“One of the brightest stars in her generation of composers” (Audiophile Audition), Kati Agócs has served on New England Conservatory’s composition faculty since 2008. Her music has been honored and performed worldwide, delivering both visceral power and otherworldly lyricism with soulful directness. The New York Times has characterized her chamber music as “striking” and her vocal music as possessing “an almost nineteenth-century naturalness.” The Boston Globe has praised its elegance, citing “music of fluidity and austere beauty” with “a visceral intensity of expression.” Gramophone Magazine has praised the "penetrating individuality" of her music, calling it an "iridescent wonder." A recent Guggenheim Fellow, she is also a winner of the prestigious Arts and Letters Award, the lifetime achievement award in music composition from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her album The Debrecen Passion on the BMOP/sound label was named one of the Top Ten Classical Recordings of 2016 by The Boston Globe. The title track was nominated for Classical Composition of the Year in the 2017 Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
Kati Agócs has a curatorial residency with Metropolis Ensemble in New York for the 2018-19 season, spearheading a concert series showcasing her chamber works in their loft space at 1 Rivington Street (and commissioning new works by a number of emerging composers). In 2018 the Aspen Music Festival opened with the world premiere of her second string quartet Imprimatur, commissioned jointly by the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Harvard Musical Association, and the Krannert Center/University of Illinois in celebration of the 15th anniversary of The Jupiter String Quartet. Also in 2018, her Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra, commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, had its world premiere by Nicholas Kitchen and the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Frank Epstein, with a recording forthcoming on the Naxos label. In 2017 her Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano Queen of Hearts was commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest for the Claremont Trio. Reviewing the world premiere, Oregon Artswatch called Kati Agócs "an artist with ravenous taste and the skills to match.”
Music by Kati Agócs has been commissioned and performed by many premier ensembles and organizations, including the Toronto Symphony, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the Minnesota Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Composers Orchestra, New World Symphony, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Lontano, Albany Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra for the Iowa Piano Competition, James Sommerville for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, and numerous others. Awards and honours include the Charles Ives Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the Massachusetts Arts Council and New York Foundation for the Arts, the ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center, a Fulbright Fellowship to the Liszt Academy in Budapest, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center, and awards from the Aaron Copland Fund, the Boston Foundation, and the Presser Foundation. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Bowdoin International Chamber Music Festival, Chelsea Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Born in Canada of Hungarian and American parents, Kati Agócs earned doctoral and master's degrees from the Juilliard School, studying with Milton Babbitt. She is also an alumna of the Tanglewood Music Center, The Aspen Music School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific (United World Colleges).
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 Photography