The Singular Sound Of Nico Muhly

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Thirty-three year-old composer Nico Muhly has turned the classical music world on its head with the sound of drones, the web, the world right now. He joins us.

Composer Nico Muhly. (Courtesy the Artist)
Composer Nico Muhly. (Courtesy the Artist)

Thirty-three-year-old Nico Muhly has made a big splash in a big hurry in the often cloistered world of contemporary classical music.  Work with Iceland’s marvelous eccentric, Bjork?  Done that.  With Sufjian Stevens?  Done that.  With Brooklyn’s indie rockers Grizzly Bear and Hollywood’s indie crowd? Yes.  But also with the Metropolitan Opera and Britten Sinfonia and great symphony orchestras and classical performers.  Wrapping in the sound of ages and the sound of drones.  This hour On Point:  contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Nico Muhly, contemporary classical composer and arranger. His catalogue includes the 2013 opera "Two Boys," the 2007 chamber opera "Dark Sisters" and the albums "Speaks Volumes," "Mothertongue," "I Drink the Air Before Me" and "Drones. (@nicomuhly)

From Tom’s Reading List

New Yorker: Eerily Composed — "Just as, thirty years ago, Phillip Glass and his peers experimented with new modes of performance—“Einstein on the Beach” lasted five hours without intermission, during which the audience was invited to wander in and out—Muhly has an easy familiarity with contemporary media and an openness to being heard through novel means."

Guardian: Facing the music: Nico Muhly — "I own the world’s most fantastic collection of Goldberg Variations played not on the keyboard. Violas da gamba, reeds, accordions, harp, you name it. One of the things about Bach is that once you start ignoring the performance practice crazy people, with their orthodoxies and internecine cattiness, you realise that Bach works despite a saxophone arrangement. That having been said, I put on Slow Late Gould when I am feeling self-indulgent and Fast Early Gouldin moments of controlled mania. If Wendy Carlos got her act together and made a recording I would buy it in one second."

The Wall Street Journal: 2015-16 Met Opera Season to Feature Six New Productions — "Another juicy female role looms in the Met’s future: the title character in 'Marnie,' a new commission by Nico Muhly based on the novel of the same name, which was also made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Playwright Nicholas Wright is doing the libretto and Michael Mayer is directing the opera, a co-production with English National Opera set to come to the Met in 2019-20."


This program aired on March 10, 2015.


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