Suitable for advanced hornists.   Duration, 19 minutes.   See Documents.  See Performances.  See Video.  See Audio Samples.  See Publisher.  

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About "Portraits of the American West" - for Twelve Horns and Percussion

Portraits of the American West was commissioned by Greg Hustis and dedicated to Mason Jones.  This piece for twelve horns and two percussionists was meant to capture scenes from the early American west.  

The first movement, Santa Fe Trail, pictures a wagon train about to embark on a westward journey over the Santa Fe Trail in 1825.  This trail was very popular at the time for pioneers, but extremely dangerous.  The opening chorale is meant to reflect the wonder of the journey as well as a little trepidation for the risks involved.  The main Allegro theme is fanfare-like in nature representing the courage and excitement of the men and women who made this trip.  The Moderato section combines the chorale theme with this main Allegro theme in a slower tempo reflecting the solitude of the landscape on this long journey. The main Allegro theme returns and the music accelerates over time as the wagon train nears its final destination.  This movement concludes with a return of the opening chorale theme, now stated as a fanfare of celebration for a successful journey.

The second movement, Prairie Sunrise, paints a musical portrait of a sunrise over the prairie during similar travels of Americans settling the west.  Such a sunrise on a pretty day must have been particularly beautiful over a virgin landscape.

The third movement, Colorado Vistas, portrays a similar picture of Colorado.  The opening fanfare is a tribute to the grand, majestic image of the Rocky mountains.  The Allegro that follows is a tribute to the American cowboy and the adventures that they had while herding cattle in 1876.

   Performance Duration 19 minutes

1st Movement - 8
2nd Movement - 7 1/2
3rd Movement - 3 1/2


Program notes for  "Portraits of the American West"         



The hornists from the Dallas and Houston Symphonies, led by Gregory Hustis and William VerMeulen respectively, recorded this work with Crystal Records.  The CD can be purchased from Crystal Records at by ordering CD774.

A combined ensemble of teachers and students from DePauw University and Indiana University played this work at a recital featuring Rob Danforth, Jeff Nelsen, and Julie Beckel on October 2, 2008 at 7:30 on the DePauw campus in Greencastle, IN.

The Eastman Horn Choir, coached by Peter Kurau, performed "Portraits of the American West" on March 22, 2009.

The CCM horn choir, Esprit de Cor, performed the third movement on November 23, 2009.


Link to Randy Gardner conducting the Esprit de Cor, horn choir at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in a performance of the third movement.


"Portraits of the American West" may be purchased from the composer by contacting him from the contact page on this website.


Audio Samples

The following audio samples are from the above mentioned CD recorded by Crystal Records and are used with permission from Greg Hustis and Crystal Records.

Click the arrow to start listening or click on a specific track.  Use the left and right arrows to navigate through the tracks.

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