Am I a Composer?

Last Summer, I spent a lot of time fixing and preparing several arrangements that I had completed for horn ensemble. This project was a very rewarding experience, especially considering that all of these arrangements were published by Cimarron Music last September.


Even if I never have another work published, this is an achievement that was on my “career” bucket list. I’ve always wanted to write music and have it published, so I was really excited when this happened. I was especially excited, because my arrangement of Danny Boy contained a bunch of original material. Even though I did study arranging and composition with a professor at West Virginia University, you could say that this piece, Irish Tune for horn sextet, was my first serious attempt at composing music. I composed an introduction section, wrote all of the counter melodies and harmonic material, and a really cool bit of transitional material near the end. I had a lot of fun with it, and I enjoyed the process so much that I wanted to try writing more music.

I’ve written the first couple of sections of a piece for horn and piano, I’m working on another piece for horn ensemble, as well as a long list of other projects that I have planned. Oddly enough, the first completely original piece that I finished back in January was a work for brass octet. It doesn’t really have a great name yet, Fanfares for Brass, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’ve found that I focus a great deal on rhythmic interplay in my writing, and the brass piece is no exception. Each section kind of features its own rhythmic ostinato. Being that I’m a horn player, the horn parts are well-written, but I also try to spread the wealth. I attempt to make a conscious effort to give each instrument group the melody, or at least some exciting stuff to play. I intended to have the brass choir at Augusta University perform it, but that didn’t work out. However, there will be an opportunity to have it performed at a concert in September of this year, so I’m really going to push for that.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep writing. I’m not great at it yet, but I have a lot of ideas, and I don’t think my music is that horrible. Besides, I really feel like I’ve found another passion, because I really enjoy writing music, and I get really excited even just thinking about it.

As a side note, I had the opportunity to take my horn choir to the Southeast Horn Workshop at UGA this past February, and we were able to perform my piece, Irish Tune. We performed on the balcony of the big hall next to the music building, so the recording isn’t great, but it’s something. The video is below in case anyone is interested in listening. Sorry that it’s lopsided…this was my first time editing something in iMovies.


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