Texas Tech University

Second Nature: A Workshop Premiere

Brady C.

October 23, 2023

Image of Second Nature by Viet Cuong

The Aruna Quartet will present a new work by Viet Cuong alongside Texas Tech’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The piece entitled “Second Nature”, was commissioned as part of a consortium, with Tech leading the way. “Second Nature” is a concerto written for saxophone quartet and wind ensemble. With the piece still in progress, this performance will provide the audience with a unique experience. The concert will take the form of a “workshop.” Here, the audience will get an inside look at the piece. Akin to a lecture recital, viewers will get a “look behind the curtain” as various aspects of the music are isolated, highlighted, and explained.

This project has been four years in the making, with Will Pyle of Aruna first approaching Cuong with the idea in 2019. This was made possible through a commissioning consortium involving many schools across the country. Every school involved will own and perform the piece, but the rights to the first performance and first recording are reserved by Texas Tech and the Aruna Quartet.

Image of the Aruna Quartet
Aruna Quartet

The Aruna Quartet was born here at Texas Tech University. The name “Aruna” translates literally to “red, ruddy, and tawny”–a succinct descriptor of the dust storms and sprawling flatland sunsets that visually define West Texas, where the quartet was formed. All previous students of Professor David Dees, the members consist of Will Pyle (soprano), Jose Guzman (alto), Ryan Hill (tenor), and Andrew Schoen (baritone). The Aruna Quartet focuses on bringing forth new music and original compositions. The group has won multiple national and international competitions. Most notably, Aruna won the Grand Prize at the 46th Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. https://www.arunaquartet.com/

Image of Viet Cuong
Viet Cuong
Photo by Aaron Jay Young

Viet Cuong's compositions have been performed across 6 continents by ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Winds, and PRISM Quartet, among many more. Cuong's music has been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. Cuong 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. This can be heard in “Second Nature” as the piece sounds reminiscent of electronic music, with elements of rhythmic delay and echoes over a dance-like groove. https://vietcuongmusic.com/