To many readers it probably seems as if Horn Matters has always been there. A university horn student of today has not known a world without Horn Matters, which was launched in September of 2009.
But actually, Bruce Hembd and I both had predecessor projects that would be known to an older generation of horn players, and in particular in August, 1998, I unleashed on the world my original horn website. Put up as just a part of my new horn studio website as a new Assistant Professor at the Crane School of Music, and originally titled simply “Articles Online,” the name soon was changed to Horn Articles Online (thanks to a suggestion from Bruce, who at that time was running the IHS website). Check it out the site as it looks today here:
The site became a horn destination in the small Internet universe of the time and has been online ever since. 20 years of HTML! Kind of like air, it is just there, a constant in the horn world, a positive site with solid information still getting found via search engines. When the site hit ten years online in 2008 I posted an article in celebration of the event, with some deeper background info on the site for any readers interested:
In any case the site was part of the beginning of a massive shift in how horn players found information, on the cutting edge of changes that have impacted the horn world forever!
At its heart Horn Articles Online is a horn history site (drawing heavily on my dissertation), with useful studio materials on performance, and then yet more on other “middle brass” instruments for fun. It has been steadily updated year by year, hopefully keeping the content fresh in spite of being an older site. For some years it was made to appear as a stand-alone site, but the actual URL has always been a part of my horn studio website, where it still resides. It presently has over 3,600 followers on Facebook as well, not too shabby.
The look and organization of the site is similar today to when it began. The only other horn website that comes to mind that is still online and more than 20 years old (dating to 1996) in more-or-less the original format is the website of Thomas Bacon, Hornplanet.com. Adding though that the Hornplayer.net site also dates to 1996 and is still online in part (in an updated format) within the IHS website. And, updated in many ways over the years, the IHS website itself is also over 20 years old. It was created by Bruce Hembd and was launched on September 1, 1996.
I had wondered if the IHS or some podcast or something might cover this significant occasion, 20 years online! And though not specifically given in relation to 20 years of Horn Articles Online, I was surprised and much honored this past week to receive an award! I am a 2018 recipient of the Punto** Award. From the IHS site,
Individuals selected for the Punto Award shall have made a major contribution at the regional or national level to the art of horn playing. This contribution can be in any of a variety of areas, such as performance, teaching, research, or service to the IHS.
The other winners for 2018 were Randy Gardner and Richard Seraphinoff; it is an especially great honor to receive this award with two individuals that I respect as much as them.
To close, I don’t think that a site like Horn Articles Online will ever be built again. It was very unique 20 years ago, and the market has moved on as the technology has shifted. Studio websites are a rarity now, blogging is dying. What is next who knows, but it is not large HTML websites.
Check the site while you can! I expect to keep it up for a while still, I hope to be teaching at ASU for another ten years or so, but eventually change will come, and realistically Horn Articles Online is not likely to still be online in after I retire. Remember, things come and go in the Internet world, if there is any site out there you enjoy, enjoy it while you can.
UPDATE: For more details about the history of this site see this interview in the IHS E-Newsletter for August of 2018.
**The award is named in honor of the great horn soloist Giovanni Punto (1746-1803). It is the second highest award given presently by the IHS, the highest being Honorary Membership.