Musiqa Announces 2022 Emerging Composers Winners

In an ongoing effort to increase professional opportunities for emerging composers, Musiqa has selected two early-career composers to write new works for its MUSIQA MIXER series at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Musiqa’s artistic council has chosen Eric Estrada Valadez, a doctoral candidate at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, as the 2022-23 emerging composer. The Emerging Composer Fellowship identifies promising artistic talent and provides mentorship from acclaimed Houston-area composers, as well as professional opportunities in an innovative contemporary music chamber ensemble.

Musiqa’s Artistic Council chose Oswald Huỳnh for its Emerging Composer Commission program, a national competition for composers at the start of their career. Mr. Huỳnh is a freelance composer based in Portland, Oregon. Chicago-based composer Paul Novak was selected as a finalist for this award.

Oswald Huỳnh is a composer whose works navigate Vietnamese aesthetics and tradition, language and translation, and the relationship between heritage and identity. Huỳnh writes music that explores timbre and texture to create evocative soundscapes rooted in storytelling, culture and memory. Her orchestral work Gia Đình appeals to these ideas by exploring the impact of intergenerational trauma, cultural heritage and what is lost between eras. Huỳnh’s latest orchestral work, Beauty Despite Daylight, is musically inspired by traditional Vietnamese ru con lullabies and addresses themes of home, kinship and isolation.

As a composer, Huỳnh has been commissioned, premiered and performed by artists including the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Chamber Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Tacet(i) Together, [Switch~ Ensemble], Del Sol String Quartet, Fear No Music, duo of deaf rabbits, percussionist Payton MacDonald, composer/clarinetist Yoshiaki Onishi and saxophonist Leo Schlaifer. Huỳnh’s music has been presented at Mizzou International Composers Festival, Bay View Music Festival, New Music on the Bayou Festival, Powell Hall, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, International Composition Institute of Thailand, Arts Letters & Numbers, Ear Taxi Festival, Constellation , Oregon Bach Festival, Northwestern University New Music Conference, The Sheldon Concert Hall, and Wintergreen Music Festival, among others. He is the winner of the IPO Classical Evolve Composer Competition (2022), the Black Bayou Composition Award (2022), the Rena J. Ratte Memorial Award (2019) and has been recognized by the New York Youth Symphony and the Pacific Chamber Orchestra. Huỳnh will serve as composer-in-residence with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for their 2023/24 season. Huỳnh holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College and a Master of Music from the University of Missouri. He currently works as a freelance composer in Portland, Oregon, and teaches music theory with the Portland Youth Philharmonic. His main teachers are Texu Kim, Carolina Heredia, Stefan Freund and Michael Johanson.

Holder of a bachelor’s and master’s degree in composition from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), the work of Eric Estrada Valadez has been presented in Mexico, Canada, the United States and Germany. In recent years, he has won the Arturo Márquez Composition Prize (2019), the New Symphony Vienna International Composers Competition (2020) and the National Composition Competition for Percussion Quartet SAFA (2019), for his compositional work. . Eric was a recipient of the Young Creators Program of the Institute of Fine Arts of Mexico (2021) and the UNAM Graduate Scholarship (2018). In his works, Eric mixes different musical genres, such as rock, jazz and Latin music, with contemporary composition, and explores the relationship between language, cultural identity and music. He was recently accepted into the Doctor of Musical Arts Composition program at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and awarded a graduate scholarship.

Rejecting grand narratives, Chicago-based composer Paul Novak’s music is driven by a love of the small things: miniature shapes, delicate soundscapes, and condensed ideas. His compositions, which are inspired by literature, art and poetry, have been performed in the United States and abroad. Novak was selected for a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and recently received honors from the ASCAP Foundation and the National Association of Composers in the United States. He has received commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, ASCAP and the Society of Composers, Inc., music from Copland House, the Boston New Music Initiative, the Blackbox Ensemble and the Kinetic Ensemble. In recognition of being a finalist in this year’s competition, Musiqa will perform an existing work by Novak during the 2022-2023 season.

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