His original compositions have premiered in London, Paris, Prague, Moscow, Toronto, Tokyo, Viennd, Warsaw and throughout the United Sates.
Wayne Oquin, Southwest Texas State alumnus, earned his masters from the Juilliard School and is now a full-time faculty member of the New York institution.
“I was shocked to be admitted, but it was a gamble, and I took it.” Oquin said.
The Houston native might have surprised himself, but anyone who knew Oquin at Southwest Texas State would have seen his potential.
Oquin set the record for most number of semester hours ever completed at then Southwest Texas State, 31 credits. The number has yet to be surpassed. He did it twice with a 4.0 GPA, graduating in three years with a major in composition and piano, and a minor in voice and philosophy. Oquin was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award for his work.
Oquin received the opportunity to apply for Juilliard during his third year, after an unfair reduction of scholarship money granted him a $500 compensation allowance for graduate school. Oquin used the money to travel and apply for Juilliard. There were only three openings Juilliard offered and Oquin competed against more than 250 applicants. He endured two days of exams and interviews. Oquin learned he had earned a spot one month later.
Oquin studied at Juilliard for nine years, earning his master’s degree in two years and serving a seven-year fellowship. Oquin was asked to join the faculty in 2008, the night he received his doctorate.
Oquin still comes back to his alma mater often, and describes the experience in San Marcos as the best time of his life.
“For me the world I really grew up in at Texas State is so far from the world I live in now, but one night a year these two worlds get to come together.” Oquin said.
Juilliard Rejoins Texas State for a Common Experience in the Arts was founded in March 2007, after Oquin discussed the idea with philosophy professor Jeffrey Gordon. Oquin credits his long-time friend Ana Monague for assisting with financial matters.
Oquin said the program would not have enjoyed continued success without the help of Pam Wuestenberg, assistant dean of University College, Nico Schuler, professor in the School of Music and, Diann McCabe, senior lecturer in University College. Oquin thanked his deceased, long-time friend Martha Nell Holmes. Holmes was a graduate of Southwest Texas State and a retired San Marcos High School English teacher. Oquin dedicated the 2010 program to her.
Schuler, a co-chair of the Common Experience, helped Oquin organize the musical parts for the program. Schuler said it was good for students at Texas State to witness a concert you would normally only be able to see in New York.
The program incorporates students from Texas State to preform alongside Juilliard musicians. The students will join together to perform a song Oquin composed called, “Water Song,” this year.
“Oquin is an outstanding composer and pianist.” Schuler said. “I think he’s probably one of the best composers of the younger generation in our country. We’re very proud he keeps a tight connection with his alma mater.”
Bob Holmes, San Marcos resident and son of Marta Nell Holmes said the event is a blend of complex yet simple messages performed by the world’s best young artists.
“I honestly walk out of Evans auditorium numbed by the treasure that he brings.” Holmes said. “It’s almost like going to a master museum of Dali or any former artist and once you walk out, it’s such a different feeling from when you walk in.”