Musical Composition | Durham
The North Carolina Arts Council supports diverse and innovative artists with fellowships, professional development and more to enhance the state’s brand and drive economic impact.
“I compose music influenced by the jazz idiom that combines harmonically complex ideas with lyrical and memorable melodies,” says Durham resident Brian Horton. “My treatment of these musical elements is further shaped by the gospel and popular music I heard while growing up in North Carolina.”
Horton’s work has supported an array of artists such as Dom Flemons, Delfeayo Marsalis, Snoop Dogg, Memphis Bleek and producer Just Blaze, and he recently completed a commission from the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music to arrange jazz big band music from the New Orleans Silverbook. His trios and quartets have toured through several European and Middle Eastern countries including Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan under the auspices of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad tours.
“Being an active, performing musician who works across genres, I understand working from both sides of the bandstand, and write music that is challenging yet accessible to the player and enjoyable for the audience,” Horton says. “At the foundation of my work, beyond the scope of contemporary orchestration is something familiar, naturally southern and inherently rooted in the blues.”
His music has been featured in independent documentaries for Columbia and Stanford Universities, ESPN, Foot Locker, the Durham Symphony, author Adam Mansbach (Stand For Nothing, Fall For Anything), and choreographer Amy Chavasse (Low Winter Light), among others. Horton holds a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies and Composition from the University of North Texas, Denton. He serves as an assistant professor in the Jazz Studies Program, North Carolina Central University in Durham.