Aaron Houston (b. 1991) composes music that lives where the energetic soul of rock, folk music, and more collides with his classical training in unexpected ways to create what Ellen Taaffe Zwilich has labeled a “strong voice in composition” and reviews have said “[feels] alive and tangible to the audience” (Emily McCarthy, Tallahassee Democrat).
Upcoming projects include a new work for brass quintet commissioned by a consortium of ensembles including Baylor Brass, Braeburn Brass, and Big Bend Brass; a composition for solo bassoon commissioned by Ryan Reynolds of Akropolis Reed Quintet and a consortium of 12 performers to explore and exhibit the variety of personalities and characteristics available to the bassoon and its performers; and a forthcoming work for percussion ensemble written in collaboration with Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas. His recent work, Midway to Midtown, merges the influences of Texas Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan with “brilliant orchestration” (George Tsontakis) and was premiered by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by the idea of storytelling, this work blends Aaron's background as a Texas Blues guitarist with a developed craft and contrapuntal writing. Other recent projects include Katabasis − a virtuosic work for solo cello commissioned by Holden Bitner as a descent into the wild, natural landscape of Florida; Americana Soul − a work for unaccompanied viola featuring the sounds of American folk music that was premiered by Brian Bires as an encore with the Gewandhaus Akademisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany; and Along Fault Lines − commissioned by Jillian Storey for flute and live electronics, this work serves as a response to the growing violence and divide in America during 2020 that came to the forefront due to a global pandemic and the untimely deaths of George Floyd and many others at the hands of police.
Aaron's music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles including: the University Symphony Orchestra at Florida State University, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Fifth House Ensemble, the University of Central Florida Wind Ensemble, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, horn player Parker Nelson, and more with performances in Germany, Brazil, and across the United States. His compositions have been honored as an award nominee by the American Academy of Arts & Letters, finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, winner of the Dallas Winds Fanfare contest, winner of the Civitasolis Reed Quintet Miniatures Call for Scores, finalist for the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra Call for Scores, Honorable Mention for International Horn Society Composition Contest − Virtuoso Division, finalist for the Verdant Vibes Call for Scores, Honorable Mention for the Charles Ives Concert Series Call for Scores, finalist for the Baylor University Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, and winner of the Baylor University Orchestra Composition Contest.
Aaron holds degrees in composition from Baylor University and Florida State University where he was the 2017-2018 Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Fellow for orchestral composition and composer-in-residence. His teachers and mentors have included Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Stephen Montague, Clifton Callender, Scott McAllister, the late Ladislav Kubik, and David Ludwig.