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Daniel Baer Sung Chang Yi-Yang Chen  

Tzu-Yin Huang Suejin Melanie Jung Mi-Eun Kim 

Mackenzie Melemed Alan Woo Lishan Xue Shichao Zhang

Piano Work Commissioned for 2017 Iowa Piano Competition

(Sioux City, IA) The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra has commissioned composer, Kati Agócs to create a solo piano piece to be used during the 9th Iowa Piano Competition (IPC) March 9 – March 12, 2017 at the Orpheum Theatre.

Canadian composer, Kati Agócs' work for solo piano, Ambrosiana, will be featured and performed by all semi-finalists during the second round of the IPC held on Saturday, March 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Iowa Piano Competition is one of today's most competitive and exciting international piano competitions in the United States. With three rounds of competition and $14,000 thousand dollars of prize money awarded, the IPC has for years featured the greatest, young pianists performing today from around the world.

Kati Agocs

Composer, Kati Agócs
"One of the brightest stars in her generation of composers" (Audiophile Audition), Kati Agócs writes music that is heard with increasing regularity across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her diverse and growing body of work is hailed for merging sensuous allure with lapidary rigor and delivers a searing emotional impact. The Boston Globe has praised its elegance, citing "music of fluidity and austere beauty" with "a visceral intensity of expression" and encouraging audience members to "go, listen, and be changed." The New York Times has characterized her chamber music as "striking" and her vocal music as possessing "an almost nineteenth-century naturalness." 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.

Music by Kati Agócs has been commissioned and performed by many premier ensembles and organizations including the Toronto Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Lontano (London, U.K.), the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal, the New Juilliard Ensemble, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and the multiple Grammy-award winning ensemble eighth blackbird, who toured the U.S. with her Immutable Dreams. Recent commissions include Devotion for the 50th Anniversary of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; Tantric Variations for the Cecilia String Quartet; Vessel for New York's Metropolis Ensemble; Requiem Fragments for the CBC Radio Orchestra; Perpetual Summer for the 50th Anniversary of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Elysium, premiered by the National Arts Center Orchestra at the 2010 Winter Olympics; the short orchestral fanfare Shenanigan commissioned by James Sommerville for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, "a hoedown whirl of symphonic fun... a burst of party energy" (The Toronto Star); and Crystallography, commissioned by Canada's Standing Wave Ensemble and noted by Vancouver Classical Music for its "wondrous ease and flow" and "exotic rhythms."

Program Notes:

Ambrosiana was commissioned by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra for performance in the Semi-Finalist round of the 2017 Iowa Piano Competition. The piece takes the form of a toccata for solo piano on an original tune: the opening melody from my 2015 work for chorus and orchestra The Debrecen Passion. It was common for composers of the Baroque era such as J.S. Bach to work with their own material - -particularly if they felt that they had more to say with it - - and it is in that spirit that I approached this work. With a distinctly vocal quality, Ambrosiana treats my original melody (a setting of a poem by the Hungarian poet Szilárd Borbély called "if I could.....") in a free, rhapsodic way, drawing upon sonorities in the setting that are rich and luscious (ie. ambrosial) and amplifying them as pianistic colour. The title is a made-up word derived from "Ambrosia," which means "undying." In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Ambrosia was the food of the gods. It had purifying, healing, and cleansing powers, but was only consumed in small quantities. Ambrosiana is a little over six minutes in duration.

-Kati Agócs

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