The three-day festival, the largest of its kind in North America, will feature performances in two categories, university and professional. French horn players will perform solo competing for $5,000 in prizes and opportunities for appearances and master classes at U.S. music schools.

The event is expected to attract 70 players from 11 countries, said Bruce Heim, horn professor and festival host. Some of the nation’s eminent hornists, including professors from leading schools of music and top-level symphony orchestra musicians, will serve as judges.

“The festival attracts horn enthusiasts and artists from around the world and has been called the ‘Olympics of Horn Playing,’” Heim said. “Many of the past winners have gone on to major careers in music. The School of Music hosted the competition in 2011 and is honored to do so again this year.”

The French horn often is considered to be one of the most difficult instruments to master. “Critics have used words like ‘demanding,’ ‘unforgiving,’ and ‘recalcitrant’ to describe the instrument,” said Heim. “Great hornists make it sound easy, of course. Everyone who comes to hear the final rounds will hear today’s up-and-coming horn soloists.”

Performances will be in the Margaret Comstock Concert and Bird Recital halls, School of Music. Tickets are $15 and available at the door. Three-day, full-day and half-day packages are also available. The schedule is:

  • Friday, Aug. 30: University Division first rounds , 8 a.m. ‒ 11:40 a.m. and 1 p.m. ‒ 9 p.m., Bird Hall; Professional Division first rounds, 3:20 p.m. ‒ 10 p.m., Comstock Hall
  • Saturday, Aug. 31: University Division first rounds continue, 8 a.m. ‒ noon, and conclude 1 p.m. ‒ 4 p.m., Bird Hall; University Division second round, 5 p.m. ‒ 6:30 p.m., Comstock Hall; Professional Division second round, 1 p.m. ‒ 2:15 p.m., Comstock Hall
  • Sunday , Sept. 1: University Division finals, 9 a.m. ‒ 11 a.m.; Professional Division finals, 1 p.m. ‒ 3 p.m., Comstock Hall