We commission new music, foster young and emerging composers, and present adventurous works in non-traditional settings.



In the 1990s, Golden Hornet co-founders Graham Reynolds and Peter Stopschinski were both composers struggling to find spaces, presenters, and funding to support their original works, particularly chamber music. Many other living composers they spoke to, particularly those that were young and emerging, faced the same challenges. Both Reynolds and Stopschinski were also bandleaders in the burgeoning rock and punk scene of Austin, TX - with Golden Arm Trio and Brown Whörnet respectively - and they decided to team up to solve this challenge, applying the collective creation and self-production methods of the rock genre to the world of classical music. A community of living composers formed, with numerous new works and their performances resulting over the years, from full size symphonies performed in warehouse spaces to collaborations with Tosca String Quartet, Austin Lyric Opera, Glenn Kotche, local high school orchestras, and many others. In 2008, Golden Hornet received official 501(c)3 designation and has since grown in both capacity and consistency. Our methods continue to be informed by the extensive experience and network of Artistic Director Graham Reynolds, as well as the central values of inclusion, accessibility, collaboration, innovation, and excellence.

Every year, we present four core programs. Our String Quartet Smackdown results in sixteen new original string quartet compositions, from composers of all backgrounds. Our SXSW Official ATX Composers Showcase supports and celebrates six new music ensembles focused on contemporary works, and connects them with a national and international network of music industry representatives. Our Young Composer Concert provides opportunities for local youth (ages 8 to 18) to develop artistically and professionally through a six month program during which they compose an original piece of music, and collectively produce a public concert featuring a professional ensemble. Fourth, our always changing but high-caliber concert endeavor results in a performance which is of significant quality and relevance, and is defined by its touring potential.

By the end of 2019, we will directly serve a local audience of over approximately 1,400 individuals, and just over 1,600 nationally and internationally.

The ambition and invention of Golden Hornet ranges from symphonies, soundtracks, to improvised super rock. Their recordings are a catalog of their adventures crossbreeding classical futurism and punk esprit.
— Rolling Stone
Donec consectetur, odio eget porta varius, orci mauris viverra ante, eget egestas turpis sapien vel orci.

Classical Undead is an episode of Arts in Context from PBS, exploring all things Golden Hornet. Get taken behind the scenes to learn about our founders’ perspectives on contemporary classical, get a taste of one of our largest project to date (Mozart Reqiuem Undead), and witness the first annual “String Quartet Smackdown” from late 2012. To watch the full 26 minute episode, please click here.