“Known for its elemental strength and generous lyricism” (The New Yorker), the music of Kati Agócs is honoured and performed by leading musicians worldwide. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award in music composition from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was nominated twice for Classical Composition of the Year in the Juno Awards, AKA the Canadian Grammy awards. Recent premieres include Transluminescence — Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, commissioned by the Esther Honens International Piano Competition for Nicolas Namoradze, a Horn Concerto for James Sommerville co-commissioned by a consortium of five orchestras in the U.S and Canada, and the cantata Voices of the Immaculate for Lucy Dhegrae and Third Sound Ensemble. As part of its Composer Portraits series, Miller Theatre in New York presented a Kati Agócs portrait concert featuring the world premiere of Voices of the Immaculate, co- commissioned by Miller Theatre at Columbia University, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. In The New York Times, Zachary Woolfe wrote: “For once, singing of complete and utter clarity…a simmering new cantata, conceived with transparency as a first principle…entirely, word for word, lucid…her text demands to be heard, and is.”
Music by Kati Agócs has been commissioned and performed by many other premier ensembles and organizations including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, violinist Jennifer Koh, harpist Bridget Kibbey, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Lontano, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Hub New Music, Continuum, Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal, and the multiple Grammy-award winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird, who toured the U.S. with Immutable Dreams. Recent commissions include Imprimatur (String Quartet #2), commissioned to open the Aspen Music Festival by the Harvard Musical Association, Krannert Center/University of Illinois, and the Aspen Music Festival and School for the Jupiter String Quartet; Morning Star, a motet commissioned by Boston’s Emmanuel Music in celebration of their Fiftieth Anniversary; Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra, commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University for the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble directed by Frank Epstein; Queen of Hearts, a piano trio commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest for the Claremont Trio; and The Debrecen Passion, a work for chorus and orchestra with texts by Szilárd Borbély, commissioned by The Jebediah Foundation for Lorelei Ensemble and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. The Boston Globe named her album The Debrecen Passion one of its Top Ten Classical Albums of 2016. Gramophone Magazine praised its “penetrating individuality” calling the title track “an iridescent wonder.”
Residencies include the Chelsea Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Oberlin University, National Youth Orchestra of Canada (as Composer in-Residence for their Fiftieth Anniversary), Charles Ives Music Festival, and a curatorial residency with Metropolis Ensemble in the Bowery on New York’s Lower East Side. Awards and honours include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Arts and Letters Award, Charles Ives Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a recording grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music; Composer fellowships from the Massachusetts Arts Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts; The Boston Foundation’s inaugural Brother Thomas Fellowship; fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo; commissioning grants from the Canada Council for the Arts; the ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center; a Fulbright Fellowship to the Liszt Academy in Budapest; and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.
Born in in Canada of Hungarian and American parents, Kati Agócs earned doctoral and Masters degrees from the Juilliard School, studying with Milton Babbitt, and studied voice privately with Adele Addison. She is an alumna of the Aspen Music School, Tanglewood Music Festival, Sarah Lawrence College, and Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific (United World Colleges). She maintains a work studio in Flatrock, Newfoundland. Her works are published by Kati Agócs Music and distributed internationally by Theodore Front Musical Literature. She has served on the New England Conservatory’s composition faculty since 2008.
M.M., D.M.A., The Juilliard School. Studies at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Aspen Music School, Tanglewood, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific (United World Colleges), and Sarah Lawrence College. Composition with Milton Babbitt. Additional studies with George Tsontakis, Zoltán Jeney, Michael Gandolfi, John Harbison, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, and James MacMillan. Voice with Adele Addison and Adrienne Csengery.
Photo by Kate Lemmon