Kati Agócs, who is of Hungarian and American background, was born in 1975 in Windsor, Canada. Bridging the gap between lapidary rigor and sensuous lyricism, her music has been performed across the globe by leading musicians and ensembles and hailed as original, daring, and from the heart. A 2008 citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters praises the "soulful directness" of her music, its "naturalness of dissonance," and its "melody, drama, and clear design." The Boston Globe recently described it as "music of fluidity and austere beauty," while The New York Times has characterized it as "nimble", "striking," and "filled with attractive ideas," and has described her vocal music as possessing "an almost 19th-century naturalness." Appointed in 2008 to the composition faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, she is fast gaining international recognition as a significant voice of the younger generation.

Recent commissions include Pearls for the American Composers Orchestra, with a Carnegie Hall premiere in February 2009; Requiem Fragments for the CBC Radio Orchestra (Vancouver); I and Thou for the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble (New York); Immutable Dreams for the Da Capo Chamber Players (New York); Division of Heaven and Earth for pianist Fredrik Ullén (Stockholm, Sweden); and Supernatural Love for Duo Concertante (violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves). She has produced new works for Ensemble de flûtes Alizé (Montréal); the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra (Boston); the Autumn Festival in Budapest, Hungary; The Albany Symphony; saxophonist Timothy McAllister; PRISM Saxophone Quartet; The Canada Council for the Arts; and the Juilliard School (for its annual Irene Diamond Concert in 2001). Agócs was chosen for Meet the Composer's "Music Alive: New Partnerships" program for the current season. She is composer in residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for 2010, and has been commissioned for their 50th Anniversary coast-to-coast tour that summer.

In 2008-2009 the Grammy-winning chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird toured nationally with her quintet Immutable Dreams, presenting it in over fifteen performances. The work is also heard at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York in May 2009, in Boston with Xanthos ensemble, and in Vancouver with Standing Wave. Agócs recently performed as soprano soloist in her own piece By the Streams of Babylon in Jordan Hall (Boston), together with soprano Lisa Bielawa and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Gil Rose, conductor), on their Boston ConNECtion program. Also this season, Supernatural Love for violin and piano is heard at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and on nation-wide tours of China and Canada by Duo Concertante, and the solo aria for alto saxophone As Biddeth Thy Tongue is showcased by saxophonist Timothy McAllister at the Lontano Festival of American Music in London. UK Time Out New York featured the premiere recording of Every Lover is a Warrior, on harpist Bridget Kibbey's debut CD, Love is Come Again, as one of its top ten recordings of 2007, describing the work as "a powerful, ruminative suite" and Agócs as an "innovative" and "promising" composer. At least six new recordings of her recent chamber works are scheduled to be released on upcoming CDs in the next year.

Awards include a 2008 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center, multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, a Fulbright Fellowship to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education, a New York Foundation for the Arts Composition fellowship, a Jerome Foundation commission, Presser Foundation Award, and honors from ASCAP in their Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Fellowships and residencies include the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival (upcoming in June 2009), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Yale Summer School of Music), Aspen Music Festival, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Dartington International Music Festival (UK), and Virginia Arts Festival. On two occasions while attending Juilliard, Kati Agócs had her orchestral works premiered by the Juilliard Symphony in Alice Tully Hall as a winner of the annual composer's competition. In 2004, she spearheaded a groundbreaking exchange program between Juilliard and the Liszt Academy in Budapest that still continues today. She has written on recent American and Hungarian music for Tempo and The Musical Times.

Kati Agócs earned her Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters degrees from The Juilliard School, studying with Milton Babbitt. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music School, Tanglewood Music Festival, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific (one of the United World Colleges), and Sarah Lawrence College, all of which she attended on full scholarship. From 2006 through 2008 she taught at the School of Music, Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is on the composition faculty of The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and maintains a composition studio in Flatrock, near St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 24, 2015
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 20, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 6, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | May 28, 2010
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 17, 2009

News and Press

[Concert Review] From BMOP, new music with a Hungarian accent

Hungarian music, Liszt once wrote, “is divided naturally into melody destined for song or melody for the dance.” Saturday’s ambitious “Magyar Madness” program, presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, had representatives of both. It also had two alluring world premieres.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Rock-solid But Not Maniacal

Though the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s “Magyar Madness” certainly delivered on the first word by presenting four works of Hungarian or Hungarian-descended composers including two premieres at Jordan Hall on Friday, we’ll give BMOP a pass on “Madness,” as the alliterative sobriquet was oxymoronic considering the event’s rock-solidity.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP’s “Magyar Madness” delivers rewarding range of music with two premieres

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, having promised a night of “Magyar Madness” Saturday at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, delivered world premieres of two outstanding, if well-behaved, works by Boston-based composers of Hungarian birth or ancestry and of Generation X vintage. The madness was supplied by the old-timers, Béla Bartók and Gyorgy Ligeti.

Crazy or sane, violent or poetic, all the music in Saturday’s concert touched on Hungary’s distinctive culture as a place apart, isolated by geography and language, yet also bubbling with a mix of European and Asiatic influences.

Boston Classical Review Full review
[News Coverage] Agócs draws on Hungarian poetry for BMOP premiere

Composer Kati Agócs was born in 1975 in Windsor, Ontario, to a Hungarian father and American mother. Her music — spacious and elegant, even in its knottier episodes — reflects and refracts this polyglot background. But there is a special quality that her Eastern European background lends to her music.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Interview] A Tribute to Borbély, A Poet of Our Time

Kati Agócs, whose The Debrecen Passion comes to Boston Modern Orchestra Project this Saturday night, has been making quite an impression on the global music community. But beyond her extensive curriculum vitae and skill as a composer, Kati is also a warm and compassionate person, extremely self-actualized with a fluid ability to describe her experience.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP opens season with a fancinating array of Canadian music

Geographically, Canada is not that far away from Boston. Some of the Canadian music heard Sunday afternoon at Jordan Hall, however, sounded like it was coming from a much greater distance.

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project began its subscription season Sunday with "True North," featuring four composers with ties to our neighbor country. Conductor Gil Rose led his solid ensemble in works by Kati Agócs, Colin McPhee, Michael Colgrass and Claude Vivier, which may not have uncovered any cohesive national identity, but certainly offered much artistic creativity and informed musicianship.

Boston Classical Review Full review
[News Coverage] Rose, BMOP set to launch season with a spotlight on Canadian composers

"It's funny. When it started, I really thought that after a while it would change," says Gil Rose, artistic director of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

"It's been fifteen years, and producing concerts and making recordings has become an always and forever state. It's fun for me personally, but I really thought that it would get easier over time."

Boston Classical Review Full review
[Press Release] BMOP Salutes Canadian Composers at its Season Opening Concert

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, kick-starts its 2011-12 season with a nod to our friendly neighbor to the North, Canada. Paying homage to some of Canada's top composers, BMOP is slated to perform: Vessel by Kati Agocs; Symphony No. 2 by Colin McPhee; Letter from Mozart by Michael Colgrass; and Orion by Claude Vivier.

Full review
[Concert Review] Bolcom, BMOP, and the graceful ghost of Ligeti

I’m late with my thoughts on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project‘s “Bolcom with BMOP” evening last Sunday. Which may have something to do with the fact that I was slightly, but not entirely, disappointed by the program. I was drawn to the concert because I’m a fan of its eponymous star, the distinguished American composer William Bolcom - or at least I’m a huge fan (like many people) of his piano and vocal music (a favorite selection, “The Poltergeist,” above).

The Hub Full review
[Concert Review] Classical Music Review: Boston Modern Orchestra Project

The Jordan Hall stage was crammed full of seventy players for the season’s final concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) on May 28. Under its artistic director Gil Rose, we heard music by five composers, the earliest dating from 1989. For two works the distinguished baritone Sanford Sylvan (b. 1953) was the soloist.

The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP's feast of new music

After giving each orchestra section a spotlight concert this season, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and artistic director Gil Rose brought a full symphonic complement to Jordan Hall on Friday, with a program to match: five canvases of splashy instrumentation. The complement was in fine form indeed, zealous and bold. New-music advocacy doesn’t get more luxurious.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP proves that new music can be moving

On Friday, May 28, in Jordan Hall, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, a.k.a. BMOP, presented its last concert of the season -— five works composed in the past 25 years, two of which featured the great baritone Sanford Sylvan. BMOP’s past season had featured concerts showcasing groups within the orchestra (strings in “Strings Attached,” percussion and keyboards in the “Big Bang” concert, winds in “Band in Boston”). For this concert, deploying the full orchestra, BMOP presented works by four living composers, all in attendance, and Orchestra Piece by Leon Kirchner, who died last fall.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Stylus reviews Full Score

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project commissions, performs, and records music of the twentieth and twenty first centuries exclusively, allowing listeners to hear full-sized orchestral performances of modern compositions, previously performed more typically by small groups like the Kronos Quartet and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble.

Stylus Full review
[Press Release] BMOP presents Full Score

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's leading orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing, commissioning, and recording new music, will present its final concert of the 2009-10 season, Full Score, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street), on Friday, May 28 at 8:00pm. After three instrument-centric performances ("Big Bang" for percussion, "Band in Boston" for winds, and "Strings Attached" for strings), the BMOP season will culminate with a full orchestral program uniting over 70 musicians and guest baritone Sanford Sylvan.

Full review
[Concert Review] Boston Modern revels in conservatory connection

That rather gaudy sign in Jordan Hall reading “New England Conservatory” is intended to remind audiences of the institution where this acoustic jewel is located. Rarely is its presence so apt as during the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s annual “Boston ConNECtion” concert, recognizing the ongoing relationship between the ensemble and the school. The 11th such performance, on Saturday, was a typically substantial affair, dexterously played by the ensemble and conducted with authority by Gil Rose.

The Boston Globe Full review