Golden Hornet’s Young Composer Concert

Our roots at Golden Hornet are split between
classical and rock. (Graham Reynolds)
We try to form a bridge between the two
and learn from both. (Female Speaker)
It’s done so in kind of uniquely Austin
character – infusing that rock band collaborative style in with the sophistication and complexity of
classical music. (Graham Reynolds)
Every year we put out a call to band
directors and schools, and we ask if there are any students that they think would be interested in
composing a piece and producing a concert with us, and they’ve been from
9 years old to 18 years old, and they participate in every aspect of the
So when I first started Golden Hornet,
I was very enthusiastic, but I was also a little bit nervous and a little bit
scared because I felt like I didn’t have as much experience as some of the other
kids that were there. But they were all very enthusiastic about helping me out. (Male Student)
Like that line is going through the whole piece, [SINGING] it felt like it was on the downbeat. (Female Student)
It should sound like it’s on the upbeat if
you put it on the beat. [PLAYING THE DRUM KIT] (Graham Reynolds)
The whole idea with this is to work together and to learn to work together as a team,
and you see it in the students being encouraging to each other and listening
to each other’s pieces – commenting, giving feedback but always in this positive way working towards something together. (Graham Reynolds) Each meeting is split into art talk and production talk. (Female Student) Yeah I just need the headshot and the bios, 100 words, and I had
a question actually about third person/first person. [ENSEMBLE PLAYING] (Graham Reynolds) They produce, put together, help envision this whole concert on
top of writing music. [ENSEMBLE CONTINUES TO PLAY] (Fiona Gehrke) It was truly amazing because
I’ve never really been around other young composers who
love composing like I do. [ENSEMBLE MUSIC CONTINUES] (Fiona)
I remember when the ensemble first played my piece it was at a rehearsal and I was like “is this really my piece it sounds so much … amazing.” [CLAPPING] There’s just one little thing. The tempo should be just a little bit faster. [CELLO, PIANO, & VIBRAPHONE PLAYING] (Male Speaker)
Working with an ensemble who’s
trying to play your piece is definitely a skill that
you have to develop. You just have to be confident in your own assertions. Like people are gonna ask you “did you mean it like this” “do you did you really want
it to sound like this” and you can’t just be like
“I don’t know, maybe.” You have to know
what you want in that sense. (Female Speaker)
They’re getting this opportunity to like
really learn about how it is to work with people, how it is to work in a
really professional environment, and to really take a piece, write it, and produce the whole thing and like learn about the show. (Male Student)
The section where the drum …
you just have like bass … that part, that’s supposed to be
like a lot more intense. (Cassie Shankman)
That can be really tough to get your ideas you know to get them heard and played
exactly like you’re hearing them in your head you know and how do you do that and I think yeah each one of them did such an incredible job. [BACKGROUND ENSEMBLE
The atmosphere at the concert – it was very laid-back and casual and that’s something that I really
like about Golden Hornet. So even though I had nerves
going into the concert, they weren’t very prominent
once it actually started. (Sel)
I wasn’t entirely sure that my
piece – like the ideas that I had behind
it would actually work. But they did, and
they worked really well. The way that the violinist played
that really surprised me, and it was really validating
for me I guess to know that the way
that I wrote it really communicated the idea that
I had behind it. (Male Interviewer)
This is something you were doing as a side project to a book that
you’re also writing? (Sel)
Right. [LAUGHTER] (Male Interviewer) Cool. (Sel)
The process really impacted me
to be more confident in the music that I’m writing. (Fiona) I was completely awestruck
by the entire thing. I think the reality finally hit me
when it was actually being played – my piece – with
this wonderful professional ensemble. It was amazing. I thought like
my mind was going to explode! I do like it when people are watching
my piece, and they react. I do kind of like making people
jump a little bit. [DRAMATIC MUSIC] [DRAMATIC MUSIC] (Male Speaker)
We approached this project as if we approached, you know, working
with a professional composer. Their pieces were very well thought-out.
You know I came into this project not really knowing what to expect
and was blown away by how high of a level like these pieces were. (Matt)
It was very – just you know – just even seeing them like their eyes light up
and their kind of smiling as they’re listening to their own piece. [BRIGHT MUSIC] (Kate)
We want to provide this place for
these young composers to develop to a point where they feel confident in everything that they’re presenting
and what they’re creating. This is a particularly moving concept
for that reason because you don’t walk away thinking “oh it was great that I heard those kids’ pieces” you walk away thinking “that was a fantastic
concert, and I can’t believe that it was written by a 9 year old
or a 12 year old.” (Speaker) At first, I didn’t really know many
people that also composed. I really only had one other
point of view you know it’s just my piano teacher and
having other people that have different songs really helped, and it was also just nice
just getting to know them like other composers around Austin. Like to
know like I’m not the only one. [CHAMBER MUSIC] (Graham Reynolds)
When I look back in how I became
a composer, it’s because I had opportunities given to me by
generous adult musicians. This is me trying to
provide opportunities for kids to do things that
students don’t usually get. We’re trying to help them tie
essentially this culture of Austin – we’re in a city full of bands I think these
young composers can see how that works and can experience that and get a feel
for that culture. At the same time, they’re composing in a way the
bands don’t usually do. (Graham Reynolds)
This band town is now a place where all sorts of new music ensembles of work, but all of them are informed
by the lessons of band culture and now they’re part of both. [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE] (Graham Reynolds)
We’re Golden Hornet, and thank you
so much for being here.

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