New music for horn and percussion


About us

Spiral Starcase Duo

The Spiral Staircase Duo is an innovative chamber ensemble combining the contrasting sounds of horn and percussion. After debuting in Osaka and Nara, Japan in 2016, Spiral Staircase have established themselves as regular performers around the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. They perform in a variety of settings from house concerts and public schools to churches and festivals, and as guest artists at various universities. In October 2017 they appeared as featured performers for the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, giving performances exploring folk-inspired classical music and recent film music of Japan. In May 2018, Spiral Staircase were featured as Ensemble Fellows at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Italy. Other recent performances include the 2018 Dallas Otsukimi Festival, the opening ceremony of the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas, the Dallas Japanese Association’s 2019 New Year’s Party, as well as clinics and performances at the University of Kansas, Austin College, and Ouachita Baptist University. Spiral Staircase seeks to introduce new music for an unusual combination and recast beloved repertoire for their unique and intriguing sound. Both members, Eric Hessel (horn) and Mai Hessel (percussion), currently teach at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and perform with the Sherman Symphony and Lone Star Wind Orchestra.

A native of Nara, Japan, Dr. Mai Tadokoro Hessel (percussion) has become an active performer and educator in the United States since moving in 2002. Her marimba performance was featured at a TEDxWyandotte event, the video of which is published internationally. Mai’s world premiere recording of Warren Benson’s Largo Tah for marimba and bass trombone will be published through the Naxos Label. Mai holds degrees from Cottey College, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Texas, and University of Kansas. 

Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Dr. Eric Hessel (horn) is a talented orchestral hornist, chamber musician, and soloist. Prior to pursuing his doctorate in horn performance at the University of North Texas, Hessel served as Third/Assistant Principal Horn of the Topeka Symphony, and Co-Principal of the Lawrence Community Orchestra while pursuing a Master’s at the University of Kansas under Paul Stevens. As a proponent of new music, Eric recently published as set of 24 Unconventional Etudesfor horn, and his research into the topic was included in the May 2019 publication of the Horn Call.

As a composer, Eric Hessel’s works have been performed across the United States, as well as in Mexico, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Japan. He holds a BM in Composition from Arizona State University, where he studied under Roshanne Etezady, Jody Rockmaker, Rodney Rogers, and James DeMars.

For information on booking, commissions, and upcoming events please visit the contact page

Eric Hessel (composer)

For more information on Eric Hessel (composer), and purchasing his music, please visit his website.