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Viet Cuong

Visiting Assistant Professor, Composition


Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by The New York Times, the “irresistible” (San Francisco Chronicle) music of American composer Viet Cuong (b. 1990) has been commissioned and performed on six continents by musicians and ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Eighth Blackbird, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Sō Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, Atlanta Symphony, Sandbox Percussion, Albany Symphony, PRISM Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Dallas Winds, among many others. Cuong’s music has been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, National Gallery of Art, and Library of Congress, and his works for wind ensemble have amassed hundreds of performances worldwide, including at Midwest, WASBE, and CBDNA conferences. He was recently featured in The Washington Post‘s “21 for ’21: Composers and performers who sound like tomorrow.”

In his music Cuong enjoys exploring the unexpected and whimsical, and he is often drawn to projects where he can make peculiar combinations and sounds feel enchanting or oddly satisfying. His recent works thus include a percussion quartet concerto, tuba concerto, snare drum solo, and, most recently, a concerto for two oboes. This eclecticism extends to the range of musical groups he writes for, and he has worked with ensembles ranging from middle school bands to Grammy-winning orchestras and chamber groups. Passionate about bringing these different facets of the contemporary music community together, and he will have opportunities to do so with an upcoming concerto for Eighth Blackbird with the United States Navy Band.

Cuong is currently the California Symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence, and he has previously held artist residencies at Copland House, Yaddo, Ucross, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Dumbarton Oaks, where he served as the Early-Career Musician-in-Residence.  He holds degrees in music composition from the Curtis Institute of Music (Artist Diploma), Princeton University (MFA), and the Peabody Conservatory (BM/MM). His mentors include Jennifer Higdon, David Serkin Ludwig, Donnacha Dennehy, Steve Mackey, Kevin Puts, and Oscar Bettison. Cuong received additional training at the Orchestra of St. Luke’s DeGaetano Institute, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, Mizzou International Composers Festival, Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, Cabrillo Festival’s Young Composer Workshop, Cortona Sessions, Copland House’s CULTIVATE workshop, and Aspen and Bowdoin Music Festivals.