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zvonimir nagy

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., Texas Christian University, 2005
A.D., Texas Christian University, 2003
B.M., Academy of Music, University of Zagreb, 1999

Dr. Zvonimir Nagy is a Croatian-born composer and music scholar. His creative and scholarly work extends into interdisciplinary contexts and perspectives on musical creativity and sound studies, forging connections between music composition, theory, psychology, technology, and performance.

Nagy's compositions are informed by embodied music cognition, while recent works are influenced by post-minimalism and spectral music. He is the recipient of 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 also written for and received commissions from the Seattle Symphony, musicians from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Choral Ensemble, Alia Musica Ensemble, Reed III Ensemble, First Reading Project Ensemble, Triano Quintet, Trio Jónio, 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 through Paraclete Press. Vestiges, a CD recording featuring works for solo piano is available on the MSR Classics label.

As a scholar, Nagy's research interests are embodied music cognition, cognitive music theory, sound studies, music and ritual, musical space, musical creativity, and pedagogy of compositional creativity. His book monograph, entitled "Embodiment of Musical Creativity: The Cognitive and Performative Causality of Musical Composition" (Ashgate, 2016) offers an innovative look at the interdisciplinary nature of creativity in musical composition. His current work centers on questions of the perceptual affinity of tones, self-referentiality of musical harmony, and issues of ritual and repetition in music. He is the recipient of Duquesne University Presidential Award for scholarship in music composition and performance studies.

Nagy's teaching interests are in traditional and contemporary compositional practice, 20th century music theory, formal analysis, orchestration, improvisation, musical creativity, psychology of music (perception and cognition), computer applications, electroacoustic music, sound studies, rudiments of music, ear training, tonal and chromatic harmony, counterpoint, musical acoustics, and aesthetics of music.

As an organist, pianist, and chamber musician, his interests are in contemporary music, improvisation, and interactive media. He has performed throughout the United States and Europe; he serves as Organist at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling, WV.

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

For more information, please visit www.nagymusic.com


Graduate Courses
Perspectives on Musical Creativity GMLI 557
Music Since 1950 GMTH 558
Orchestration GMTH 540
Form and Analysis GMTH 533

Undergraduate Courses
Form and Analysis MUSC 431
Composition II MUSC 352
Composition I MUSC 252
Electronic Composition (Private Lessons) MUTK 315
Musicianship III Written and Aural-Oral MUSC 201-202
Musicianship IV Written and Aural-Oral MUSC 211-212


Society for Music Theory Subvention Grant (2015)
Choral Composition Prize (2013), Wicker Park Choral Singers, Chicago IL
Presidential Scholarship Award (2013), Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA
Seattle Symphony Composition Prize (2012), Celebrate Asia Festival, Seattle WA
Sounds New Ensemble Call for Scores (2012), Finalist
MATA Music Festival Commission Competition (2012), Finalist
Finalist for the 2011 BBC/University of Aberdeen Composition Prize (2011), Aberdeen UK
American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition (2011), Finalist
André Marchal International Organ Competition (2011), Semi-Finalist, Biarritz FR
Iron Composer Award (2011), 1st prize
César Franck-Olivier Messiaen International Organ Competition (2010), 2nd prize
Swan Prize in Choral Composition (2011), The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN
Faculty Research Grant (2011), St. Xavier University, Chicago IL
Wyatt Fund Grant (2008), Northwestern University, Evanston IL
Composition Assistance Grant (2008), Northwestern University, Evanston IL
Karlins Prize in Musical Composition (2008), Northwestern University, Evanston IL
Frédéric Chopin International Organ Competition (2006), 1st prize, Corpus Christi TX
Texas Music Teachers National Association Composition Competition (2005), 3rd prize
Hall National Organ Competition (2005), Honorable Mention, San Antonio TX
Durington Composition Award (2005), Texas Christian University, Fort Worth TX
Darko Lukić Young Artist Award for Creative Activity (2003), Vatroslav Lisinski Hall, Zagreb HR
Juraj Haulik Croatian Music Institute Award, Croatian Music Institute (2002), Zagreb HR
Conservatoires de la Ville de Paris Chamber Music Competition (2002), 1st prize, Paris FR


Book Monograph

Embodiment of Musical Creativity: The Cognitive and Performative Causality of Musical Composition, Ashgate (2016)


Vestiges: Works for Solo Piano, MSR Classics "Discover Series" (2014)Featuring Geoffrey Burleson, Mabel Kwan, Zvonimir Nagy

Musical Scores

For a complete list of works, commissions, and performances visit http://www.nagymusic.com/composition/portfolio/

Vestiges for piano (2003) 21' Editions De La Musique Fabrique (2015)
Preludes for a Prayer seven movements for organ (2012) 20' Paraclete Press (2015)
Christmas Prelude for organ (2006) 3' Paraclete Press (2015)
Eternal Peace for unaccompanied SATB or SSAA choir (2013) 5' Paraclete Press (2014)
Carol Lullaby for unaccompanied SATB or SAB choir; SATB choir and flute; treble voices and keyboard (2012) 3' Paraclete Press (2014)
Verset for organ (2012) 4' Paraclete Press (2014)
Vocalise for organ (2007) 4' Paraclete Press (2014)
Collage for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1998, rev. 2014) 7' Editions De La Musique Fabrique (2013)
Eyes of Mercy for unaccompanied SATB choir (2010, rev. 2013) 2' World Library Publications (2014)
Call to Prayer for unaccompanied SATB choir; SAB choir and organ (2007) 3' World Library Publications (2013)
God of Light for children's choir, descant and organ (1994, rev. 2012) 3' World Library Publications "Pueri Cantores Series" (2013)
Enchantments four movements for violin, cello and piano (1998, rev. 2014) 10' Editions De La Musique Fabrique (2013)


The Apperception of Musical Creativity: Performance as Ritual, Composition as Self-Realization, Creativity Research Journal (2015)


Multimodality of Creative Experience: Towards the Embodiment of Musical Creativity, International Conference on the Multimodal Experience of Music, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield UK, 2015

Ligeti's White on White: Embodied Cognition of the Compositional Process, International Festival for Artistic Innovation, Leeds College of Music, Leeds UK, 2014

Extemporaneous Sublime: Indeterminacy and Transience of the Improvised Moment, American Guild of Organists National Conference, Boston MA, 2014

Ligeti's White on White: Embodied Cognition of the Compositional Process, György Ligeti Symposium and Festival, Florida State University, Tallahassee FL, 2013

From Soul-Within Sound-to Self, International Festival on Spirituality and Music Education, The University of Vilnius, Vilnius LT, 2013

Performance as Ritual; Creativity as Prayer, Aesthetics and Pedagogy of Charles Tournemire Symposium, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA, 2012