The Eastman Horn Choir was founded in 1968 by Verne Reynolds, Professor Emeritus of Horn at the Eastman School of Music, who served as its director until his retirement in 1995. From its inception, the Choir’s mission has been threefold: to provide an expanded ensemble experience for the horn students; to acquaint them (through transcriptions) of the breadth of quality repertoire (with a particular emphasis on the glorious vocal music of the German and Italian Renaissance) within our musical culture; and to encourage contemporary composers to create original works for multiple horns. In addition to compositions and commissions by such notable composers as Samuel Adler, Jeff Tyzik, John Cheetham, David Diamond, James Willey, Daniel Baldwin, Pamela Marshall, and Jennifer Bellor, the Choir’s repertoire in recent years has expanded to include transcriptions from the classical, romantic, and modern eras. Many of these transcriptions are the product of the creativity and entrepreneurship of current members and alumni of the horn studio.
The Choir has been featured on the “Eastman at Washington Square,” “Music at St. Andrew’s,” and “Music at St. John” series, on the annual Brass Cavalcade during Meliora Weekend, and on a biennial tribute to St. Hubert (patron saint of the hunt, from which the horn derives much of its repertoire) in a formal concert in the Eastman Theatre. In addition, the Choir is honored to be featured in an a annual holiday concert on “Live from Hochstein” (broadcast live on WXXI-FM 91.5, a National Public Radio affiliate.)
In 2002, the Choir was a featured ensemble (the only collegiate choir in the world so honored) at the 34th International Horn Symposium held in Lahti, Finland, where it presented three performances to critical and popular acclaim. As a result of its successes there, the Choir was invited to present three performances at the 36th International Horn Symposium, held in July 2004 in Valencia, Spain.
The 25 students within the Choir are enrolled as applied horn students at the Eastman School, and are pursuing collectively 5 various degrees and majors, and range from undergraduate students to doctoral students. Geographically diverse, they represent 14 different states, and 4 countries at present (2023).