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Marilyn Nonken

New York, NY            

Upon her 1993 recital debut, Marilyn Nonken was heralded as “a determined protector of important music” (New York Times). Since then, she has been recognized as “one of the greatest interpreters of new music” (American Record Guide). Writes Fanfare: “Her voicings are exquisite, her pedaling throughout is a model to be studied, and, when necessary, her virtuosity is equaled only by the insight and passion with which every piece is imbued.” (2015) She is Director of Piano Studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School, where she is Associate Professor.

Her performances have been presented at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie, (le) Poisson Rouge, and Roulette (New York), IRCAM, Reid Hall, and the Théâtre Bouffe du Nord (Paris), the ABC (Melbourne), Logos Foundation (Ghent), Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano (Santiago), Chicago Cultural Center and Symphony Center, Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia), Phillips Collection (Washington DC), Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel (Houston), and conservatories and universities around the world. Festival appearances include Résonances and the Festival d’Automne (Paris), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Time of Music (Viitasaari), Aspects des Musiques d’Aujourd-hui (Caen), Rencontres Musicales de Jaugette, ATEMPO (Caracas), New Music Days (Ostrava), Musikhøst (Odense), When Morty Met John, Making Music at Carnegie Hall, and Works and Process  (New York), American Sublime (Philadelphia), The Festival of New American Music (Sacramento), Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh), Puerto Piano (San Juan), Piano Festival Northwest (Portland), NUNC! (Chicago), Unruly Music (Milwaukee), and the William Kapell International Piano Festival and Competition. Composers who have written for her include Michael Byron, Edmund Campion, Richard Carrick, Victoria Cheah, Jason Eckardt, Brian Erickson, Michael Finnissy, Michael Kuehn, Liza Lim, Tristan Murail, Arlene Sierra, Christopher Trapani, and Nina C. Young.  

A student of David Burge at Eastman, Marilyn Nonken received a Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia University. Her monograph The Spectral Piano (Cambridge University Press, 2015) was received as “a screaming success …. Few books can boast as much, and it is gratifying to encounter an international concert performer who can make so engaging a discourse around her core repertoire.” (Bob Gilmore, Tempo). 2019 saw  the publication of her second book, Identity and Diversity in New Music: The New Complexities ​(Routledge). She has written chapters for Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano MusicMessiaen Perspectives, and the forthcoming Messiaen in Context and Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music; served as a guest editor for Contemporary Music Review; and contributed articles to numerous journals. 

A Steinway artist, Marilyn Nonken records for New World Records, Mode, Lovely Music, Albany, Metier, Divine Art, Hanging Bell, Harrison House, Innova, CRI, BMOP Sound, New Focus, Kairos, Tzadik, and Bridge.  Forthcoming recordings include Morton Feldman’s complete works for violoncello and piano, with Stephen Marotto (Mode). Upcoming premieres include Michael Byron’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra and a new solo work written for her by Hugues Dufourt.

Michael Byron: Unpolished Wishes

Marilyn Nonken and Joe Kubera play Michael Byron’s “Unpolished Wishes” from “The UltraViolet of Many Parallel Paths” live at Roulette, NYC.

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Christopher Trapani: The Silence of A Falling Star Lights Up A Purple Sky

Marilyn Nonken performs Christopher Trapani’s work for prepared piano solo.

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Tristan Murail: Les Travaux et les jours

Marilyn Nonken plays the fourth movement of this nine-part solo piano cycle, written for her in 2003.

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