American composer

California Symphony announces Viet Cuong as new young American composer in residence

California Music and Symphony Director Donato Cabrera today announced that Viet Cuong has been selected as the orchestra’s new Young American Composer-in-Residence for the three-year period from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2023. Launched in 1991, the intensely competitive Young American Composer-In-Residence program has been hailed as a “model for residency programs across the country” (Mercury News) providing outstanding emerging American composers with a unique opportunity to write orchestral music while working with a professional orchestra and conductor; and engage with the local Bay Area community over a three-year period.

Born in Southern California and now living in Washington DC, Viet Cuong, 29, enjoys exploring the unexpected and the whimsical in his music, and he is drawn to projects where he can create particular combinations and enchanting sounds. or strangely satisfying. His works include a percussion quartet concerto, a tuba concerto, a snare solo and, more recently, a concerto for two oboes. Cuong is also passionate about bringing together different facets of the contemporary music community.
Musical Director Donato Cabrera said: “Even among the large number of candidate composers this year, Viet was clearly the leader. I am extremely happy to share three new pieces by this talented composer with our Bay Area audience in the over the next three years. ”Cuong said,“ It’s hard to express how thrilled I am to join the California Symphony community. and to refine his symphonic voice is to write a lot of orchestral music and hear him play. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do all of this with Donato Cabrera and the musicians of the Symphony over the next three years. Cuong holds an Artist’s Degree from the Curtis Institute, an MA from Princeton University, and BA and MA degrees from the Peabody Conservatory. He is currently completing his PhD at Princeton. His background earlier includes ties to two former California Symphony Composers-in-Residence. Cuong studied with Kevin Puts (California Symphony Composer-in-Residence, 1996-1999) for his Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory, 2008-2011, and has was Associate Artist in Residence at the Atlantic Artists Center in 2014 under the direction of Christopher Theofanidis (Composer in Residence of the California Symphony Orchestra 1994-1996).“Viet music is always full of incredible invention and fun. Every piece I have heard of sparkles with color and great imagination,” said Christopher Theofanidis. Kevin Puts said: “It couldn’t be a better choice … His works are vibrant and dazzling, crafted with as much care and confidence as anything written these days. Kudos to Viet and I know that. he will produce great things for the California Symphony! ”Katherine Balch is the current young American composer-in-residence of the California Symphony. Her residency ends this summer and her latest commission, Iluminate, a song cycle for three voices and orchestra will be premiered at the upcoming FATE AND FUTURE concerts, March 14 and 15, at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. Balch said: “My residency with the California Symphony has been a dream come true. I am very grateful to the orchestra, staff, board of directors, and in particular Music Director Donato Cabrera, Principal Violin Jenny Cho and Senior Director of Operations and Education Sunshine Deffner, for putting so much love and care into my music and my growth as an artist over the past three years. It’s bittersweet to pass the torch , but I can’t wait to see what exciting music will emerge from Viet’s tenure with the Symphony. “Called “seductive” and “wildly inventive” by the New York Times, Viet Cuong’s music has been performed on six continents by musicians including Sō Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, Alarm Will Sound, Sandbox Percussion, the PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, Orchestra of St Luke’s, Minnesota Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and Albany Symphony, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, and Midwest Clinic. Viet’s prizes include the Barlow Endowment Commission, ASCAP Morton Gould Award, Copland House Residency Award, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Award, Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award, New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, Cortona Prize, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize and the Boston Guitarfest Competition. . He has also received honorable mentions in the Harvey Gaul Memorial Competition and two consecutive ASCAP / CBDNA Frederick Fennell Awards. Viet has performed artist residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and has been a member of the Mizzou International Composers Festival, Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, Cabrillo Festival’s Young Composers Workshop, Copland House’s CULTIVATE Institute and the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals. He holds an Artist’s Degree from the Curtis Institute, an MA from Princeton University, and a BA and MA from the Peabody Conservatory. He is currently completing his doctorate at Princeton.Born in Southern California, Cuong grew up in Marietta, Georgia, where he attended Lassiter High School and was a member of the LHS Marching Bands and Orchestras. Growing up, he played piano, percussion and clarinet. He is a member of the BMI, the American Composers Forum, and the Blue Dot Collective, a group of composers focused on writing new, adventurous music for wind orchestra. Cuong’s website is at and his resume is available here.

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