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Kansan Verne Reynolds studied violin and piano early, switching to the horn at age 13. After playing piano and horn in Navy bands after high school, he went to the Cincinnati College-Conservatory as a composition student. He played horn in the Cincinnati Symphony and the American Woodwind Quintet. He was also a founding member of the Eastman Brass Quintet, and was Professor of Horn at Eastman for 36 years.

Calls and Echoes was written in 1984 for his Eastman trumpet colleagues Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer. The title refers to the hunting and military signal calls for which the trumpet was used, and their antiphonal echoes from different positions on the stage, in Reynolds’ brilliantly virtuosic duo.