At their 2023 National Conference, held from February 15–18, 2023 at the University of Georgia, the CBDNA announced that Viet Cuong’s piece Vital Sines is the recipient of the Frederick Fennell Prize for Outstanding Wind Band Composition.
In the interest of promoting new music, J.W. Pepper partnered with CBDNA in awarding the Frederick Fennell Prize. Dr. Cuong received the prize money—doubled this year to $10,000 with J.W. Pepper’s support—at the conclusion of the CBDNA conference, preceding the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble and Eighth Blackbird’s performance of Vital Sines.
J.W. Pepper, the world’s largest retailer of sheet music, enriches lives by enabling music education and performance everywhere. Founded in Philadelphia in 1876, J.W. Pepper offers over one million titles for all instruments and voicings along with resources, equipment, accessories, and services that help everyone who makes music, teaches music, or leads an ensemble realize their full potential. The J.W. Pepper website now has over 300,000 titles available to purchase and download digitally via ePrint, and customers can access music and distribute parts anywhere at any time. Each year, the company’s experienced editorial team listens to thousands of new titles from all publishers and designates the very best as Editors’ Choice, so teachers and directors can easily find the highest quality titles that will best serve their students. J.W. Pepper and the company’s representatives sponsor and attend many major music festivals and conferences nationwide, including the American Choral Directors Association National Conference, the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, and the Midwest Clinic.
Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by The New York Times, the music of American composer Viet Cuong has been 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, and Dallas Winds, among many others. Cuong’s music has been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center, and his works for wind ensemble have amassed several hundreds of performances worldwide. Passionate about bringing these different facets of the contemporary music community together, his recent projects include a concerto for Eighth Blackbird with the United States Navy Band. Cuong also 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 works thus include a snare drum solo, percussion quartet concerto, and double oboe concerto. He is currently the California Symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence, the Pacific Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence, and serves as Assistant Professor of Music Composition at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Cuong holds degrees from Princeton University (MFA/PhD), the Curtis Institute of Music (AD), and Peabody Conservatory (BM/MM).
The Frederick Fennell Prize continues to grow in visibility. Dr. Damon Tilley, CBDNA Chair of new works and Director of Bands at LSU, remarked, “There were nearly 100 submissions.” For the first time, CBDNA recognized a list of honorable mentions, which includes:
If I Am to Leave: A Short Symphony by Jess Langston Turner
I wake in the dark and remember by Joel Puckett
Dope by Katahj Copley
- Babel On from Passages by Will Healy