Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by The New York Times, the music of Viet Cuong seeks to “leave you breathless” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) by finding ways to breathe new life into time-honored musical ideas. Viet has had works performed on six continents by musicians and ensembles such as Sō Percussion, Sandbox Percussion, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, JACK Quartet, Gregory Oakes, Mimi Stillman, Albany Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, among others. Viet’s music has been featured in diverse venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Aspen Music Festival, New Music Gathering, Midwest Clinic, International Double Reed Society Conference, Boston GuitarFest, US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, and on American Public Radio’s Performance Today. He also enjoys composing for the wind ensemble medium, and his works for winds have amassed over one hundred performances by conservatory and university ensembles worldwide, including at WASBE and CBDNA conferences.
Viet recently entered the Artist Diploma program at the Curtis Institute of Music where he studies with David Ludwig and holds the Daniel W. Dietrich II Composition Fellowship. Viet received his MFA from Princeton University as a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Fellow, and he is currently finishing his PhD there. At Princeton he studied with Steve Mackey, Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Dmitri Tymoczko, Paul Lansky, and Louis Andriessen. Viet holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts and Oscar Bettison. While at Peabody, he received the Peabody Alumni Award (the Valedictorian honor), as well as the Gustav Klemm Award for excellence in composition. He was a scholarship student at the Aspen, Bowdoin, and Lake Champlain music festivals, and has also been a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, Cabrillo Festival’s Young Composer Workshop, Copland House’s CULTIVATE emerging composers workshop, and the RED NOTE composition workshop. This summer, he will be a resident composer at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival, where he will write a new work for Alarm Will Sound. Additionally, Viet is among the youngest group of composers ever to receive artist residencies from the Yaddo Artist Retreat, Copland House, Ucross Foundation, and Atlantic Center for the Arts (under Melinda Wagner, 2012 and Christopher Theofanidis, 2014).
Viet was a winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Composers Award, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composers Award, Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra Call for Scores, New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, Cortona Prize, Dolce Suono Ensemble Young Composers Competition, Boston GuitarFest Composition Competition, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize from Ithaca College, 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 at Peabody, 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.
Viet was born in West Hills, CA in 1990 and raised in Marietta, GA, where he attended Lassiter High School and was a member of the LHS band. He now lives in Philadelphia. Viet is a member of BMI, the American Composers Forum, and the Blue Dot Collective, a group of composers who focus on writing adventurous new music for wind band.
Viet pronounces his name as “Vee-EHT Kwawng,” though “VEE-it” is also fine. Viet is his first name and Cuong is his family name. His brother’s name is Nam.