December 15, 2015
Lauded composer Kati Agócs launches her New Year with the January release of a Boston Modern Orchestra Project album presenting five of her works, including The Debrecen Passion featuring the vocal group Lorelei Ensemble. It’s the first album to be devoted wholly to her music, following a multi-season, kindred-spirit collaboration with BMOP and its conductor Gil Rose. On January 24, there will also be a live showcase of her music – including a world premiere – with the portrait concert “Strength in Fragility – Chamber Music of Kati Agócs,” to be performed by Hub New Music at Boston’s Jordan Hall. Looking ahead to the spring, the composer will have two major works performed in Toronto in the space of a week: the Cecilia String Quartet will give the world premiere of her first string quartet on April 4, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will perform her Perpetual Summer on April 6 and 8. The Boston Globe has described her music as having “fluidity and austere beauty … dispersing energy in unexpected ways.”
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Along with The Debrecen Passion – a piece she composed expressly for BMOP and Lorelei Ensemble – the new Agócs album also includes Vessel, Requiem Fragments, By the Streams of Babylon and …like treasure hidden in a field. Three of the five works feature voices. Reviewing the world premiere of The Debrecen Passion, the Boston Classical Review noted that the composer “twisted rising vocal lines into radiant cluster chords, a sound capable of expressing either intense lament or exultation.” In her liner notes, Agócs writes: “The works on this album are linked by a single thread: They all have religious or mystical themes. I hope that listeners come away with a sense of sacred music as a vital medium, and of the orchestra as an urgent and luminous proponent.”
The first concert of the New Year to feature music by Agócs will be on January 17 in Miami, with the New World Symphony Fellows presenting her chamber work Devotion. The “Strength in Fragility – Chamber Music of Kati Agócs” program in Boston a week later will include the world premiere of a new work for two sopranos and percussion. On January 28 in New York City, Anthony Bracewell will perform her piece for solo viola, Versprechen (Promise), to help celebrate the centennial of one of her key teachers, Milton Babbitt, as part of the Focus! festival.
The Agócs concerts in Toronto underscore the composer’s close ties to Canada, as she holds citizenship in that country as well as in the U.S. and Hungary. Along with the unveiling of her first string quartet, titled Talisman, by the Cecilia String Quartet at the University of Toronto, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Søndergård will perform her work Perpetual Summer, which she originally composed for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s 50th Anniversary. Later in the spring, the Third Sound Ensemble will perform her Immutable Dreams on May 15 at New York’s St. Bartholomew’s Church (as part of a re-performance of November’s official U.S. artistic delegation program in Cuba – the first concert of American music there since the revolution). And on June 4, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet will perform Hymn with video projections at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.
About Kati Agócs
Performed by leading musicians across the globe, the music of Kati Agócs merges lapidary rigor with sensuous lyricism. The American Academy of Arts and Letters recently awarded her their lifetime achievement award, the Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice. The Academy cited “music that seems to come directly from nature … a wonderfully accessible lyricism … unfolds with both drama and complexity, and takes risks with both the ideas and the use of the instruments.” Agócs has served on the composition faculty at the New England Conservatory since 2008.
Kati Agócs: performances in early 2016
New World Center
New World Symphony Fellows chamber music concert
Members of the New World Symphony
“Strength in Fragility – Chamber Music of Kati Agócs”
Portrait concert featuring new work for two sopranos and percussion (world premiere)
Hub New Music (and guest artists)
New York, NY
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Focus! 2016 Festival: “Milton Babbitt’s World: A Centennial Celebration”
Anthony Bracewell, viola
Walter Hall, University of Toronto
Talisman (world premiere)
Cecilia String Quartet
April 6, 8
Roy Thomson Hall
Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Søndergård, conductor
New York, NY
St. Bartholomew’s Church
Third Sound Ensemble
Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater
PRISM Saxophone Quartet
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© 21C Media Group, December 2015