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.