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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, our our always-sold-out String Quartet Smackdown, our student-led Young Composer Concert, and our SXSW Official ATX Composers Showcase. Each year, we also take on a large scale commissioning endeavor, focused on high-caliber, genre-bending new music.  The Sound of Science featuring Jeffrey Zeigler is one result, and is currently touring. 

Learn more on our website!

String Quartet Smackdown

Our String Quartet Smackdown is a bracketed, NCAA-basketball tournament style competition which brings original string quartet compositions head-to-head in front of a live, participatory audience. In this video, Friction Quartet performs “Hardcortet” by Jonah Rapino, the winner of our 2nd Annual Smackdown in 2016. Coming up on its fourth year and slated for yet another highly successful and sold-out performance, our 2018 rendition will take place on February 10, and Invoke will perform and record all sixteen finalists’ pieces.

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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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