2020 Swan Award Winner: Joseph Huszti


Click to view a video of the award being presented to Joseph Huszti  

Joseph Huszti is Professor Emeritus of Music in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. His tenure at UC Irvine included twenty-seven international concert tours featuring numerous prize-winning performances at the International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales (1979, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2008, 2017), Béla Bartók International Choral Competition, Debrecen, Hungary (1988, 1994, 2000), the Koorfest, den Haag, Holland (1979), World Choir Games (2006, 2010) and Bratislava, Slovakia (2014). The University of California, Irvine choirs under his direction have performed concerts in the cathedrals of York, Sterling, Westminster, Coventry, Canterbury, Ely, Burgos, Liverpool and Boston as well as presenting formal concerts in London, Tokyo, Burgos, Shanghei, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Budapest, Warsaw, Prague, and Vienna.

Before coming to California, Huszti headed the choral activities at Boston University’s School for the Arts and directed the Young Vocalists Program from 1972-1977 in Lenox, Massachusetts at the Tanglewood Festival. He collaborated with internationally renowned musicians including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Norman Dello Joio.

Before coming to California, Huszti headed the choral activities at Boston University’s School for the Arts and directed Tanglewood’s Young Vocalists Program from 1972-1977.

During his tenure as director of the choral and voice programs at the University of Delaware, the Concert Choir toured nine European countries and competed in two international choral festivals. At the Koorfest in Holland, the choir was awarded second prize and in the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, the choir placed second in the Adult Mixed Choir Division.

In 1965 the Bakersfield College Choir, under Huszti’s direction, won first prize in the International Musical Eisteddfod at Llangollen, Wales. This winning award was the first by an American choir in the Adult Mixed Choir Division and brought the coveted International Trophy to the United States. President Lyndon B. Johnson held a special White House press Conference upon their return to the United States. Pope Paul VI presented Huszti the Ecumenical Medal, both the choir and he were given a private audience by His Eminence.

A native of Ohio, Joseph Huszti received performance degrees from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Advanced studies were undertaken at the University of California at Los Angeles, Occidental College, the University of Southern California, the Ohio State University and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. His principal teachers included Howard Swan, William Vennard, Ewald V. Nolte, Helmuth Rilling, Otto Werner Mueller, and Todd Duncan. Active as a guest conductor and clinician, and has conducted performances in over 30 states and 25 foreign countries. A life member in the American Choral Director’s Association, Huszti served as state president in Delaware and Massachusetts and as Western Division president.

Huszti is one of 30 outstanding American choral conductors featured in the book, In Quest of Answers. He received the Distinguished University Service Award, “Lauds and Laurels” in 1991. In 1995, Huszti was selected as the Favorite Professor in the School of the Arts. In 1996, Professor Huszti was inducted into Golden Key, National Honor Society and delivered the keynote address. He received the Associated Students Teaching Award in 1998. Huszti received the Outstanding Professor in the School of the Arts Award by the 2001 senior class.

In 1997, he founded Men in Blaque, a men’s ensemble performing an eclectic body of literature from all eras and styles. This ensemble has traveled the world performing in festivals and competitions in Spain, China, South Korea, Slovakia, South Africa, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.