The Most Popular Horn Quartet Composer

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This was originally posted as part of a report on the 2011 Mid-South Horn Workshop, hosted by Dr. Paul Stevens at the University of Kansas.

My first official activity was as a judge of the collegiate horn quartet competition, along with Michelle Stebleton and Elliott Higgins. There were four groups all of whom sounded very strong (from Baylor, Oklahoma State [the winners!], UMKC, and the University of Missouri Columbia). The rules read,

Each quartet should prepare no more than 12 minutes of music. Groups will be stopped after twelve minutes, and each audition slot is to take up no more than 15 minutes. Changing music and setup between selections is included in your performance time. Each quartet should, within this time slot, perform two works or movements of contrasting style. Only one of those pieces/movements may be an existing transcription, while the other must be a work originally composed for horn quartet. The group may instead perform two contrasting movements or works composed for horn quartet (i.e., not transcriptions).

In short the groups could choose their own music, there was no required rep. So what composer was chosen most often? Kerry Turner. Every group played Kerry Turner as part of their program! Also it was very interesting that every group set up in the same style popularized by the American Horn Quartet, facing forward as below:

4 – 3
…2 – 1

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For sure performances and recordings and these engaging works of Kerry Turner are a part of their success and what gets quartets motivated! As and “older timer” I have heard the American Horn Quartet for years but for sure there are readers out there for whom Turner and the AHQ are unfamiliar  If you are not familiar with the AHQ, be sure to visit their website now!

There were presentations, a solo competition, and recitals in the afternoon that I missed but I did not miss the evening concert.

The pre-concert performing group was the horn octet from Oklahoma State University conducted by Lanette Lopez-Compton. They sounded great and played several works including, you guessed it, one by Kerry Turner.

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