Bio Works Events Store Links Contact




Performances of recent works by Curtis K. Hughes in Somerville and Medford, Massachusetts, on May 10 and May 11, 2019.


more info...



The music of Curtis K. Hughes (b. 1974) is characterized by its rhythmic restlessness, its harmonic adventurousness and its often volatile mix of diverse stylistic elements and political subtexts. It has been described as "fiery" in the New York Times, "well crafted" in the Phoenix, and "colorfully scored" in the Boston Globe. A professor of composition at the Boston Conservatory since 2008, Curtis was a student of composers Lee Hyla and Evan Ziporyn, and 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.

Curtis's most recent endeavors have included new works for soprano Tony Arnold and pianist Jacob Greenberg, for the New Gallery Concert Series, for Transient Canvas and for Boston Musica Viva, as well as "RareBit," a surreal chamber opera for Guerilla Opera, in a production that was rated the "moxt exhilarating premiere" of 2014 by the Boston Classical Review. This was Hughes' second collaboration with Guerilla Opera, who also premiered "Say it Ain't So, Joe," his 2009 opera about the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden (now available on CD).

Curtis's music has been performed across the US and internationally, from Los Angeles to Berlin, from Vermont's Yellow Barn to Bulgaria's Here/Now New Music Festival. He was a 2005 fellow at Tanglewood, and has served as composer-in-residence for Collage New Music and the Radius Ensemble. Recordings of his music for the Albany, GM, New Focus, and Cauchemar labels are available at all major online music retailers.


"The concert ended with a much longer work by Hughes: Insult to Injury (2003), for violin and piano... I heard long percussive phrases, cogent harmonies, dramatic changes as in a film score, a barn dance, a fiddle tune slowly and deliberately ruined by a bombastic piano, and an impressive cadenza — altogether a rich and engaging work I’d like to hear again."
            - Mary Wallace Davidson, Classical Scene
             (Click here for complete review.)

"Hughes’ score for RareBit features an eclectic wash of sounds, with low buzzing electronics mixing with angular riffs... [and] frenzied energy. "
            - Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review
             (Click here for complete review.)

"Sarah Bob, the ensemble's pianist, took a solo turn in Curtis K. Hughes's Avoidance Tactics No. 1 (2001) a fiery work for piano and tape... [with] great moments of interaction between the keyboard and the taped and electronically altered percussion sounds."
            - Allan Kozinn, New York Times
             (Click here for complete review.)

"Curtis K. Hughes, Collage's current composer-in-residence, came up with a little winner called danger garden. In a way this was a collage for Collage, an engaging discourse among incompatible elements...
            - Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
             (Click here for complete review.)