Curtis K. Hughes

Hughes.Curtis_WebThe music of Curtis K. Hughes (RareBitSay It Ain’t So, Joe) has been described as “fiery” (New York Times), “well crafted” (The Boston Phoenix), and “colorfully scored” (The Boston Globe). Currently a member of the composition faculty at the Boston Conservatory, he has also taught at MIT, Brandeis and NEC. His work is characterized by its rhythmic restlessness, its harmonic adventurousness and its often political subject matter. His recent endeavors include a new work for Boston Musica Viva and the PALS Children’s Chorus, and the release of two CDs featuring performances by the Firebird Ensemble and Guerilla Opera, who premiered his chamber opera, Say it Ain’t So, Joe,about the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden in 2009.

Hughes’ music has been heard across the US and internationally, from Tanglewood to Bulgaria, in venues ranging from the New Gallery Concert Series in Boston to the MKA-Theater in Berlin. He has served as composer-in-residence for Collage New Music and the Radius Ensemble, and has collaborated with many other chamber groups, including Primary Duo, the Callithumpian Consort and the Yesaroun’ Duo, while his orchestral and large ensemble music has been played by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and many others.

A former student of Lee Hyla and Evan Ziporyn, Hughes is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory, and of the New England Conservatory (NEC), which honored him in 2010 with its Oustanding Alumni Award. He has received critical acclaim for his 2003 CD “AVOIDANCE TACTICS,” praised as “spiky” and “absorbing,” (The Wire) and as “feisty” and “audacious,” (New Music Box) while more recent compositions have been described as “energetic, compelling stuff” handled with “seasoned sureness” (New Music Connoisseur) and with “major chops and energy” (Boston Herald).

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