Inaugural Horn Festival features critically acclaimed musician


At the brand new Texas State Performing Arts Center, horn player Adam Unsworth and pianist Ezra Bartz begin the Horn Festival with a recital Friday, January 19.
Photo by Alyssa Weinstein | Lifestyle Reporter

Alyssa Weinstein

Texas State hosted the inaugural Horn Festival Jan. 19-20 that featured critically-acclaimed musician, Adam Unsworth.

Unsworth is currently a professor of horn at the University of Michigan. He has performed in the Detroit Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra in his professional music career.

Unworth said he began playing the horn in elementary school and has dedicated his life to the instrument ever since.

“I was interested in the horn because of the sound and because it’s a unique-looking instrument,” Unsworth said. “As a kid, that was very attractive for me.”

Caroline Steiger, organizer of the Horn Festival and director of the Texas State horn ensemble, said the festival gathered French horn players from campus and the local area to bond over their appreciation of the French horn.

“Many music majors, faculty and some local students attended the recital and the Horn Festival,” Steiger said. “Another aspect of the Horn Festival is outreach and recruitment for the School of Music.”

Unsworth is a former student of Steiger, which is how he came to be invited to play at the festival.

“She’s doing something similar to what I do at Michigan,” Unsworth said. “We’re teaching people not only how to play the horn and to enjoy music, but we’re also cultivating a community of musicians.”

The first day of the festival began with Unsworth’s recital at the Performing Arts Center where he played songs by Alec Wilder, Luigi Cherubini, Evan Chambers and more.

On the second day of the festival, Unsworth and Steiger co-taught two classes at the Performing Arts Center that included both college and high school students. The jazz and classical classes brought together approximately 20 Texas State students with a mix of University of Texas and high school students from the local area.

The students performed their own recital, playing several songs they practiced earlier that day. The student presentation was followed by a performance from both Steiger and Unsworth.

“I hope the students can take what they’ve learned from my performance and get inspired musically,” Unsworth said.

For Maximilien Hein, sound recording technology sophomore, that was exactly what happened after he attended both days of the festival.

“After the Horn Festival, I came away with inspiration for future compositions (particularly for horn) and with a much greater exposure to horn in a jazz context,” Hein said.

Unsworth said he plans to continue teaching at the University of Michigan in the years to come while also finding creative outlets to record music and play recitals.

“It’s the kind of thing that is your calling and I can’t imagine not doing it,” Unsworth said. “You dedicate so much time towards (something), it becomes who you are. It becomes your identity and the love never goes away.”

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