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“Many Fierce Women:” New Chamber Music from Kati Agócs

New piano trio “Queen of Hearts” premieres this week at Chamber Music Northwest; string quartet “Tantric Variations” premiered at Library of Congress in December.

As part of this year's focus on women composers at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, the all-female Claremont Trio will perform the world premiere of a new piano trio, "Queen of Hearts," by NEC composition faculty Kati Agócs. The first performance takes place at Reed College's Kaul Auditorium in Portland, Oregon, on July 13, and there will be an encore performance the following day at Portland State University as part of a New@Noon program, "Women Composers Today."

Two of the members of the Claremont Trio are NEC Preparatory School alumnae: violinist Emily Bruskin '98 Prep and cellist Julia Bruskin '98 Prep. Other NEC musicians participating in Chamber Music Northwest this year include Soovin Kim of the faculty and alumnus Jeffrey Work '87, '95 A.D.

In addition to the performances of her work, Kati Agócs is participating in a "Coffee with the Composer" session on July 14 and a "Women Composer Panel Discussion" on July 15. CMNW artistic director David Shifrin has commented on Agócs's music:

She has a voice of her own. She is able to create dreamlike soundscapes, exciting tonal development, and clear architectural structure in her music.

Responding to an Oregon Artswatch reporter, Agócs wrote:

It will take another generation or two before we establish something analogous to the literary women's canon in music composition. There are many fierce women working now, but it will be a long road. Commissioning new works and mentoring young women are ways to bring about a female canon in music.

Read the Oregon Artswatch story.

Full schedule for Chamber Music Northwest

Another recent Agócs premiere

In December, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. was the site of the first performance of a new string quartet by Kati Agócs, "Tantric Variations." The Cecilia String Quartet premiered the work as part of a program performed on LoC's rare instruments, and the quartet and composer were interviewed leading up to the performance, in the video on this page.