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Golden Hornet

Austin, TX            

Drawing on the collaborative spirit of rock bands and the composer-led nature of classical music, Golden Hornet commissions new music, fosters young and emerging composers, and presents adventurous works in non-traditional settings. We are a composer laboratory for the 21st century.

Under the artistic direction of composer-bandleader Graham Reynolds, each year we present our always-sold-out String Quartet Smackdown, our student-led Young Composer Concert, and our SXSW Official ATX Composers Showcase. We also take on a large scale commissioning endeavor annually, focused on high-caliber, genre-bending new music and the production of a corresponding album; examples include The Sound of Science featuring Jeffrey Zeigler and Marfa: A Country & Western Big Band Suite is another. The former was named an “album you need to hear now” by NPR Music and continues to tour internationally. The latter landed as #21 in the NACC’s Non-Commercial Charts nationally, and connected players and audience members from disparate communities.

Next up is our cross-border collaboration MXTX, Co-Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America program. The endeavor will result in an open-source audio sample library, an album, and live performances, involving over forty artists in total. 

Learn more on our website!

String Quartet Smackdown

A video recapping the String Quartet Smackdown event, with highlights from String Quartet Smackdown V in 2019!

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Graham Reynolds: The Difference Engine

Presented by Golden Hornet, “The Difference Engine” premiered in early 2010 with a 35-piece string orchestra at Ballet Austin’s Austin Ventures Studio Theater. Soloists Leah Zeger on violin, Jonathan Dexter on cello, and the composer himself – Graham Reynolds – on piano fronted the debut, with parts written specifically for their skill set and personal voices. Those voices were then captured for this CD. Not fully realized in his lifetime, the difference engine was the masterwork of 19th century inventor and mathematician Charles Babbage.

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Glenn Kotche’s “Rex Tremendae” in “Mozart Requiem Undead”

Presented by Golden Hornet, “Mozart Requiem Undead” premiered as the opening act of Fusebox Festival 2014, featuring members of the Texas Choral Consort with conductor Brent Baldwin, soloists from the Convergence vocal ensemble, and an orchestra with guitars, piano, and a drum kit. This video features the composition “Rex Temendae” by Glenn Kotche (of Wilco). Other composers included Caroline Shaw, DJ Spooky, Kate Moore, Todd Reynolds, Adrian Quesada, Justin Sherburn, Peter Stopschinski, and Graham Reynolds.

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