Gail Williams Q and A at Western Illinois University

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Interview of the Month: Gail Williams talks to Jena Gardner at Western Illinois University

Special thanks to Jena Gardner, not only for her thoughtful questions and flowing moderation, but also for making this video available to the IHS!

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Welcome, New IHS Area Reps

Last month, the IHS put out a call for new Area Representative applications, and you answered enthusiastically! The selection committee has made the following appointments:

Country representatives:

Denmark: Frederik Rostrup
Germany: Christoph Ess
Honduras: David Abraham Andino Fuentes
Israel: Aviram Freiberg
United States of America: Jennifer Sholtis

US state representatives:

Hawaii: Marie Lickwar
Maine: Margie Landis
Massachusetts and New Hampshire: Angela DiBartolomeo
Montana: Zachary Cooper
Utah: Daniel Omer
Washington: Mike Simpson

Please join us in welcoming these dedicated individuals to our team! Also, have a look under the “people” section of www.hornsociety.org to find out who your representative is. They want to hear about your horn events, news, ideas, and other feedback, and they can also share that information with you to connect you to other horn enthusiasts in your area.

Digital Auditions Tips & Tricks

 by Julia Burtscher


“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”

julia burtscher 190This quote is attributed to Will Rogers and Oscar Wilde, has been used in numerous ad campaigns and can be applied to just about any aspect of life, from handshakes to first dates to auditions and everything in between. In the late 1990’s I worked as an administrative assistant at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Part of my job was to organize the auditions we held, from receiving resumes to checking people in and shepherding them into warmup rooms and working with the personnel manager to make sure everything ran smoothly. My biggest takeaway from working these auditions was that you have six minutes or less to prove to the committee that you were worth hearing again in the next round. Six minutes.  But what about recorded auditions? Certainly, they save time and money in travel, but an investment needs to be made to ensure you have the best recording possible. 

After asking trusted resources and scouring the internet for actionable, tangible guidelines, I’ve compiled a list of elements to consider when preparing to record an audition for submission:

  1. Follow the rules! Each entity you are auditioning for may have different requirements. Make sure you read and understand the rules. If you don’t your audition can be rejected without anyone listening to it! Here are some examples of specific requirements:
    • “Recordings must be recent: made no more than three months prior to application” (Aspen Music Festival)
    • Each excerpt or work must be played through without stopping (Aspen Music Festival)
    • Repertoire should be played in the order listed… any recordings submitted out of the proper order or with any other material than the listed repertoire will be disqualified (New York Philharmonic)
    • You may create your collection in any way you like, but each piece or excerpt must be edit-free, e.g., no editing to fix bad notes. (Brevard Music Center)

 

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Recording Horns - A Perspective from the Booth

by Marco Battistella


battistellaIn February 2019, I had the pleasure of recording Kerry Turner (horn), Kristina Mascher-Turner (horn), Frank Lloyd (horn) and Lauretta Bloomer (piano) for NAXOS at the “Tonstudio Edlmair & Lenz” here in Vienna, Austria. Turner recorded his anthology of horn literature and chose our studio because of the warm acoustics of recording studio A, which turned out to be ideal for the horn sound. Additionally, the YAMAHA CF III balanced very well with the horns. Prior to the recording sessions, Kerry visited me in Vienna. We discussed different requirements critical to a good reproduction of his repertoire. Properly recording horns is quite a challenge for sound engineers and producers as the perception of both player and audience is quite diverse. The sound should be neither too direct nor too diffuse and needs to be adjusted according to the preferences of the player. So, proper sound checks, even before recording the first note, are imperative. Added to sonic preferences, horn players need to record differently than, say, piano or violin players. A pianist only needs breaks to re-tune or rest. A horn player who stresses lips and surrounding muscles too much may not be able to intonate for hours or days. So, a typical horn recording session might not exceed 2 ½ hours with longer breaks in between. Instead of recording all the repertoire in 3-4 days, horn players need to plan additional time according to their personal endurance with an additional half a day (at least) of sound check in mind.

The challenge with the Turner recording lies in the very different horn sounds of the 3 players: The engineer must respect these characteristics and try to reproduce them as authentically as possible. This means that various types of microphones must be tested at various distances from the instruments. I personally prefer to use as few microphones as possible, simply because each microphone might add color and blur the natural perceived sonic stage depth and width. 

I try to achieve 90% of the end result (sonically speaking) before the recording and not during the mix afterwards. To me, this is a crucial ingredient towards an authentic reproduction.

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