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Dr. Zvonimir Nagy

Assistant Professor, Composition
Mary Pappert School of Music

School of Music, Room 2Q
Phone: 412.396.5494



D.M., Northwestern University, 2009
M.M., Artist Diploma, Texas Christian University, 2005
B.M., Academy of Music, University of Zagreb, 1999

Dr. Zvonimir Nagy (pronounced /nadj;/) holds bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in music from the Academy of Music-University of Zagreb, Texas Christian University, and Northwestern University respectively. He studied composition with Jay Alan Yim, Augusta Read Thomas, Tristan Murail, and Marko Ruždjak; music theory and cognition with Robert Gjerdingen; and computer music with Gary Kendall. Dr. Nagy previously provided instruction in composition at Northwestern University, and has taught music theory, composition, and improvisation at St. Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. He has presented his music and research at numerous music conferences, symposia, and colloquia. His creative and scholarly work explores interdisciplinary connections between musical composition, embodied music cognition, and musical creativity.

Dr. Nagy is the recipient of numerous composition awards such as the Seattle Symphony Composition Prize, the Iron Composer Award, the Swan Prize in Music Composition from the University of Minnesota, and the Croatian Music Institute Award. He has written for and received commissions from the Seattle Symphony, the musicians from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, pianists Geoffrey Burleson and David Kalhous, Boston Choral Ensemble, Alia Musica Ensemble, First Reading Project Ensemble, Trio Jónio, Cleveland Contemporary Chamber Players, Fused Muse Ensemble, and JACK Quartet, among others. A selection of his instrumental music is published by Musik Fabrik Edition (France), and selected vocal and organ works are available at Paraclete Press and World Library Publications. A CD recording of his works for solo piano is released on MSR Classics "Discover Series."

Dr. Nagy's research focus is on various contexts and critical perspectives on musical creativity. In his exploration of creativity in musical composition he investigates the psychological and physiological attributes of creative musical arts whose associations become the foundation of embodiment in music. In his forthcoming book on the embodiment of musical creativity (Ashgate, 2015-16) he explores how creative awareness is shaped by composition, performance, and perception of music. In addition, he is also interested in the perceptual organization of sound, theoretical modeling of musical structure, and interactivity. He is the recipient of Duquesne University Presidential Award for scholarship in music composition and performance studies. Also an organist, pianist, and chamber musician, his interests are in contemporary music and improvisation. He serves as organist at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling, WV.

Nagy resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, Haley and son Luka.


Musicianship III Written and Aural/Oral
Musicianship IV Written and Aural/Oral
Form and Analysis
Introduction to Composition
Music Since 1950
Perspectives on Musical Creativity


Alia Musica Ensemble Commission - Angel Antiphons (2013) for large ensemble
Duquesne University Presidential Scholarship Award (2013)
Seattle Symphony Composition Prize - Suizen (2012) for shakuhachi flute and orchestra
BBC/Aberdeen Music Composition Prize Finalist - Ayres (2011) for trumpet and string quartet
Iron Composer Competition Winner - Vox Reginæ Organalis (2011) for organ and music box
American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition Finalist - Intimate Stream[s] (2010) for string quartet
St. Xavier University Composition Grant (2010)
Swan Prize in Music Composition - Cantus Jubilus (2011) for unaccompanied choir and soloists
César Franck International Organ Competition, 2nd prize (2010)
Karlins Prize in Music Composition - Vestiges (2009) for piano solo
David Kalhous Piano Commission - ... of the lake I (2007)
Trinity Church Commission. Wilmette, IL - Abide in Love (2007) for choir and ensemble
Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition, Corpus Christi, TX. 1st prize (2006)
Durington Award in Music Composition - And so she said... (2005) for piano solo
Texas Music Teachers National Association Composition Competition, 3rd prize - Somewhere Else (2005) for string quartet
Hall National Organ Competition Finalist (2005)
Darko Lukic Young Artist Award, Zagreb, Croatia (2003)
Juraj Haulik Music Award. Croatian Music Institute, Zagreb, Croatia (2002)
Martin Memorial International Piano Competition, 3rd prize (1999)
Quartet Slavonsky Commission - Discussions (1999) for string quartet
Croatian National Piano Competition, 2nd prize (1999)
Commission by violinist Vlatka Peljhan and pianist Srebrenka Poljak - Valse Burlesque (1998) for violin and piano
Choral Composition Award. The Diocese of Srijem, Đakovo, Croatia (1993)





Vestiges Works for Solo Piano

MSR Classics CD "Discover Series" MS1515


Angel and the Child (in progress) opera
Vir Heroicus Sublimis (in progress) orchestra
Angel Antiphons (2013) large ensemble 2013
Concealments (2013) harp
And so she said... II (2013) sound installation
Eternal Peace (2013) unaccompanied choir. Paraclete Press, forthcoming 2014
Verset (2012) organ solo. Paraclete Press, 2013.
Suizen (2012) shakuhachi (flute ad lib.) & symphony orchestra
Mercy Antiphons (2012) choir and organ
Chartres Fantasy (2012) organ
Theme and Variations (2012) organ
Carried with the Wind (2012) woodwind quintet
Preludes for a Prayer I-VII (2012) for organ solo. Paraclete Press, forthcoming 2014
Pax Æterna (2012) unaccompanied choir
Carol Lullaby (2012) unaccompanied choir. Paraclete Press, forthcoming 2014
Angel Annunciation (2012) violoncello and piano
God of Light (2012) children's choir and organ. World Library Publications, Pueri Cantores Series, 2013
Ayres (2011) trumpet and string quartet
Eyes of Mercy (2011) unaccompanied choir. World Library Publications, 2013
Echoes (2011) violin and orchestra
Enchantments (1998-2011) for piano trio. Musik Fabrik France, forthcoming 2014
Evocation (2011) organ
Litanies of the Soul (2011) organ
De Animæ (2011) organ
... of the lake II (2010) piano
Urban Fragments (2010) flute, clarinet, cello and piano
Gaudete Versets (2010) choir and organ
Cantus Jubilus (2010) unaccompanied choir and soloists
Lætare Vox (2010) unaccompanied voice
Concealments (2009) version for piano and multimedia
Sonoris Vocibus (2009) unaccompanied choir
A Book of Hours (2009) piano
Chant of the Spirits (2009) soprano and percussion
Zvon[y] (2009) carillon
Litany of the Self (2009) violoncello and piano
De Harmonia Animæ (2009) organ
Rituals (1995-2008) organ
Intimate Stream[s] (2008) string quartet
Rose (2008) unaccompanied men's choir
Pax Æterna (2007) unaccompanied women's choir
... of the lake I (2007) piano
Prelude for a Prayer (2007) organ
Inner Self (2007) organ
Abide in Love (2007) choir and ensemble
Quasi Rosa (2007) soprano and organ
Call to Prayer (2007) unaccompanied choir. World Library Publications, 2013
Vocalise (2007) organ. Paraclete Press, 2013
Passage of an Icy Dream (2006) clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano 2006
Silence (2006) unaccompanied choir
Croquis (2006) marimba and electronics
Performativities (2006) string quartet
Christmas Prelude (2006) organ. Paraclete Press, forthcoming 2014
Caritas (2005) unaccompanied choir
Shadowinds (2005) woodwind quintet
Pharos (2005) large orchestra, choir and computerized sound
On a Lantern (2005) clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano
Iridescence (2005) version for oboe & marimba
Nox (2005) organ
And so she said... I (2005) piano
Narthex (2005) organ
Vestiges (2003) piano
Touched (2003) piano
Illusion (2002) piano
Trois Visages (2001) piano
Discussions (1998) string quartet
Valse Burlesque (1998) violin and piano
Sonata (1998) piano


Embodiment of Musical Creativity: The Cognitive and Performative Causality of Musical Composition (Ashgate Publishing Limited, forthcoming 2015-16)


The Apperception of Musical Creativity: Performance as Ritual, Composition as Self-Realization (Creativity Research Journal, 2014)


Spatiality of Musical form: The Spiral as a Metaphor for Structural Organization (Proceedings of the International Meeting for Chamber Music, 2013)

Derivation of Pitch Constructs from the Principles of Tone Perception (Proceedings of the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition/ Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences in Music, 2012)


The Perceptual Dimensions of Timbre and Timbre Blending (2008)

Finding Sonance (2007)

Harmonic Space as Defined by an Autopoietic System (2006)

Musical Pattern and Meaning in Chopin's Ballade no. 1 (2006)

Comparison of Methods of Notation Intended to Convey the Impression of Rhythmic Complexity (2005)

Sensory Sonance as an Element of Musical Harmony (2005)

The Structure and Style in Murail's L'Esprit des Dunes (2003)


De Harmonia Animæ: Harmony Within Sound: A Spiritual Quest (2009, D.M. Dissertation, Northwestern University)


"Extemporaneous Sublime: Indeterminacy and Transience of the Improvised Moment." American Guild of Organists National Convention. Boston, 2014.

"Ligeti's White on White: Embodied Cognition of the Compositional Process." Conference Symposium and Festival: Celebrating the Musical Legacy of György Ligeti. Tallahassee, 2013.

"From Soul - within Sound - to Self." 2nd International Conference of Spirituality and Music Education: Spirituality, Music and Education in a Cultural Context. Vilnius, Lithuania, 2013.

"Performance as Ritual; Creativity as Prayer." Conference Symposium on Charles Tournemire - The Aesthetics and Pedagogy of Charles Tournemire: Chant and Improvisation in the Liturgy. Pittsburgh, 2012.

"Derivation of Pitch Constructs from the Principles of Tone Perception." 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition/8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences in Music. Thessaloniki, Greece. July 2012.