Audition Mode Horn Seminar

Audition Mode will not be held in 2023.




Does one or more of the following describe you?

Despite knowing you are a good player, are you frustrated by your audition results and aren’t sure why you don’t advance to the next round?

Are you wanting a better understanding of auditions and excerpts?

Have you been wondering how each position works in an orchestra and what the responsibilities are within a horn section?

Are you holding yourself back from taking auditions because you aren’t comfortable enough in both registers to take the risk?

Do you secretly wonder if you aren’t good enough to win an audition?

Do you have an overall concern about auditions that you simply don’t think you know the excerpts as well as you need to?

Is it in your personality to continuously seek new ideas to improve your playing?

Do you find yourself continuously struggling to understand and improve one particular register of the horn?

Are you a teacher looking for fresh new ideas to pass on to your students?

In a hurry? Secure your spot now.

Space is limited



Audition Preparation (from start to finish)


Resume Writing and Critiquing


Excerpt Preparation (specific for each excerpt)


Mental Preparation and Outlook (nerves)


Mock Auditions (high and low horn)


Mock Audition Discussion


Day of the Audition


Playing in a Section


Trial Weeks


Negotiating Your Contract


Probationary Year(s)


Auditions are a different skill than anything else you will ever do. You must make music without anyone to react off of (as in a section) and without anyone else there to support you…and you have to sell it!

Audition Mode shows you exactly what the committee is looking for and what it takes to successfully sell YOUR product. 

Having taken numerous auditions ourselves, we’ve thought through every single aspect of an audition. The result is a workshop that addresses every part of the process.


Here is a sampling of the conversations you get to participate in during the workshop:

• What is an audition committee looking for to advance a player…as well as to cut a player?
• Why are certain excerpts requested?
• How do you sell your playing to a committee in the most powerful way?
• How do you pace an audition?
• How do you pace audition preparation?
• What should you think about before you play each excerpt?
• What is your role within the section?
• Does your horn make play a role in the audition?
• Can you play more than one horn in an audition?
• What do you do if you are asked to play something again during an audition?
• Should you ask to play something again during an audition?
• How should you interact with your fellow auditionees on audition day?…and much more

In a hurry? Secure your spot now.

Space is limited

Karl Pituch


“Your performance of my horn concerto went beyond horn playing and the difficulties found therein, and revealed historical, poetic and atmospheric allusions that I’d always hoped the music might reveal. I admired your playing enormously…”
John Williams, composer

“The highlight of the morning was Pituch’s truly virtuoso performance… He played with a refined lyricism and elegance, shaping the noble melodies with the joy of spring and the athletic hunting calls with off-the-cuff flair.”
Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

“Confident and technically flawless, this artist’s playing goes beyond the means to find the music…a musical performance with a beautiful sense of line coupled with a gorgeous tone…”
Barbara Zuck, Columbus Dispatch

“Special note must be made of the truly wonderful horn playing of Karl Pituch. He takes one of the most difficult instruments and makes it sound easy. His playing is a joy to hear.”
Cary Smith, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Karl Pituch was named Principal Horn of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2000. Before joining the DSO, Pituch was Associate Principal Horn with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Principal Horn with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. He served as a guest Principal Horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Chautauqua Festival Orchestra and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra. Pituch can be heard on many recordings with the Dallas, San Francisco and Honolulu Symphony Orchestras.

Pituch was the grand prize winner at the 1989 American Solo Horn Competition and has been a finalist at many other solo competitions. As a soloist, Pituch has performed with orchestras in Japan, Hawaii, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Florida and Michigan. He has been a frequent guest artist at numerous horn conferences and has served as a judge in the American Horn Competition. An active chamber musician, Pituch was a member of the Spring Wind Quintet for 11 years and participated in chamber music festivals in Marlboro, Vermont; Crested Butte, Colorado; Kapalua, Maui; Kazusa, Japan and Freden, Germany (with the American Horn Quartet).

Pituch earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo where he studied with Mary Kihslinger. He also studied with Froydis Wekre of the Oslo Philharmonic and Dale Clevenger of the Chicago Symphony. For seven years, he was the horn instructor at the University of Hawaii.

Denise Tryon


A native of Roseville, MN, Denise Tryon is the Associate Professor of Horn at University of Cincinnati CCM. She served as the Horn Professor of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore from 2007 – 2018. Previously, Tryon was fourth horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra (2009-2017). She has also held positions with the Detroit Symphony (2003-2009), Baltimore (2000-2003), Columbus (1998-2000), and New World (1995-1998) Symphonies as well as participated in the Colorado Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival. An accomplished solo performer, Tryon has performed recitals in Sweden, Norway, Poland, Japan, Canada and the United States.

“Denise Tryon’s command of the lower register provides the strongest foundation of sound for a horn section, and yet, her sound is supple and flexible.”

—Yannick Nezet-Sequin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra

In 1989 Tryon graduated from the famed Interlochen Arts Academy and in 1993 received her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston. She received the Presidential Scholarship while in the Artist Diploma Program at NEC with the Taiyo Wind Quintet, which won the Coleman Chamber Competition and worked with great composers such as John Harbison, Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, and Elliott Carter.

An active and accomplished educator, Tryon is sought after for her masterclasses. She has taught extensively in the United States, Scandinavia, Europe, Asia and South America. Tryon’s been a Featured Artist at multiple IHS workshops and symposiums. Beth Graham of the Warsaw Philharmonic and founder of the Warsaw Horn Workshops raves, “In just a few seconds of listening to a student she can diagnose deep-seated problems and give immediate fixes, often with a healthy dose of humor as well. The transformations she can accomplish in just a short time are truly remarkable.”

In 2009, Tryon founded Audition Mode, a yearly horn seminar, with Karl Pituch. The seminar focuses on the skills horn players need to be successful in orchestral auditions.

Maddy Tarantelli


Maddy Tarantelli is Assistant Professor of Horn and the Brass Coordinator at Utah Valley University. She teaches private lessons, performance class, pedagogy & literature, music theory, and aural skills.

Since 2017, Maddy has served on the board of directors for Audition Mode Horn Seminar with Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch. She regularly performs and presents at International Horn Society Workshops and her publications can be found in various issues of the IHS’ Horn Call. Maddy has received two grants from the UMKC Womens Council and grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation to pursue intensive study with Frøydis Ree Wekre.

Maddy received a BA in Music Education from Florida Gulf Coast University, MM from the University of Miami, and DMA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her primary teachers include Frøydis Ree Wekre, Denise Tryon, Marty Hackleman, Sam Pilafian, and Kirsten Bendixen-Mahoney.



Audition Mode is the place for you if:


You are a person aged 18-60


You play and/or teach horn


You are ready to take command of the audition process


You are ready to tackle your playing challenges once and for all


You want to expand your knowledge of auditions and excerpts


You are eager to learn new techniques and approach


You are open to new ideas


You are ready to elevate yourself as a player or teacher

Most of all, do you want to LEARN? If so, Audition Mode is for you.

In a hurry? Secure your spot now.

Space is limited


To begin with, we have massive combined audition experience. Between us, we’ve taken 70+ auditions. In our 70+ auditions, we’ve won 10 positions between us and been in many more finals. We’ve both performed expertly in high and low auditions – even during the auditions that are not our current specialities.

For this workshop, we were very particular about having one high horn specialist (Karl) and one low horn specialist (Denise) to focus on the specific excerpt lists. We’ve found specific ways to prepare for high horn and low horn auditions that we pass directly on to you.

We each have particular strengths that we bring to the table. Karl owns all the high horn excerpts and the details and differences between them. Denise has total command of the low horn excerpts as well as incredible knowledge of the embouchure and how to become a better low horn player.

Beyond that, we’re like a weird comedy team. We’re great friends. We’re passionate about playing. We love the minutiae of orchestral excerpts and we have similar ideas on how to play.

What might surprise you about us is the experiences we share. We’ll tell you stories about auditions we’ve taken, rough experiences we’ve had, trial weeks we’ve done and even our probationary years. Think of it as a “tell all” – the kind of stuff you rarely ever get to hear from professional orchestral musicians.


“It is no coincidence that after attending Audition Mode, I advanced in a professional audition and won a mock audition at an IHS conference. Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch address many facets of auditioning in an organized, practical, and fun manner. Denise and Karl each bring their own expertise to Audition Mode resulting in a truly comprehensive experience.  Their different ideas and collaborative personalities are inspiring and entertaining. The seminar was comprised of master classes, coached section playing, mock auditions, and lessons that provided one-on-one attention with true masters in our field. The mock auditions offered realistic audition experiences with a unique ability to test our newly formed ideas and approaches from Denise and Karl. Audition Mode will give your playing a serious upgrade, no question.”

Maddy Tarantelli
Assistant Professor of Horn, Utah Valley University

“Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch are a collective force of nature. Incredible players, inspiring teachers, and lifelong mentors, together they create a fun and supportive atmosphere that is truly something special. As pupils of legendary pedagogue Frøydis Ree Wekre, both Karl and Denise take a strict yet thoughtful approach to pedagogy. Karl’s teaching revolves around using the simplest approach to make the most beautiful sound possible at all times. Denise is meticulous and creative at developing ways to fine tune, and her audition method is similar to training for an athletic event. Together they have decades of experience teaching and auditioning, and their friendship with one another gives Audition Mode a rare combination of intense training and fun. I learned about how to listen critically without being critical of myself, and gained a lot of insight about how to approach an audition from various perspectives and mindsets. The mock auditions were great opportunities for me to try out different things that Karl and Denise suggested during the week, without the pressure of a real job. The ability to experiment with different aspects of an audition was very freeing and made me more prepared for the expected and unexpected at real auditions. Overall I highly recommend Audition Mode to anyone who is serious about learning the standard excerpts and tactical approaches to orchestral auditions!”

Katy Ambrose
Lecturer at University of Virgina

“Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch created a great environment with Audition Mode for horn players to learn about the audition process. The week is a comprehensive experience of understanding standard orchestral excerpts for both high and low horn, building confidence in solo repertoire, how to play in a section and the chance to put it all together with mock auditions.  I valued that during this week I could ask difficult questions and receive honest information from two people that wanted me to do well in life. Their combined experiences from both sides of the audition process are deep and they are open to sharing them. Listening to their expertise and hearing them perform each day was inspiring.

When I attended Audition Mode, I was inexperienced with preparing for professional auditions.  Denise and Karl shared their methods of preparation, scheduling, and developing mental strategies to feel like you can play your best at the audition. After that week, I felt like I gained many tools to shape the way I prepare for auditions. Don’t miss the chance to work with these fantastic musicians!”

Alex Henton
Former Principal Horn
Hyogo Performing Arts Center

“Audition Mode is a must for any horn student or professional!  Expert training and guidance in an encouraging learning environment.  It is a program that you can/should do more than once.  Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch were very encouraging and incredibly giving of their time and energy.  Their attention to detail and artistry was truly inspiring.  Both had specific individual insight for each participant and excerpt.  Their modeling was nothing short of flawless.  Daily performance experience in masterclasses both solo and section, open lessons, and mock auditions.  I saw improvement in my practice and performance on the first day.”  

Liz Pfaffle
Associate Professor
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

“Audition Mode was, by far, one of the most valuable turning points in my career. This seminar is an intensive week spent with Denise, Karl, and the other participants totally immersed in all things horn. First, Denise Tryon and Karl Pituch welcome you with an incredibly inspirational recital. The rest of the week is filled private lessons, masterclasses, Q&A’s, coached section playing, and, of course, mock auditions. Their approach is more than just grinding out excerpts – they impress upon you the importance of being a musician and an artist just as much as being a horn player. Denise and Karl have totally different teaching styles which make for a very well-rounded approach that would appeal to horn players from all walks of life. Their work hard/play hard personalities make this just as much a fun and entertaining week as it is an educational one. I had taken the odd audition here and there before attending this seminar, but they were only moderately successful at best. Since Audition Mode, I have been in the finals in almost every single audition I’ve taken and won two of them. This is an invaluable experience that I would recommend to any horn player!”

David Smith
Principal Horn
The Florida Orchestra

“I can’t say enough good about Audition Mode! This course was extremely helpful in my professional development, performance ability, and technical skill. Denise and Karl bring a huge wealth of knowledge and experience to the course, something that is invaluable to developing horn players. They pass this knowledge on through private lessons, master classes, and mock auditions. All of this is done in a friendly, open, and collegial environment!

The master classes (high horn taught by Karl, low by Denise) are designed to not only teach the technique of the specific challenges from each register but also to demonstrate the style and sound demanded from each excerpt or solo piece.  Especially for the younger or less experienced student, hearing the excerpts and solo pieces demonstrated in such a convincing and clear way is some of the best education a musician can have.

This course is, without question, a great investment for a developing horn player. As someone who just finished a trial year with an orchestra and was awarded tenure, I can say that I definitely used and relied on techniques and skills that I learned while at Audition Mode!

Frank Hammarin
Horn, Iceland Symphony Orchestra

Audition Mode will not be held in 2023. 


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