I have visited Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) countless times and each project in its own way has been more complicated than the previous. On my most recent visit with Belgian Cornet virtuoso Harmen Vanhoorne you all rose to the challenge once again! The professional attitude of all of the students is second to none and reflects very positively on the music school’s dedicated teachers. Any worthy institution is always more than just a few energised individuals – MTSU’s strength is its strong sense of community and mutual support juxtaposed with excellent teaching. The school’s ethos is embodied in the way that Mike Arndt went beyond the call of duty, giving generously of his personal time to be with us and make both and Harmen myself feel at home – the brass students are most fortunate to have him as a mentor and a member of the instrumental teaching staff! It is for this reason I am very proud to be `Visiting Composer to Middle Tennessee State University Bands’.

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the honours band week too, and once again witnessing how the school carefully provides a healthy diet of quality music-making to the young players who attend the course – I am sure these experiences will remain with them forever.

As for you Reed Thomas (Director of Bands), words are not enough! The work you did with the ensemble when recording my Cornet/Trumpet Concerto`Mysteries of the Horizon’ was magnificent and your musicianship shone through – your professionalism is a constant example to those of us that work with you. What I most admire about your conducting is how you always take the performance to a whole different level compared with the rehearsal, and yet are so self-effacing. I am glad the students found working alongside Harmen beneficial and witnessing his unique and special approach to music-making. Harmen and I are thrilled with the final result of the recording session – this will be the definitive recording of my concerto and symphony for a very long time into the future. What better launch can these two pieces have? Beyond the performances that you have given, I will retain wonderful memories of working with you all.

The recording of that we did of `Mysteries of the Horizon’ will be released in July of this year on Toccata Classics and will be paired with my ‘A Richer Dust’ Symphony No. 1 for Speaker and Wind Orchestra with words by Malene Sheppard Skævard. The piece was written for Reed Thomas and MTSU.

A short extract from the recording session of  my Cornet/Trumpet Concerto`Mysteries of the Horizon’ performed by Harmen Vanhoorne and the MTSU Wind Ensemble conducted by Reed Thomas (07/02/17).





















A few days after the recording session the MTSU Wind Ensemble under the baton of Reed Thomas gave a sensational performance of `Mysteries ….’ with Harmen yet again proving he is a world beater!! I have to add to this I will never reveal what Harmen said to me that made be laugh out so loud!!!











A short extract from the recording session of ‘A Richer Dust’ Symphony No. 1 for Speaker and Wind Orchestra performed by the MTSU Wind Ensemble conducted by Reed Thomas with H. Stephen Smith as narrator.