Mary Beth Orr - voice and horn

Mary Beth Orr is an elite orchestral musician, soloist, and chamber musician, most recently a first prize winner of the Sound Espressivo Competition 2022,Golden Classical International Music Awards 2021, American Protégé International Talent Competition 2021, and the Charleston International Solo Competition 2021, where she was also voted most outstanding performance. As also a first prize winner of the Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, she was invited to make her European premier at the Beethoven Haus in Bonn, Germany, August 2021. She will be premiering as a soloist at Carnegie Hall in May of 2022.

Her folk horn fusion show, "French Horn Folk Tales", premiered to a sold out house at Cook Recital Hall in Lansing in November 2017 and has continued grow. This program is unique in that it connects two very unlikely mediums, as well as audiences. Mary Beth sings traditional Appalachian melodies from her childhood to introduce the classical works in the program. So much of classical literature is inspired by, and derived from traditional folk melodies and are far more connected and complimentary to each other than many audiences assume. Both of these genres communicate and elevate the human spirit and her hope is to connect with audiences from as many varied backgrounds as possible, and connect them to each other.

More can be found at:

Concert Dates

  • March 2023 - MNN Studios

15 one-minute selections for Mary Beth Orr

  • Solo for French Horn

    Mitch Boucher

    This is a short solo for French horn. I admire the tone of the instrument but have never written for it, so I decided to come up with a little joyful piece which has some Baroque qualities.

    Born in 1994, Mitch Boucher has a passion for the Baroque era. He studied harpsichord and music composition at the University of Southern Maine while substituting as organist for several churches near his hometown. He currently serves in a Methodist church as organist and choir accompanist.

  • Oh, Lay Me Down On Leaves of Willow

    Erik Branch

    Initially, I planned to set some folk-inspired poetry for this intriguing project, but decided instead to assume the role of lyricist myself. The text is inspired by that of the traditional “Willow Song,” and its setting assumes a folklike style without referring to or quoting any preexisting tunes.

    ERIK BRANCH is a native of New York City, and received a BA and MA in Music (Composition) from Hunter College. He lives near Orlando, Florida, where he is active as a pianist, musical director, composer/arranger, operatic tenor, and actor on stage and screen.

  • Dream of an Epiphany

    Lydia Lowery Busler

    On an excerpt of Zora Neale Hurston. Born in 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. She portrayed racial struggles in the early-1900s American South and published research on hoodoo. The most popular of her four novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937.

    Lydia Lowery Busler is an ASCAP-Naxos Composer and a world-renowned improvisationalist. She now spends her time as a globally-certified Transformation Coach Deep-Grounding and Six-Phase Meditation Trainer. She's instituted a cooperative business model in which composers and creatives utilizing new music support one another collaboratively with minimal monetary inequity or waste.

  • Sophia’s Melody

    Sara Christie

    For my band final, my teacher has us compose pieces and perform them in class. My friend, Sophia, had created a small melody but didn’t know what to do with it. So, this was my attempt to help her. She didn’t use it, but I hope you can enjoy instead!

    Hello! My name is Sara Christie. I’m 16 years old. I’m going into my senior year of high school at Sachem East High School on Long Island, New York. I have been playing the French Horn since fourth grade. I’ve participated in performance groups such as SCMEA, NYSCAME, and All-State. on several CDs. Her research interest lies in modal-inspired compositional techniques.

  • Declamation

    Andrew Desiderio

    Declamation for solo horn is, by nature, declamatory. It is for solo horn.

    Composer Andrew Desiderio has written film scores, orchestral and instrumental works, songs, and music for the theatre. Major works include "Sisi Portraits", a song cycle based on texts by Empress Elisabeth of Austria (premiered March 2022); a Serenade for Strings and an extended set of variations for cello.

  • I Remember

    Thomas Haines

    I Remember is a reflection on childhood memories centered on the deep feelings of the good times gone bye. Half-memories begin the work followed by the exuberance of child-like joy. This piece is set in the memory of rural farmland where love of wandering rivulets and bluegrass music abound.

    Thomas Haines is an American composer of orchestra, chamber and contemporary music works. He was the Founding Director of the Film Scoring Program at the Aspen Music Festival & School and remains active as a film composer. Currently, he is composing for stage and various media platforms while continuing to work with young composers and singer-songwriters.

  • Season of Ice

    Brian Holmes

    Season of Ice sets a translation of a 9th century Irish text. It is a ritual announcing the onset of Winter. I wish that the horn could be heard first off- stage, with the singer approaching from a distance during the song. But that’s not very practical, is it?

    Brian Holmes usually writes for solo voice or chorus. His compositions include operas, several large pieces for chorus and orchestra, twelve song cycles, over 100 choral works, and various instrumental works. A retired physics professor, he studies the physics of music, plays horn, and has written over 75 Christmas carols.

  • The Coast of Kerry

    Michael Kosch

    Ravenous shallows devour squall-battered ships along the coast of County Kerry. Across this breaker-beaten shore, over jagged crags half-clad in lacy foam veils, a fitful gale ever wails and whines--or is it a woeful wraith, serenading a slumbering loved one, asleep beneath surf-shrouded gravestones?

    Composer Michael Kosch has written operas, orchestral pieces, chamber and solo works. He was born in Paterson, NJ, and studied music composition at the University of Miami and University of Illinois. His recent music draws inspiration from the paintings and sculptures of Italian Renaissance artists.

  • maltija

    Michael Laus

    'maltija' is a set of variations on the first phrase of a Maltese folk tune, in the genre of 'għana'. The phrase is modified on each repetition, passing from horn to voice and reaching a mini climax, after which the muted horn repeats the phrase in its simplest form.

    Michael Laus studied piano, harpsichord and composition at the Milan Conservatory and conducting with George Manahan and Vladimir Delman. He has been Resident Conductor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for 25 years and collaborated with Arvo Pärt among others. He is Associate Professor at the University of Malta.

  • Fox Den

    Matthew Murchison

    This is a movement from a suite of miniatures for solo horn. Each movement relates to either an earthly or fantastical aspect of nature. I hoped to capture a scene of playful and mischievous foxes.

    DR. MATTHEW MURCHISON enjoys a varied life as a performer, composer, and arranger. Murchison was a member of Pittsburgh’s River City Brass from 2002-2015. He can be heard on solo, chamber, and large ensemble albums. Visit for sheet music and more.

  • Outdoor Song

    P. F. Strohm

    O"Outdoor Song was written for the unique talents of Mary Beth Orr, emphasizing her wonderful skills of Horn and voice. The pentatonic vocal meshes with the chanter-inspired flourishes of the Horn lines to create a simple, brief statement about love for the outdoors."

    Pete Strohm, ASCAP, lives near Seattle, Washington. He has created a substantial number of brass, woodwind, and string solo and ensemble pieces, with additional works for larger ensembles and voice. His primary teachers were John Pozdro (University of Kansas) and Hanley Jackson (Kansas State University). Visit https:\\ on the web or @petestrohm on YouTube for more."

  • Au Débotté

    Jean-Pierre Vial

    Au Débotté is a short impromptu-like piece that exploits the full usual range of the French horn. ("Au Débotté" is a French adverbial phrase for "right away".) The piece is dedicated to horn player Mary Beth Orr.

    Jean-Pierre Vial, born in 1946 near Paris, France, is a former software designer. At an early age, he learned the piano, the organ, and composed several pieces for both instruments. Over the last decade, various soloists, small ensembles, or orchestras have performed his music worldwide.

  • Waiting for the Beast to Die

    Anneloes Wolters

    Traditionally, the princess 'waits' to be happily married with the prince who slayed 'the beast'. But young women locked up develop eating disorders and men send to kill suffer from PTSS. A troubadour tells their story, with instrumental reflections in between. Their last sigh of lost hope sounds.

    Anneloes Wolters - de Baat (1975) is a Dutch composer, living in Delft. She writes story in music. Anneloes uses story telling structures, mathematical sequences and sound-color-mixes to set up a composition. She combines music with other art-forms. She currently works on an illustrated music-book and a textile puppet-theatre.

  • Mode 2

    Justin Writer

    Mode 2 refers to the pentatonic scale used for the work. Essentially, mode 2 is a natural minor scale without the second and sixth scale degrees. This mode, among others, is common in folk music and was chosen for its ties to Appalachia.

    Justin Writer is a composer of chamber, large-ensemble, and electronic works. His day job is teaching young adults how to spell chords (a.k.a. music theory). A more complete bio is available at

  • In a Dunhuang Neighborhood

    Jianing Yang

    The music I heard in Dunhuang’s neighborhood is not complicated at all but makes one feel at home. Music, at that very moment, captured the warm connection between people that made the town alive, or in Chinese, gave the town “烟火气”。

    Born and raised in Shenzhen, Jianing is a composer/researcher whose music appreciates little moments in life, how she internalizes the world, and tries to combine music with her passion for natural science. Her music has been performed by Trout Quartet and is featured in highSCORE festival, MATA Jr., and more.