Maria Kaoutzani is.a composer from Limassol, Cyprus, currently working towards her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
As part of the composer collective Kinds of Kings, she will spend the 2021-22 season working with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on a concerto with the Grammy-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird, as well as at art residencies at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and Art Farm.
Maria has participated and been featured in several recent projects and festivals, including a residency at National Sawdust in the 2019-20 season, “Chicago Speaks” with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Loretto Project with the Longleash Trio, and New Music on the Point, VIPA and others.
Maria began her music studies in the UK, receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of York. She later came to the United States to attend New York University, where she earned her Master of Music degree in music theory and composition. Multilingual,Maria speaks Greek, Spanish, French, and English. Well-traveled, she also lived in Ecuador for a year working as a program coordinator that brought native English speakers to teach English in public schools.
Maria has learned from some of the best teachers in the industry, including Augusta Reed Thomas, Anthony Cheung, Sam Pluta, Justin Dello Joio, Lei Liang, George Lewis, among others. Inspired by them, she enjoys teaching her craft and has taught composition at the University of Chicago, and has given workshops at elementary schools as part of an initiative by the Civic Orchestra.
From taking a walk in the park to watching the news, Maria finds inspiration in all types of environments and spends a lot of time seeking fresh new sounds for her compositions. Her love for Greek music also provides her with a great source of inspiration. Other significant influences include the music of Kaija Saariaho, György Ligeti, and Tania León. Maria was also influenced by her move to New York City as a student, where she learned how to appreciate the diverse musical styles she was exposed to.
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