As I write this, it’s just after the yearly Solo and Ensemble festival for my students, and so, of course, I just stumbled across an excellent resource for next year!
The Kumamoto Horn Ensemble (KHE)
The Kumamoto Horn Ensemble has been an active horn ensemble for almost 20 years, and their website is an outstanding resource for anyone interested in horn ensemble music.
Not only do they have a listing of their past teachers and the current members (with horn model and mouthpiece listed!), but they also have their entire collection of programs available online, going back to their very first concert in 2001!
KHE Horn Ensemble Program Archive
These programs are a great resource if you’re starting a horn ensemble and looking for repertoire ideas or even if you want an idea of how to go about programming intelligently.
Some interesting points to notice in these programs:
- All the concert programs I looked through have at least one piece for horn solo (with or without piano). This is a great way to give people some rest and divide up the load equally among players.
- The concerts also featured a nice mixture of smaller horn ensemble pieces (2-4 players) and large ensemble pieces (6 or more players). While the site doesn’t list who plays which pieces, this is a savvy way to give each player enough rest throughout the concert without a long intermission.
- Some concerts feature guest artists on different instruments. Since a program of all horn music can be a bit monotonous after a while, having different instrument colors can keep listeners from getting too bored.
Additionally, you can find a listing of all of their repertoire on their site. They have a library of over 1,000 pieces, including horn solos, horn ensembles, brass and woodwind quintets, and some selections for mixed ensembles.
KHE Horn Ensemble Arrangements
The Kumamoto Horn Ensemble has also been on the forefront of generating new arrangements.
They have done over 100 different arrangements, including complete symphonies (Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and others), Strauss tone poems (Don Juan and Ein Heldenleiben), horn solos (Adagio and Allegro, Villanelle, Strauss 1, etc.), and lots more.
Even better, many of these arrangements are available for free! Others are available for purchase from Corniworld Publications.
KHE Horn Ensemble Videos
The KHE also has a Youtube channel with about 350 recordings where you can hear these arrangements. Unfortunately, it seems like most of these recordings are MIDI playback from something like Finale, and so they don’t sound great. But you can get an idea of what they sound like, and many of them appear quite faithful to their source material.
If you’re looking for some new ideas for horn ensemble repertoire, or just want to see what’s out there for 4+ horns, check out their website and support them by buying some of their music!