Kerry Turner

Hornist, Composer, Performer


Kerry Turner, a native of San Antonio, Texas, has been writing music since he was ten years old. At the age of 11, he won the San Antonio Music Society Composition Competition and six years later was awarded Baylor University’s first prize at its composition contest with a large scholarship to that institution. Composition however was not Kerry’s passion at this time. He was also an accomplished horn player and chose to concentrate his studies there instead. He transferred to the Manhattan School of Music in New York in 1980 where he began his intensive horn studies. After completing graduation, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study with the world-renowned horn soloist, Hermann Baumann, who was teaching at the Stuttgart College of Performing Arts in Germany.

Compositional Carreer

In 1985, Kerry Turner joined the American Horn Quartet. It was then that he decided to again put pen to paper and compose for this ensemble. The horn quartet repertoire at that time was limited and unchallenging for modern players. With this in mind, Kerry composed his Quartet Nr. 1, which subsequently won first prize in the International Horn Society’s composition contest. Other big hits for horn quartet followed, such as the thrilling tone-poem, The Casbah of Tetouan, his second quartet subtitled “Americana” and then the Quartet Nr. 3, which once again was awarded a prize in the International Horn Society composition contest in 1996.

Mr. Turner began by this time to receive commissions to compose for the horn in different chamber ensemble combinations. His dramatic Six Lives of Jack McBride (horn, violin, piano and tenor) was a commission by Mr. Charles Putnam and the IHS Meir Rimon Foundation. Following that, the Freden International Music Festival in Germany commissioned him to compose a brass quintet (Ricochet), which has since become one of Mr. Turner’s most successful works. He has also been commissioned by the U.S. Air Force “Heritage of America” band (Postcards from Lucca), the Alexander Horn Ensemble Japan (Ghosts of Dublin), the Brass Ensemble of the Symphony Orchestra of Lyon (The Heros), and many more established ensembles.

Kerry Turner as Lecturer

Mr. Turner has been a guest lecturer in composition at several notable institutions of music, such as the Royal Academy of Oslo, the Academy of Fine Arts in Hong Kong, the Nero House of Music in Osaka, Japan, West Virginia State University and the Winterthur Hochschule für Musik in Switzerland. His works have been heard in major concert halls and colleges of music around the globe and have been recorded extensively not only by the American Horn Quartet, but by reputable soloists and chamber musicians worldwide. The music of Kerry Turner, which contains elements of folk music from the British Isles, an inherent Mexican influence combined with his own western American style, and the exotic sounds of North Africa and the Arab world, has been performed and recorded by chamber ensembles from the New York Philharmonic, The Berlin Philharmonic the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, among many others.

“When the muse comes, it flows like a deep, dark river. Nothing can stop it; not pseudo-intellectualism, or practicality, or technology, or pressure to conform to a certain style, nor the obligation to always find something “new.”

(Kerry Turner)

“My goal is to paint a musical picture, thought, impression as clearly as possible and then communicate it to the listener and the performer, that it might appear in their minds as vividly as if it were on a large movie screen.”

(Kerry Turner)

Kerry Turner

‘He writes fiendish stuff… inventive, approachable, and entertaining.’

The American Record Guide (Kilpatrick)

‘Fabulously imaginative and brilliant…continuing to establish Kerry Turner as one of the finest young composers for horn today.’

The International Horn Society Horn Call  (William Scharnberg)

‘Picturesque music that shows admirable compositional ability! For that, many thanks!’

Alfeder Zeitung  (Germany)