Young Composers Competition
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Carlos Cordero, a graduate student at Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, captures the winning spot this year’s fourth annual Chorus Austin Young Composers Competition. His work, Seven Seconds of Love, will receive its world premiere performances as part of Chorus Austin’s “Southwest Voices” concerts May 20 and May 21 in Austin.
The concert by Chorus Austin’s select 32-voice Chamber Ensemble, under the baton of Chorus Austin Artistic Director Ryan Heller, features works by Austin, Texas and southwest composers plus the winning work.
“Seven Seconds of Love is a beautiful new work that captures the composer’s sensitivity, as well as his desire for us to all acknowledge the power of love and the powerful work it can accomplish when we allow it to work through us,” Heller said.
The piece was selected from more than 30 submissions for this year’s competition. “An initial standout, Seven Seconds of Love was chosen along with four other compositions as a semi-finalist,” Heller said. These five works were then read by the Chamber Ensemble singers, who provided feedback.
“Among the factors considered were form, text setting, harmonic language, rhythmic vitality, non-traditional techniques and a marriage of music and text that would provide a meaningful journey for our singers as well as our audience,” Heller said.
As a composer, Cordero enjoys writing music mainly for the voice, having completed a three-act operetta, Un Cuento de Luces y Sombras (A Tale of Light and Shadows), with an original story and libretto. Among his works, he counts compositions for voice and piano, for choir (a cappella and accompanied), as well as music for chamber ensembles and orchestra.
His works have been performed internationally, including concerts in Venezuela, the United States, Canada, Belgium and Australia. Runner-up for the 2016 TPS Composition Competition, the composer is a former voice student at Conservatorio de Music Jose Luis Paz, tutored by soprano Maribel Gomez and formerly a singer in Grupo Coral Venezziola. He currently sings with the Houston Symphony Chorus and Moores School of Music’s Opera Chorus at the University of Houston.
Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Cordero now lives in Houston where he is enrolled in the Master of Music in Composition program at University of Houston. Cordero holds a bachelor of music degree from Universidad Catolica Cecilia Acosta (UNICA, 2015) and is finishing a Specialization in Composition (UNICA, 2017) with Maestro Franklin Pier as his mentor.
Chorus Austin inaugurated its Young Composers Competition in the fall of 2013 to support new choral music by composers age 30 and under. In its fourth year, the group received more than 30 entries from composers living in Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Canada, Great Britain and from our winner who is Venezuelan.
Michael Gaydeski, an adjunct faculty member at Oklahoma City University, captures the winning spot this year in the third annual Chorus Austin Young Composers Competition. His piece, Dreams in the Dusk, is set to receive its world premiere performance as part of Chorus Austin’s “Southwest Voices” concert April 30 and May 1 in Austin.
The concert by Chorus Austin’s select 32-voice Chamber Ensemble, under the direction of Ryan Heller, features works by Austin, Texas and southwest composers. Also featured on the program is a performance by Chorus Austin’s Youth Chorus, Diana Hopkins, director.
“I first came across the poem Dreams in the Dusk while I was searching for texts for a collection of songs,” Gaydeski said. “This poem especially resonated with me, and I felt that I could better realize the musical vision I had for the text as a choral work.”
The basis of the work, he said, “is an unusual chord that came to me in a dream several years ago: a D major triad underneath an ascending whole tone scale that used the notes A, B, C-sharp, and D-sharp. Though the chord itself is used only once (fittingly on the word ‘dreamland’), the whole tone motive appears throughout the work alongside numerous other examples of word painting.”
At OCU, Gaydeski teaches composition and orchestration and is co-faculty advisor of Project 21, the university’s student-run organization of composers. He began his first serious compositional efforts as a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Music Theory/Composition. He also holds a master’s degree in Music Composition and Trumpet Performance from OCU.
During his time at these institutions, Gaydeski’s music received a number of performances by a diverse array of musicians including the IUP and OCU faculty brass quintets, El Sistema Oklahoma and the OCU Wind Philharmonic. He also has had works performed at the 2015 Oklahoma Music Educators Association convention and the international Saxophone Symposium.
Chorus Austin inaugurated its Young Composers Competition in the fall of 2013 to support new choral music by composers age 30 and under. In its third year, the group received 40 entries from composers from 10 states, including from San Marcos, Denton and Richardson in Texas, and internationally from Canada, Slovenia, Latvia and Poland.
“This type of response continues to underscore Chorus Austin’s commitment to new choral music and to young composers,” Heller said.