In Memory of Joseph Huszti

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    Joseph Huszti

Joseph Huszti (1935-2024)

Joseph Huszti, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Music at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts, passed away on Friday, June 7, 2024. He was 89 years old.

Huszti's career was distinguished by his dedication to choral music and education. He joined UC Irvine in 1977 and served as Professor of Music and Director of the Choral/Vocal areas until his retirement in 2014. Over his 37-year tenure, he led twenty-seven international concert tours, earning numerous accolades, including multiple prize-winning performances at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, the Béla Bartók International Choral Competition in Hungary, and the Koorfest in Holland.

The choirs under his direction performed in renowned venues worldwide, from the cathedrals of York, Westminster, and Canterbury to concert halls in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Budapest, Warsaw, Prague, and Vienna. His ensembles were celebrated for their excellence, receiving the National ACE Award for their Madrigal Dinner Festival and credits in the IMAX production "To the Limit." Notably, the California Chamber Singers were invited to perform at the World Choral Festival in Seoul and the Alava Festival in Spain.

Image: (from left to right) Professor Irene Messoloras, Joseph Huszti and Dean Tiffany López)

Before his time at UC Irvine, Huszti was a prominent figure in choral music at Boston University's School for the Arts and the Tanglewood Festival's Young Vocalists Program. His earlier achievements include directing the Bakersfield College Choir to a historic first prize at the International Musical Eisteddfod in 1965, the first American choir to win in the Adult Mixed Choir Division.

A native of Ohio, Huszti held performance degrees from Northwestern University and pursued advanced studies at several prestigious institutions, including UCLA, Occidental College, USC, Ohio State University, and SUNY Binghamton. His esteemed teachers included Howard Swan, William Vennard, Ewald V. Nolte, Helmuth Rilling, and Todd Duncan.

Huszti's influence extended beyond UC Irvine. He was an active guest conductor and clinician, leading performances in over 30 states and 25 countries. His leadership roles included state presidency in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) for Delaware and Massachusetts and the Western Division presidency. In 2020, he received the Howard Swan Award from the California Choral Directors Association (CCDA).

Image: Joseph Huszti performing with the Men in Blaque ensemble. Photo by Paul R. Kennedy

Huszti's legacy includes the founding of Men in Blaque in 1997, an ensemble known for its diverse repertoire. His many accolades include the Distinguished University Service Award, "Lauds and Laurels," the Associated Students Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Professor in the School of the Arts Award. In 1995, he was selected as the Favorite Professor in the School of the Arts, and in 1996, he was inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society, delivering the keynote address.

Joseph Huszti's profound impact on choral music and his dedication to his students will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him. He is survived by his daughter Heather Huszti, friends, and countless students whose lives he touched through his passion for music. His contributions to the field of choral music will continue to resonate for generations to come.