Nico Muhly

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Nico Muhly in 2014

Nico Muhly (/ˈnk ˈmjuːli/; born August 26, 1981) is an American contemporary classical music composer and arranger,[1] who has worked and recorded with classical and pop/rock musicians. He currently lives in the Lower East Side section of Manhattan in New York City. He is a member of the Icelandic music collective/recording label Bedroom Community.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Muhly was born in Vermont and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother, Bunny Harvey, is a painter and teacher at Wellesley College, and his father, Frank Muhly, is a documentary filmmaker.[2]

As a child, Muhly sang in the choir at Grace Episcopal Church in Providence,[3] and he started to study piano at 10.[2]

Muhly went on to study at The Wheeler School in Providence. He then attended Columbia University where he received an undergraduate degree in English, and the Juilliard School where he completed a Master's degree in Music. He also studied composition with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse.

Musical works[edit]

In 2005, Muhly was commissioned by Colorado Academy, a private school in Colorado, to write a song for the opening of their new Fine Arts building.

Muhly worked in collaboration with Björk on the DVD single "Oceania" in 2004,[4] and he worked with Philip Glass as an editor, conductor, and keyboardist.[4]

In 2006, he released his first album of works, titled Speaks Volumes. In 2008, he released his second album, titled Mothertongue.

In 2009, Muhly did choral and string quartet arrangements for four of the songs on Brooklyn-based indie rock band Grizzly Bear's third album, Veckatimest,[5] and he worked with Antony and the Johnsons on the albums The Crying Light and Swanlights.

In a 2007 interview with Molly Sheridan on NewMusicBox, Muhly explained that while he considers himself a classical music composer that does not preclude him from working a variety of musical genres: "It’s essentially like being from somewhere. I feel like I’m very proudly from the classical tradition. It’s like being from Nebraska. Like you are from there if you’re from there. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a productive life somewhere else. The notion of your genre being something that you have to actively perform, I think is pretty vile."[6]

Muhly worked on two commissions for UK-based Britten Sinfonia, performed in January and February 2010.

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival commissioned "Drones & Piano" for pianist Bruce Brubaker. The piece premiered in May 2010.[7]

Muhly's opera Two Boys, a collaboration with librettist Craig Lucas and directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered in June 2011 at the English National Opera and made its Metropolitan Opera debut on October 21, 2013.[8][9][10] According to a 2008 New York Times article, the opera is based on a late-1990s British case involving a 14-year-old boy taking on the online identity of women to try to get someone to kill him, without success.[11] However, in a 2008 interview with The Advocate, Muhly stated that the opera is based on the true story of an online friendship between two male teenagers, one of whom kills the other.[2] The opera was re-worked both before and after its 2011 premiere.

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Commissioning Club, Cantus, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Alfred P. and Ann M. Moore commissioned "Luminous Body", also a collaboration with librettist Craig Lucas. The piece premiered on September 9, 2011.[12]

In 2013, he toured with Glen Hansard. They performed together with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

Compositions and projects[edit]

Choral

  • 2003 Set Me as a Seal
  • 2004 First Service
  • 2004 Like as the Hart
  • 2005 A Good Understanding
  • 2005 Bright Mass With Canons
  • 2005 Expecting the Main Things from You
  • 2005 I Cannot Attain Unto It
  • 2006 The Sweets of Evening
  • 2007 Syllables
  • 2008 Pater Noster
  • 2008 Senex Puerum Portabat
  • 2009 I Drink the Air Before Me
  • 2011 Luminous Body
  • 2011 Grief is the Price We Pay for Love
  • 2013 An Outrage (BBC commission)

Film

Opera

Incidental

  • 2005 Iphegenia at Aulis (Gweek Project)
  • 2007 The Magnificent Cuckold
  • 2008 Prayer for My Enemy

Orchestra

  • 2001–2002 Fits & Bursts
  • 2003 Out of the Loop
  • 2004 By All Means
  • 2004 So to Speak
  • 2006 It Remains to be Seen
  • 2006 Wish You Were Here
  • 2007 From Here on Out
  • 2007 Seeing is Believing
  • 2008 Step Team
  • 2009 The Only Tune
  • 2009 Drones on O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless
  • 2009 Vocalise on Al lampo dell' armi
  • 2009 Impossible Things
  • 2010 Detailed Instructions
  • 2011 Luminous Body
  • 2012 So Far So Good
  • 2012 Gait (BBC commission)
  • 2013 Bright Mass with Cannons

Piano

  • 2003 Three Études for Piano
  • 2005 A Hudson Cycle
  • 2005 Pillaging Music
  • 2007 Skip Town
  • 2010 Drones & Piano

Percussion

  • 2002 Beaming Music
  • 2003 Time after Time
  • 2004 It's About Time
  • 2005 Ta & Clap
  • 2008 I Shudder to Think

Small ensemble

  • 2002 Beaming Music
  • 2003 Clear Music
  • 2003 Flexible Music
  • 2003 Duet No 1: Chorale Pointing Downwards
  • 2003 Reading into it
  • 2004 By All Means[13]
  • 2004 You Could Have Asked Me
  • 2004 Ta and Clap
  • 2005 The Elements of Style
  • 2005 Stride
  • 2005 Pillaging Music
  • 2006 How About Now
  • 2007 I Know Where Everything Is
  • 2007 Principles of Uncertainty
  • 2008 Triade
  • 2008 Mothertongue
  • 2008 Wonders
  • 2008 The Only Tune
  • 2008 Common Ground
  • 2009 I Drink the Air Before Me
  • 2009 Motion
  • 2009 Farewell Photography
  • 2010 Drones & Piano
  • 2011 Drones & Viola
  • 2012 Drones & Violin
  • ? Fast Music with Folk Songs
  • 2012 Planetarium

Solo

  • 2002 Radiant Music
  • 2003 Honest Music[14]
  • 2003 A Long Line
  • 2005 Keep in Touch
  • 2005 Pillaging Music
  • 2005 It Goes without Saying

Voice

  • 2003 Employment
  • 2005 The Elements of Style
  • 2007 Mothertongue
  • 2007 Wonders
  • 2007 The Only Tune
  • 2008 The Adulteress
  • 2009 Drones on "O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless"
  • 2009 Vocalise on "Al lampo dell' armi"
  • 2009 Impossible Things

Arrangements and orchestrations[edit]

Recordings[edit]

  • 2007 – Speaks Volumes (Bedroom Community HVALUR1) (Includes Clear Music; It Goes without Saying; Honest Music; Quiet Music; Pillaging Music; A Hudson Cycle and Keep in Touch)
  • 2008 – Joshua (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by various artists (Moviescore Media)
  • 2008 – Mothertongue (Bedroom Community HVALUR5CD) (Includes Mothertongue I: Archive; Mothertongue II: Shower; Mothertongue III: Hress; Mothertongue IV: Monster; Wonders: I. New Things & New Tidings; Wonders: II. The Devil Appear'd in the Shape of a Man; Wonders: III. A Complaint against Thomas Weelkes; The Only Tune: I. The Two Sisters; The Only Tune: II. The Old Mill Pond; and The Only Tune: III. The Only Tune)
  • 2009 – The Reader (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by various artists (Lakeshore Records)
  • 2010 – I Drink the Air Before Me (Bedroom Community HVALUR10, Decca/Universal Classics 478 257)
  • 2010 – A Good Understanding by Los Angeles Master Chorale (also includes five other choral works) (Decca/Universal Classics 478 250)[18]
  • 2011 – Seeing is Believing by the Aurora Orchestra (Decca/Universal Classics 478 273. Released 10 June 2011.
  • 2012 – Drones with Bruce Brubaker (piano), Nadia Sirota (viola) and Pekka Kuusisto (violin) (Bedroom Community HVALUR16)
  • 2013 - Cycles with James McVinnie, (organ), Nadia Sirota (viola), Chris Thompson (percussion) and Simon Wall, tenor (Bedroom Community HVALUR19)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nico Muhly Biography, Nicomuhly.com, retrieved 2012-12-06 
  2. ^ a b c Richards, Charlie. Boy Wonder, The Advocate, 12 August 2008, Retrieved on 11 February 2010
  3. ^ Muhly, Nico. "Choral sex," The Guardian, April 27, 2007. Retrieved from Guardian.co.uk on 2 March 2008
  4. ^ a b Davies, Lucie (August 20–27, 2008), Nico Muhly, Now: Vol. 27, Number 51, retrieved 22 May 2009 
  5. ^ Muhly, Nico (1 March 2009), The Latest News, Nico Muhly, retrieved 5 March 2009 
  6. ^ "Defining Nico Muhly" NewMusicBox, March 2007
  7. ^ Nico Muhly work to be given world premiere at Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Muso, 29 April 2010, retrieved 31 December 2010 
  8. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2010-02-13). "Muhly and Lucas's Opera First Met-Lincoln Center Project". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Sher to Stage Lucas-Muhly Opera at the Met and English National Opera". Playbill.com. 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  10. ^ "Does Nico Muhly's new opera live up to the hype?" by Michael White, The Daily Telegraph (28 June 2011)
  11. ^ Wakin, Daniel (27 August 2008), Pop Singer Drops Plan to Compose for the Met, The New York Times: E1, retrieved 13 October 2008 
  12. ^ Luminous Body (world premiere, SPCO commission), SPCO, 9 September 2011 
  13. ^ Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra program notes, Laco.org
  14. ^ "Honest Music, Nico Muhly". Chesternovello.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  15. ^ "Suspended Domain". Confessions-tour.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  16. ^ Wood, Mikael (20 January 2009), Review: Antony and the Johnsons' The Crying Light, Boston Phoenix 
  17. ^ "Run Rabbit Run | Asthmatic Kitty Records". Asthmatickitty.com. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  18. ^ "Culture Monster". The Los Angeles Times. 18 June 2010. 

External links[edit]