History of the IHCA

The International Horn Competition of America (formerly the American Horn Competition) came into being because two people wanted to promote a higher standard for US horn soloists.

In 1975 Elliott Higgins (a Cleveland area hornist and conductor) and George McCracken (horn designer for King Musical Instruments) attended the IHS Symposium near Montreal and observed a contrast between American horn soloists who sat and played from music and European soloists who stood and performed from memory.

Higgins and McCracken decided to create an American solo horn competition, named the Heldenleben International Horn Competition. Its goals were to showcase American horn soloists and encourage horn professors to teach the solo literature in addition to standard etudes and orchestral excerpts.