The fabulous 50th international horn symposium took place last week in Muncie, Indiana, thanks to the host, Gene Berger, professor of horn at Ball State University.
It was a wonderful week of all things horn! Events began at 8:00 AM and lasted all day, including "night horn choirs" that started at 10:00 PM, for those with energy left after full days of recitals, lectures, master classes, perusing sheet music for horn, and trying out dozens of horns on exhibit.
Professional players, professors, students, horn makers, and enthusiasts from around the world came. Somewhere along the way it was pointed out that "saying yes to something means saying no to other things." This point was made many times over at the conference, as quite often there were multiple events happening concurrently.
Some of my favorite lectures included discussions about the horn as a jazz instrument, the evolution of horn pedagogy in the last 50 years, and Froydis Ree Wekre's discussion, "On being your own teacher." This very well-attended talk (all seats were taken and about 100 horn players sat or stood in the aisles) primarily addressed the mental and psychological challenges we all face in the practice room. I highly recommend her book to anyone serious about horn playing: Thoughts on Playing the Horn Well.
I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. It was also such a treat to hear the many new works for horn-- there were many exciting world premieres as well as some lost gems that were rediscovered and performed at the conference. I look forward to adding several of these great pieces to my own repertoire in the next year or so.