A 24-year-old composer whose music “leaves you breathless” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Viet Cuong has had works performed on five continents in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, International Double Reed Society Conference, Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music at the Bowdoin Music Festival, the US Navy Band International Sax Symposium, Midwest Clinic, several CBDNA conferences, and the GAMMA-UT Conference, among others.
Viet’s music has been performed and commissioned by a number of leading soloists and chamber musicians, including the PRISM Sax Quartet, Sō Percussion, American Modern Ensemble, City of Tomorrow Quintet, pianists Lisa Moore and Julia Sheriff, clarinetists Anthony McGill, Gleb Kanasevich, and Miles Jaques, guitarists Krystin O’Mara and Xavier Jara, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Trio La Milpa, Poulenc Trio, Lunar Ensemble, Nash Ensemble of London, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, and DAS Oboe, among others. In addition, Viet grew up in Marietta, GA playing in symphonic bands and has always enjoyed composing for the wind band medium; Sound and Smoke won the 2012 Walter Beeler Memorial Prize from Ithaca College, and Moth, his most recent wind band work, was commissioned by the Brooklyn Wind Symphony and premiered by the group at the 2013 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL. Together these works have amassed over fifty-five performances worldwide and were both performed at Carnegie Hall during the 2014-15 season. Upcoming projects include new chamber works for Sandbox Percussion, Tim Smith and the Buffalo Chamber Players, and a consortium of the TMEA Region 18 Middle School Bands led by Cheryl Floyd.
Viet is a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Fellow at Princeton University, where he received his MFA and is currently a PhD Candidate. At Princeton he has studied with Steve Mackey, Donnacha Dennehy, Paul Lansky, Dan Trueman, and Dmitri Tymoczko. Viet holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Oscar Bettison and Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts. He was a scholarship student at the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals, and was recently a fellow at the Copland House’s CULTIVATE emerging composers workshop. Additionally, Viet is among the youngest group of composers to receive artist residencies from the Atlantic Center for the Arts (under Melinda Wagner and Christopher Theofanidis), the Ucross Foundation, and Yaddo, where he was the 2013 recipient of the David del Tredici Residency. This year he was a participant in the RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Workshop with Steven Stucky and will take part in the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival Young Composers Seminar with David Ludwig.
Viet was a winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Composers Award, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composers Award, the Presser Foundation Scholar Award, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize from Ithaca College, Dolce Suono Ensemble Young Composers Competition, Boston GuitarFest Composition Competition, Atlantic Coast Conference Band Directors Association Grant, National Band Association Young Composer Mentor Project, the Prix d’Été Composition Competition, and the Trio La Milpa Composition Competition. In addition, he received honorable mentions in the 2013 Harvey Gaul Composition Competition and the 2010 and 2012 ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prizes. Scholarships include the Evergreen House Foundation scholarship, a 2010 Susan and Ford Schumann Merit Scholarship from the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the 2011 Bachrach Memorial Gift from the Bowdoin International Music Festival. While at Peabody, he received the Peabody Alumni Award (the Valedictorian honor), and the Gustav Klemm Award for excellence in composition.
Photo by Nam Cuong