The inventory and development of new performance tools in the horn repertoire of the XXth and XXIst centuries

Gabriel Trottier

Universiy of Montreal, Canada


During the last 20 years, challenging music have been written using new sounds and professional horn players around the globe have been working to push the boundaries of orchestration for their instrument further creating new sounds and going beyond what have been documented yet in the last published extended techniques treatises for the horn. The goals are classifying these new practices by making a detailed inventory of endogenous techniques (directly related to the horn mechanics and history) and exogeneous techniques (related to techniques from other instruments or art forms), identifying the main performance tools in the contemporary music for horn and understanding emerging esthetical approaches. The research methods used came from practical experience performing more than 150 contemporary music works (including interdisciplinary works and mixed electronics repertoire), collaborative work with composers trying to find new sounds, interviews with horn players from leading ensembles and analysis of contemporary solo horn works. This research is important to guide composers developing experimental works for the horn and other brass instruments, give more traditionally trained horn players tools to tackle the contemporary repertoire and give higher education institutions ideas to develop programs that considers modern art. Finally, there has been recent research in acoustics and psychoacoustics that could benefit from understanding some of the techniques presented.


Gabriel Trottier performs the repertoire from the baroque period to the music our time on modern and historical horns. Moreover, he teaches, organizes concerts and develops interdisciplinary projects that incorporate other art forms. His work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (CALQ). He has worked with ensembles such as the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montréal), Oslo Sinfonietta and the woodwind quintet Le Concert Impromptu (Paris). Graduating from the Norwegian Academy of Music (M. Mus 2016) Gabriel’s studied with Frøydis Ree Wekre and Julius Pranevicius, Saar Berger and Louis-Philippe Marsolais. Specializing in contemporary music performance, he is finishing a doctorate at the University of Montreal and is an alumnus of the International Ensemble Modern Academy (M. Mus 2018) and the Lucerne Festival Academy as well as a board member of Codes d’Accès supporting emerging avant-garde emerging musicians in Quebec.