BiographyPianist, educator, curator, and new music advocate Marilyn Nonken has been heralded as "a determined protector of important music" (New York Times) and "one of the greatest interpreters of new music" (American Record Guide). Writes Fanfare: “Her virtuosity is equaled only by the insight and passion with which every piece is imbued.” Since 2006, she has been Director of Piano Studies at NYU's Steinhardt School, where she is Associate Professor of Music.
Her performances have been presented by 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 (Ghent), Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano (Santiago), Chicago Cultural Center and Symphony Center, Bowerbird and the 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), Aspects des Musiques d'Aujourd-hui (Caën), Rencontres Musicales de Jaugette, ATEMPO (Caracas), New Music Days (Ostrava), Musikhøst (Odense), When Morty Met John, Making Music, Works and Process, and Composers Now (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. A Steinway artist, she 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.
A student of David Burge at the Eastman School, Marilyn Nonken received a PhD in musicology from Columbia University. Her monograph The Spectral Piano (Cambridge, 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." (Tempo). She has written chapters for Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music, Messiaen Perspectives, and the forthcoming Messiaen in Context and Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music. She has published widely in music journals and served as a guest editor for Contemporary Music Review. She lives on New York’s historic Lower East Side with her husband, two daughters, three cats, and a tortoise.