Resident Composer Spotlight: Oswald Huỳnh

Oswald Huỳnh is one of eight Resident Composers selected for the 2022 Mizzou International Composers Festival from a total of 532 applicants from 49 countries. Huỳnh is a composer and bassoonist from Portland, Oregon. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College and a Master of Music from the University of Missouri. During his time at Lewis & Clark, Huỳnh was presented the Rena J. Ratte Memorial Award, the highest academic honor given to students, for his compositional work at the college. His principal teachers include Stefan Freund, Carolina Heredia, Texu Kim, and Michael Johanson.

Oswald Huỳnh

His works navigate Vietnamese aesthetics and tradition, language and translation, and the relationship between heritage and identity. Huỳnh writes music extensively for instrumental forces to create evocative soundscapes that convey underlying narratives and emotions. His orchestral work, Gia Đình, calls to this by exploring the impact of intergenerational trauma, cultural inheritance, and what is lost between eras.

As a composer, Huỳnh has collaborated the Akropolis Reed Quintet, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Tacet(i) Ensemble, Fear No Music, Del Sol String Quartet, [Switch~ Ensemble], deaf rabbit duo, percussionist Payton MacDonald, and composer/clarinetist Yoshiaki Onishi, among others. Huỳnh’s music has been presented at the New Music on the Bayou Festival, Powell Hall, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, International Composition Institute of Thailand, Arts Letters & Numbers, Ear Taxi Festival, Northwestern University New Music Conference, The Sheldon Concert Hall, and Wintergreen Music Festival. Huỳnh is also a fellow for the inaugural Akropolis Chamber Music Institute


For the MICF, he has written a new work, I Ask My Mother to Sing (2022), which will have its world premiere July 30 at 7:30 pm at the Missouri Theater. The concert will feature Alarm Will Sound playing world premiere performances by all eight Resident Composers.

You can hear samples of Huỳnh’s music on his website.