Fellow: Awarded 2013
Field of Study: Music Composition
Competition: US & Canada
Performed by leading musicians and ensembles across the globe, the music of Kati Agócs merges lapidary rigor with sensuous lyricism. A citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters calls it “blessedly unsophisticated in any conventional way . . . instead it has heart. It reaches the hearer through its melody, drama, and clear design" and cites her music’s "soulful directness” and "naturalness of dissonance."
The New York Times has characterized her chamber music as "striking," her orchestral music as "filled with attractive ideas," and her vocal music as possessing "an almost 19th-century naturalness," while the Boston Globe has described it as "music of fluidity and austere beauty." Fanfare magazine hailed her violin-piano duet Supernatural Love as "serene and unworldly, exploring space with sound in a way that seems to evoke the time before the universe hosted life."
Current commissions include works for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; Boston Modern Orchestra Project (commissioned by the Jebediah Foundation); a work for two sopranos and percussion (commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts); Crystallography (commissioned by Standing Wave Ensemble in Vancouver); and Saint Elizabeth Bells, a cello-cimbalom duet (commissioned by cellist Andre Emelianoff). The new work for Boston Modern Orchestra Project will be the fifth and final piece on a forthcoming all-Agócs orchestral CD on the BMOP/Sound label, for which four works are already recorded.
Recent works include Vessel for Metropolis Ensemble (commissioned by Meet the Composer); Elysium for the National Arts Centre Orchestra (commissioned for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver); Requiem Fragments (commissioned by the CBC Radio Orchestra for their Farewell Concert); Immutable Dreams (commissioned by the Jerome Foundation for the Da Capo Chamber Players); and Supernatural Love (commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts for Duo Concertante in St. John's, Newfoundland).
Further orchestras and ensembles that have performed and commissioned works by Kati Agócs include the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Lontano (London, U.K.), Albany Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Saint Luke’s Chamber Players, Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Saxophone Quartet, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Antares, Newfoundland Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, and many others. Kati Agócs was Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for its Fiftieth Anniversary Season in 2010.
Composition awards include an inaugural 2009 Brother Thomas Fellowship from the Boston Foundation, a 2008 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2007 ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center, a Fulbright Fellowship to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, a New York Foundation for the Arts Composition fellowship, the Presser Foundation Award, and honors from ASCAP in its Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Fellowships and residencies include the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Yale Summer School of Music), The Aspen Music Festival, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Dartington International Music Festival, and the Virginia Arts Festival.
Born in 1975 in Windsor, Canada, of Hungarian and American background, Kati Agócs has been a full-time member of the composition faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston since 2008. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters degrees in composition from The Juilliard School, where her principal teacher was Milton Babbitt. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music School, Tanglewood Music Festival, Sarah Lawrence College, and Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific (one of the United World Colleges), all of which she attended on full scholarship. She maintains a work studio in the village of Flatrock, near St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
Profile photography by Samantha West Photography.