Creative Horn


[See also: Jazz Horn]

Kickstarter - “A new way to fund & follow creativity.” “…a new form of commerce and patronage.” Kickstarter is a place to support creative projects of all kinds or to start a project and ask for support from others. A great idea for the arts in the 21st century!

Writing Cadenzas

Read advice from John Ericson and Bruce Hembd on the subject: Seven Tips for Cadenzas, Improvise your Cadenza, Want to Hear Some Mozart 3 Cadenzas?, Quantz on Cadenzas

Writing Your Own Cadenzas - pdf file of an article by Benjamin Whitcomb of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

How to Compose a Cadenza - eHow article

Writing your own cadenza - don't be scared, it's fun! - podcast (Episode 51) by Rachel Barton Pine. 16' 9"

The Cadenza Problem in Classical Concerto Movements - article by John Corina

It's not horn, but an amazing video of a paradigm-busting panoply of other ways to do a cadenza nowadays....

Composition/Improvisation on the Horn

Composition and Improvisation on the Horn - article by Evan Grulke

Composer's Tools - Interactive Idea List

Learn to Compose Music - "Information for learning to write songs and improving writing and improvising abilities."


Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians by Jeffrey Agrell, GIA Publications. New book on how to improvise without jazz. 354 p. Tons of stuff - explanatory material, 566 games arranged by category (Rhythm Games, Melody Games, Harmony Games, etc.), resources. No music notation, no previous improv experience necessary. 3 sections: 1. Explanatory material (how to…) 2. Games (and more games) 3. Resources (charts, information, bibliography, more).


Improv Games for One Player, by Jeffrey Agrell, a portable (55 p.) book of nonjazz improv games for one player for use in warm-ups and working on technique and musicianship. 50 p. (also published by GIA). Contains some games from the big book and some new previously unpublished improv games for 1 player.


Improv Duets for Classical Musicians by Jeffrey Agrell, a portable (48 p.) book of nonjazz improv duet games. Improvise with a partner! Published by GIA


Improvised Chamber Music by Jeffrey Agrell, a portable (55 p.) book of nonjazz improv games for four (or 3 or 5) players. GIA, again.

Creativity - Presentations

"Do Schools Kills Creativity?" - Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius

Creative Horn - Dissertations

"Compositional Trends in Solo Horn Works Composed by Horn Performers (1970-2005): A Survey and Catalog" 109 p.
Downloadable DMA thesis by Kim Rooney. Abstract: A survey of solo horn works composed in the late twentieth century exhibits the strong influence of horn performers on the instrument's expanding solo repertoire. Hornists such as Jeffrey Agrell, David Amram, Paul Basler, Randall Faust, Lowell Greer, Douglas Hill, Lowell Shaw, Jeffrey Snedeker, and many others have contributed worthwhile new works to the horn repertoire. These works take advantage of recent compositional trends in order to showcase the full spectrum of musical possibilities available to the modern hornist. The goal of this study is to draw attention to the large body of horn solo repertoire that has been composed by hornists from 1970 to 2005, to explore the technical challenges it poses, to consider common trends among the works of several hornist-composers, and to encourage performance of this repertoire.

Creative Hornists


Matt Shevrin is a highly creative hornist and composer who has been coming with original sounds and settings for the horn for decades.


Pip Eastop
British hornist Pip Eastop is one of the most brilliant and creative hornists anywhere, and this delight of a site is evidence of it.

Martin Mayes is a Scotsman who has and worked in Italy since 1982, where he has performed and recorded the horn in new ways, including with the Instablile Orchestra, the "best Italian Jazz Group of 1995."


Arkady Shilkloper
Arguably the most creative horn player, ever. If you ever get a chance to catch his solo act (loop & effects pedals, alphorn, fluegelhorn) or see him when he plays with the Moscow Art Trio or Pago Libre, take it! "Shilkloper and his bass player swing like nobody's business. He rips and riffs and goes places that horn players aren't supposed to go without a net, map, seat belt, crash helmet, overhead air support, and a note from their mothers. And he does so with extraordinary ease and musicality. I think maybe nobody ever told him "Jazz playing on horn is very difficult, and probably not natural or perhaps the phrase does not translate into Russian. I'd walk a camel a mile to hear this guy." -Jeffrey Agrell, The Horn Call, 1988