Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes, a French horn soloist and UT associate professor, has played the French horn since he was in fifth grade.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Patrick Hughes | Daily Texan Staff

Since arriving in Austin 14 years ago, Patrick Hughes and his French horn have accompanied everything from the Austin City Brass to Willie Nelson. His next performance will be Tuesday alongside other Butler School of Music faculty members.

Hughes, a music associate professor at UT, will be performing with five other professors in a Faculty Artist Concert at the Jessen Auditorium. The ensemble will also feature the piano, clarinet, bassoon, violin and string bass. 

Coming from a large, musical family, Hughes first picked up the french horn in fifth grade not because of a specific desire to play the instrument but because of a desire to be different from his family.

“My family had picked other instruments, and [the horn] was one that was left,” Hughes said. “I also wanted to be with my friends who were also picking band instruments.”

Despite his unorthodox way for choosing an instrument, Hughes became skilled with the horn, performing in a number of orchestras and ensembles around the country. After attending both St. Olaf College and University of Wisconsin-Madison, he taught at a number of universities before coming to UT in 2001. Hughes said that he came to the University because of the reputation of the school and its faculty.

“It’s a great school,” Hughes said. “The faculty are top-notch. They’re just the cream of the crop. I was happy to join such an exciting school of music.”

Hughes works closely with a small number of students who play the French horn and he meets with each of them for a private lesson once a week. He also meets with all of the students together twice a week for a studio class. Hughes said he enjoys working with students from all levels.

“I love teaching those huge range of students — from freshman all the way up to the master’s- and doctoral-level players,” Hughes said. “Every hour is different, and every day I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I like that.”

In addition to regular lessons, Hughes’ horn class features guest residencies and master classes with visiting artists. The class also performs recitals and plays in chamber ensembles regularly. Although Hughes mainly teaches his students classical music, he said he enjoys showing them how to play modern pieces as well.

“Primarily, I’m teaching classical French horn — teaching students to play in orchestra and professional chamber groups,” Hughes said. “But we end up playing a lot of other stuff. You’ll see French horns everywhere, so we also play popular music.”

In addition to teaching horn students, Hughes performs frequently in University concerts. The faculty concert Tuesday will be different from others in that Hughes will be the only performer to play in each piece.

“Each piece involves me with a different group of performers,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the concert, which will focus on chamber music, is a great way to play that style with other professors.

“I love to give recitals, and it’s a joy to play with my colleagues in the school of music,” Hughes said. “It’s fun to all get together and play different music, and chamber music is great.”

Photo Credit: Helen Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

Middle school, high school and college French horn players came together onstage for a concert Sunday as a part of UT Horn Day in the Butler School of Music.

UT Horn Day is a free event open to middle school and high school students, parents and teachers. They can receive assistance from associate horn professor Patrick Hughes and Gerry Wood, adjunct horn instructor at the UT-Arlington with their regional tryout pieces.

Students could also try out different horns and play in the final concert.

The event was put on by the Horn Studio, led by Hughes and comprised of 20 undergraduate and graduate horn students and brought in more than 50 middle school and high school students combined.

Hughes started the event three years ago and has seen growing participation since it began.

“I feel like it’s a service to the community to get everyone connected,” Hughes said.

During the event, young French horn players practice their tryout music in this outreach opportunity and can test different horns, mouthpieces, mutes and cases. Various venders attended the event to repair instruments.

Middle school and high school students split up to practice individual songs but came together later to rehearse a song to perform alongside the UT Horn Choir. 

Music performance graduate Rose Valby, the studio’s sole assistant who organized the event, helped middle school students and conducted a piece. 

Wood, who plays with the horn group Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, switched off with Hughes to help the middle school and high school group to offer them more insight on the music. This was the event’s first year to have another clinician for students.

Kaitlin Methven, a freshman at Westwood High School, said she received assistance on different horn fingerings and a piece for a regional competition.

“It definitely helps hearing what they’re supposed to sound like,” Methven said.

The LongHORN choir, which is part of the Horn Studio, played for the students multiple times throughout the day. The choir comprises non-music and music majors and has about 20 members.

Amber Hendrix, music and human learning graduate student, plays in the horn choir and conducted a piece for the middle school students.

“It’s good to work with professors on the all-region music so you can get different ideas,” Hendrix said. “I’m a big fan of working with different people on the same music so you can get different feedback and it helps you grow as a musician.”

Movie Review - Red Hill

“Red Hill,” written and directed by freshman director Patrick Hughes, is a film obviously influenced by classic westerns. After all, its main character, played perfectly by “True Blood’s” Ryan Kwanten, is named Shane Cooper, an amalgam of the titular character of the 1953 Western classic “Shane,” and “High Noon” star Gary Cooper. It wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, making for a fun, superbly acted action film.

The film begins with a retro setup: It’s Cooper’s first day on the job at the Red Hill Police Department, an isolated Australian precinct. When Jimmy Conway (the magnetic Tommy Lewis), a man with a grudge for Red Hill’s police department, escapes from prison and returns to exact his revenge, things get messy very quickly and in a very entertaining fashion.

“Red Hill” is a deliberate film, taking its time setting up its stakes and characters before letting Conway sweep through the city raising hell. In fact, almost half an hour passes before we meet the antagonist in a subtly effective scene. However, the payoff is more than worth it, as the hour that follows is intense, atmospheric and sublimely directed. Hughes plays fast and loose with the structure of the classic Western, mixing in a few moments of quiet beauty with the abundance of shoot-outs and standoffs.

Lewis is fantastic as Conway, silent, imposing and unquestionably lethal. Conway almost comes off as a slasher-flick menace, with a horribly scarred face and a superhuman ability to outthink his prey. Kwanten is equally great, effortlessly slipping into his stoic western hero and playing things cool and understated. While the rest of the supporting cast is composed of cannon fodder more than characters, the acting is strong across the board.

Entertaining above all else, “Red Hill” is a treat for fans of the Western genre that have found themselves shortchanged this year. It’s an entertaining, blood-soaked ride and a smart, noteworthy debut for Hughes.

Grade: B

Playing exclusively at the Regal Arbor Cinema at Great Hills