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.” (Marc Medwin, 2015)
A student of David Burge at the Eastman School, Marilyn Nonken received a Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia University. Her monograph The Spectral Piano (Cambridge University Press, 2015) has been 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). She has contributed chapters to Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music and Messiaen Perspectives (both Ashgate). She guest edited the issue of Contemporary Music Review “Performers on Performance” and has contributed articles to the Journal of the Institute for Studies in American Music, Journal of Hand Therapy, Perspectives of New Music, Current Musicology, Ecological Psychology, and Music and Medicine.
Marilyn Nonken’s performances have been presented at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and Roulette (New York), IRCAM and the Théâtre Bouffe du Nord (Paris), the ABC (Melbourne), Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano (Santiago), the Music Gallery (Toronto), the Phillips Collection, and Menil Collection, and conservatories and universities around the world. Festival appearances include Résonances and the Festival d'Automne (Paris), When Morty Met John, Making Music, Works and Process, Composers Now, and NYX II: New York Prog and Experimental Music Festival (New York), American Sublime (Philadelphia), The Festival of New American Music (Sacramento), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Aspects des Musiques d'Aujourd-hui (Caen), Messiaen 2008 (Birmingham, UK), ATEMPO (Caracas), New Music Days (Ostrava), Musikhøst (Odense), Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh), Piano Festival Northwest (Portland), Unruly Music (Milwaukee), and the William Kapell International Piano Festival and Competition. Highlights of recent seasons include performances of Hugues Dufourt's Erlkönig, Claude Vivier's Shiraz, and Tristan Murail's complete piano music, as well performances of Olivier Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen in Houston and New York (with Sarah Rothenberg and Peter Hill, respectively). Composers who have written for her include Pascal Dusapin, Michael Finnissy, Joshua Fineberg, Liza Lim, and Tristan Murail. Over the next two concert seasons, she will premiere works written for her by Marcos Balter, Edmund Campion, Richard Carrick, Victoria Cheah, Brian Erickson, Christopher Trapani, and Nina C. Young, and tour in America and Europe with Gerard Grisey's Vortex Temporum.
Marilyn Nonken has recorded for New World Records, Mode, Lovely Music, Albany, Metier, Divine Art, Innova, CRI, BMOP Sound, New Focus, Kairos, Tzadik, and Bridge. Director of Piano Studies and Associate Professor of Music and Music Education at New York University's Steinhardt School. She is a Steinway Artist.