Works for Solo Piano

Zvonimir Nagy


DISCOVER SERIES [World Premiere Recordings]



“[His works] flow together in evocative and sometimes rather mysterious modern ways, showing a dramatically expressive cast that recalls Scriabin and Messiaen perhaps, a hint of Stockhausen perchance, Ives possibly, but only as stylistic touchpoints. Nagy has an originality and a pronounced presence that belies influences and goes a good way to giving the listener something with its own aesthetic unity... I found the whole CD highly interesting, very colorful and a definite advance in the modern realm of solo piano works. Take the plunge and check this music out. With the requisite attention it will take you to interesting places both far away and deeply near. Definitely recommended!”
Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical Review [August 2015]
“[Zvonimir Nagy] employs an impressive range of musical activity. From glacially slow, light ambience to a simultaneously wild and dense eruption of sound, Nagy’s work is anything but monotonous. Even the way he fills these textures varies from lyrical, expressive lines to sparse pointillism. The harmonies are highly dissonant but never muddy… If you don’t know his music already, I encourage you to listen.”
Adams, American Record Guide [May/June 2015]
The pieces on this album of solo piano music are arranged in an infinite loop of interwoven historical
threads. Earlier pieces mingle provocatively with later ones, and the final and most recent work on
the album, of the lake III (2014), ends with an inversion of the sparse opening notes of the first work,
of the lake I (2007, rev. 2014). The last piece could lead seamlessly into the first, making it possible
for us to circumnavigate the loop again. Listeners may enjoy playing the album on “repeat” in order
to take full advantage of this arrangement, but to understand the evolution of Nagy’s music over
the 16-year period covered here (1998-2014), it may be best to consider the works in the order in
which they were composed. From that perspective, we may observe Nagy’s progression away from
traditional musical rhetoric and toward a kind of music that encourages a contemplative resting
in time – that is, away from becoming and toward being. The common element in all of this is an
intense, abiding, almost ethical obsession with harmonic color.

Croatian-born Zvonimir Nagy (pronounced nadj) is an accomplished composer and performer.
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nagy is the recipient of numerous composition awards, such as
the Seattle Symphony Composition Prize, Iron Composer Award, Swan Prize in Music Composition
from the University of Minnesota and Croatian Music Institute Award. His Vestiges received the Karlins Award in Musical Composition from Northwestern University and And so she said... received the Durington Composition Award from Texas Christian University. Nagy has written for, and received commissions from, the Seattle Symphony, musicians from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, pianists Geoffrey Burleson and David Kalhous, Boston Choral Ensemble, Alia Musica Ensemble, Reed III Ensemble, First Reading Project Ensemble, Triano Quintet, Trio Jónio, Cleveland Contemporary Chamber Players, Fused Muse Ensemble and JACK Quartet, among others.

In his creative work Nagy explores compositional morphologies that reflect the fine line between tradition and innovation. Nagy views the process of composition as an investigation into the structure of the musical imagination: a creative endeavor involving both intellectual and emotional reasoning. Nagy’s compositions are informed by cognitive music theory and the aesthetics of music. Developed as a result of his study of the perceptual affinity of tones, his compositions employ a harmonic language that is based on the cognitive attributes of pitch relationships and musical harmony. This results in a unique and personal sound world that continues to permeate his musical compositions.
Nagy earned a Doctor of Music degree in composition from Northwestern University, and also studied at Texas Christian University and at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, Croatia. He studied
composition with Jay Alan Yim, Augusta Read Thomas and Marko RuĹždjak in the university setting, and with Oliver Knussen and Tristan Murail privately and in master classes. He studied piano with Tamás Ungár, Sergueï Markarov, Euegen Indjic, and Damir Sekošan. Currently Assistant Professor of Music at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music in Pittsburgh, Nagy previously provided instruction in composition at Northwestern University, and he has taught music theory, composition, and improvisation at St. Xavier University in Chicago. He has presented his music and scholarly work at numerous music conferences, symposia and colloquia. [ www.nagymusic.com ]

Equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and jazz performer, pianist Geoffrey Burleson has performed to wide acclaim throughout North America and Europe. Burleson’s concerto appearances include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Boston Musica Viva and the Holland Symfonia in the Netherlands. He has also appeared as a featured soloist at the Bard Music Festival, Monadnock Music Festival, Santander Festival in Spain, Arcidosso Festival in Italy and Talloires International Festival in France. He is currently principal pianist with Boston Musica Viva and the Tribeca New Music Festival. Burleson holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory and Stony Brook University. He teaches piano at Princeton University and is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College-City University of New York. Active as a recording artist, he is currently engaged in a 5-CD series for the Naxos Grand Piano label, releasing the complete piano works of Camille Saint-Saëns. Early volumes have received high acclaim from Gramophone, International Record Review, Diapason and elsewhere, and International Piano Choice Awards from International Piano Magazine. [ www.geoffreyburleson.com ]

As a member of Ensemble Dal Niente, pianist Mabel Kwan is active in performances and education
outreach throughout the concert season. She performed with Dal Niente at the 45th International
Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany, where they received a Kranichstein Stipend
Prize, the first ever awarded to an ensemble. She and percussionist Andrew Bliss are founding
members of the duo Nothing in Common, which performed at the Intermedia Festival at IUPUI and the SEAMUS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as well as at universities and concert venues throughout the Midwest. Kwan has given solo recitals at the Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and as part of the Experimental Piano Series produced by the Chicago Composers Forum
and Pianoforte Chicago. She champions the works of artists from her generation and has enjoyed
collaborations with Liminal Performance Group and the Poetry Foundation. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Mabel received performance degrees from Rice University and Northern Illinois University. [ www.mkwan.com ]

A selection Zvonimir Nagy’s instrumental music is published by Musik Fabrik Edition, and selected vocal and organ works by Paraclete Press and World Library Publications. [ www.nagymusic.com ]
of the lake I (2007, rev. 2014)
Illusion (2002)
And so she said… (2005)*
Vestiges (2003-2004)**
of the lake II (2010)
touché (touched) (2003)
Canon – Inner Self (2007)
Sonata (1998)
of the lake III (2014)

* Recipient of the Durington Composition Award
** Recipient of the Karlins Prize in Musical Composition

MSR Classics