Manuel Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and started his early musical studies on the Cuatro (venezuelan string instrument), which were eventually complemented by violin and solfège studies at the José Ángel Lamas National Conservatory.
Having decided to pursue music instead of architecture, he moved to the United States, where he studied composition with Stephen Albert, Robert Beaser, and David Diamond, receiving his BM, MM, and DMA degrees from the Juilliard School. He has also studied composition with Joseph Castaldo, Jacob Druckman, Charles Jones, Earl Kim, and Bruce Saylor; composition seminars with Mark Andrè, Beat Furrer, Adriana Hölszky, Helmut Lachenmann; harmony with Mary Anthony Cox; Afro-Caribbean percussion with Jerry González; composition, counterpoint, analysis, and conducting with his mentor, Jacques-Louis Monod.
His music has been performed in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, by ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Yokohama Brass Ensemble, and the Fribourg Contemporary Ensemble, among others, and his music is recorded on the Quindecim label (Mexico).
He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundaion (’11), the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (’09), Yaddo (’13, ’11, ’07, 04, ’03), as well as a Meet the Composer/Van Lier fellowship (’02), a C.V. Starr fellowship (’96), several ASCAP awards (’05-’11), and the New Juilliard Ensemble prize (‘94).
He has presented scholarly papers, on art and music in Latin America, in conferences in Austria (Mitersill), England (York), Germany (Darmstadt), and Venezuela (Caracas), some of which have been published in journals in Austria and Germany. His research intersts include art music in Latin America and its relationship to European art music of the 20th century, the notion of discourse in music, and the ars subtilior.
Manuel Sosa is chair of the Ear Training Department and a member of the Composition Faculty at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, a member of the Composition faculty at the New York Summer Music Festival, and a member of the board of directors of the Venezuelan-American Endowment for the Arts.