New Compositions by Alex Nguyen to Premiere May 4

    The 36th Annual World Premiere Composition Series Concert featuring guest composer/conductor Alex Nguyen, presented by Performance Music at The University of Scranton, will take place Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the University’s Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission is free.
    April 23, 2019

    On Saturday, May 4, Performance Music at The University of Scranton will welcome guest composer/conductor Alex Nguyen for its 36th Annual World Premiere Composition Series Concert.

    The concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue, will feature two new works written by Nguyen to be performed by The University of Scranton Concert Band and Concert Choir. Nguyen’s band work – River Sông – is inspired by a Vietnamese folk song. His choir work is a setting of the Suscipe Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

    Admission to the concert is free, with seating on a first-come, first-seated basis.

    At the concert, Nguyen will conduct University student musicians from majors spanning the curriculum. The World Premiere Composition Series at Scranton is unique in that it is one of the country’s only programs – possibly the only program – comprised entirely of non-music majors to commission works for both band and chorus by established and nationally active composers for 36 consecutive years.

    Critically and popularly acclaimed composer, conductor, commentator and author Robert Kapilow, H’09, a frequent Performance Music collaborator and a guest composer/conductor in the early years of the series, has called the series “a remarkable event.”

    “Commissioning on an ongoing basis anywhere in the country is rare at best. To see this type of project at the university level, and at a school without a conservatory orientation, is truly incredible,” Kapilow said. “The series gives student musicians the extremely unusual opportunity of working with a living composer and gives the audience the unique chance to witness firsthand the evolution of a piece of music and the interpretation by the composer of the very first performance of his work. The opportunity for dialogue between composer, performer and audience is truly great."

    “It’s really exciting for the kids because it gives them the chance to experience the process of a composer and be an integral part of bringing their work to life for the first time,” added Performance Music Conductor and Director Cheryl Y. Boga.

    Nguyen came highly recommended to Boga by a few recent Composition Series composers.

    “He’s very accomplished at writing across genres,” Boga said. “He is equally comfortable and experienced writing sacred music, classical music and jazz.”

    A trumpeter, composer, arranger, music director and curator, Nguyen has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. The Savannah, Georgia, native’s contributions as a composer and arranger span from choral music to big band, and he was composer/performer for residencies at Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. He has composed and arranged numerous works of sacred music, blended traditional hymns, spirituals, jazz and gospel in worship services.

    Nguyen has performed with the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, the Curtis Fuller Quintet and the Celebration of Lionel Hampton, and one of his compositions, “The First Year,” was featured on NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron’s album, “The Traveler.” A past winner of the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition and the Jamey Aebersold Award for Artistry at the National Trumpet Competition, Nguyen is a graduate of the University of North Florida’s Jazz Studies program, where he worked with legendary alto saxophonist Bunky Green. In addition, he has a master’s degree in jazz studies from SUNY Purchase, where he worked closely with trumpeters Jon Faddis and Jim Rotondi.

    For further information on the concert, call 570-941-7624, email or visit For more information on Nguyen, visit

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