Joseph Bognar completed undergraduate studies in piano and organ at Valparaiso University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Awarded two university fellowships, he studied piano with internationally renowned accompanist John Wustman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his doctor of musical arts.
Joseph Bognar has served on the faculties of the Maud Powell Music Festival, Lutheran Summer Music, and the Stamford International Music Festival. As a member of the Castillon Piano Trio, he has performed in the United Kingdom, receiving acclaim for “his superb technique … one could only marvel at this talented performer.” (Evening Telegraph, U.K.) His performances with the trio have aired on BBC radio. He toured China with Windiana, Northwest Indiana’s professional wind ensemble, where he appeared as piano soloist in works of Gershwin and Xian. His live performances from Symphony Center, Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center have aired on WFMT-FM.
As a proponent of contemporary music, he has premiered piano solo works of composer Stephen Wilcox throughout the United States, including a performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and has recorded Wilcox’s work for the Capstone record label. He premiered a new piano work by Wilcox in November 2009 for the Santa Barbara Arts Fund. His most recent campus performances have featured some of the most formidable 20th-century works, including Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! and Ives’s Sonata no. 2: Concord, Mass.
He has presented lecture-recitals on the works of Fauré and Schubert. His doctoral research explores Schubert’s compositional self-borrowing in the construction of operatic arias, and his article, “J.C. Bach’s Temistocle: Detecting the Reform Spirit in Eighteenth-Century Opera Seria,” appears in volume XIV of the Music Research Forum. His compositions for organ are published by Augsburg Fortress Press, and he is a contributor to Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century, published by Salem Press.
- Music Teachers National Association
- College Music Society
- American Guild of Organists
- Association of Lutheran Church Musicians
- Contemporary piano music
- Works for piano (four-hands) and two pianos
- The music of Franz Liszt