure, improvisation and “comprovisation!”

2) Would you say that your jazz compositions come more from the head, the heart, or a combination of both?

Differently! It depends on my mood, general condition, which instrument (new instrument inspires new ideas!!!) Listening to masterpieces (classic music, jazz, folk, rock, fusion and etc.)...

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First Steps—And More—As a Jazz Improviser: With or WITHOUT Technology Help

by Tom Varner

varnerHello to all IHS friends. As some of you know, I’ve been working at learning and growing as a jazz improviser on our noble instrument for about 40 years now, ever since I heard Julius Watkins solo with Thelonious Monk and realized that “it can be done.”

I am going to gather some thoughts in this piece that might differ in emphasis from what I might have thought was most important, say, 25 or 30 years ago. (Haha, in other words, now that I am an “old guy!”)

For today, I will put some serious emphasis on what I feel is most important, and what has at times been skimmed over or at least not talked about as much as other elements in a jazz improviser’s skill set—and that is having a solid TIME FEEL. That means the ability to “internalize” the time feel, and to play with rhythmic authority (no matter what the style), and with a rhythmic authority that “locks in” with the drummer or with the bassist or with the general ensemble, no matter what the instrumentation. That “locking in” then allows the player the freedom to push a little bit, pull back a little bit (or a lot), or play right in the “middle of the beat” in order to create an individual rhythmic approach that the player chooses. (Not the conductor!) But this wonderful expression tool can only happen if the overall time feel is solid and “internalized.” For experienced jazz improvisers, this kind of “goes without saying, or is at a kindergarten level” and is a very important part of musical expression (if not the MOST important part), but for classical players, smoothness of the tone, the line, and evenness of the rhythmic pattern being expressed is often the number one priority. What we need to be able to do as good jazz players often is very different from what we need to do as good classical players, mainly in the area of rhythmic attack and providing a steady stream of constant variety in articulation. A series of steady eighth notes in Beethoven, for example should (usually) be smooth and uniform. But a series of eight notes in a “straight-ahead swing” jazz solo might have a huge variety of attacks and articulations to be effective. But again, that jazz solo (even if it is just one repeated pitch!) will only be effective if it is also solid with the overall time feel or “groove.”

So—to begin, we now need an important very advanced technological device …………….. ………….a metronome. We can talk about other technology devices later, but for me, a metronome, pencil and paper, your instrument—well, that is it.

Are you ready for some absolutely beginner (or advanced, depending on how you see it) jazz improvising basic exercises? Here goes.

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