Getting to spend several days in one of North America’s most vibrant and energetic cities would be a great bookend to a busy semester for anybody but there’s another reason Dr. Kati Agòcs was in New York City this week.
She was there to accept one of her industry’s highest honours.
Dr. Agòcs, who teaches in Memorial’s School of Music, is a 2007 recipient American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Leonard Bernstein Composer Fellowship a highly-coveted prize for musicians.
She received her prize on Dec. 12 at a ceremony at the legendary Lincoln Center.
Garnering the fellowship allowed her to spend time this past summer at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts, an annual summer academy offering intense training for professional musicians.
The fellowships are awarded by a jury of composers based on submitted music, and the potential that the jury perceives.
Dr. Agòcs submitted several pieces that she composed including Immutable Dreams, a quintet which was performed at the centre.
“Tanglewood was an extremely important experience for me because of the tradition involved for composers,” she said before her trip. “It is a rite of passage. Many of the pre-eminent American composers of the past 50 years have been in residence there, and many from Europe as well. I got the chance to work with John Harbison, and to have performances of my chamber music on a high level.”
Dr. Agòcs first came to Memorial in Sept. 2006 on an eight-month appointment before accepting a tenure-track position in May 2007. She said she has been sharing her experiences from the academy with her students ever since. She said she’s “energized” by the young Memorial musicians.
“It’s fulfilling to see them realizing their potential,” she noted. “I look forward to going to work and to seeing my students. I’m not certain that every musician who works in an academic setting feels this way.”
This month’s award is just one in a long list of accomplishments for Dr. Agòcs, a native of Windsor, Ont., who has been making waves on the international music scene for several years.
She came to Memorial after spending a year in Budapest where she was a postdoctoral Fulbright Fellow.
She holds both a doctor of musical arts and a masters degree from New York City’s The Juilliard School.
She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music School, 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.
Her work has been commissioned by organizations such as CBC Radio, Canada Council for the Arts, the Albany Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra and The Juilliard School.