Exploring the orchestral works of Nico Muhly

Exploring the orchestral works of Nico Muhly
© Photo: Ana Cuba
American composer Nico Muhly (b. 1981) is a sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. Praised for the eclectic and distinctive quality of his music, Muhly is the recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and others. He has written more than 80 works for the concert stage, from operas and choral works to his sizeable contribution to the chamber music and orchestral cannons.

Here are four recent works from Muhly's orchestral catalogue that we hope you'll consider for the 2017-2018 season and beyond.


Mixed Messages (11 minutes)
'Mixed Messages is an eclectic post-Romantic/minimalist fusion, ushered in by whizzing string figurations pitched somewhere between Sibelius and John Adams.'
— Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Commissioned and premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra in May 2015, Mixed Messages will be featured in performance at two different festivals this summer:
Grant Park Music Festival, with Edwin Outwater conducting (July 27, 2016)
Orchestre Metropolitain, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting (August 7, 2016)

Mixed Messages | View Score | Trailer

Control (Five Landscapes for Orchestra) (23 minutes)
'…its five movements…consider various dichotomies — background and foreground, micro and macro, past and present, time and space — in thought-provoking ways.'
— Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune

Control was commissioned and premiered by the Utah Symphony in December 2015. Muhly observed, 'We can control the landscape, but it has a way of reminding us of its permanence.'

Control (Five Landscapes for Orchestra) | View Score | Trailer


Viola Concerto (24 minutes)
Muhly’s dazzling Viola Concerto was commissioned for violist Nadia Sirota by Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Festival de Saint Denis and the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Alexander Shelley, Music Director Designate, and premiered in February 2015.

Viola Concerto | View Score | Trailer

Impossible Things for Tenor, Violin, and Strings (27 minutes)
'…a rich melange of Reich-like minimalist pulse and plangent string chants (plus at one point a Purcell-like slow repeating bass) with Padmore's tenor soaring above. A rich palette, that caught something of Cavafy's "voluptuous tranquility" as well as his anguished intensity.'
— Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

Impossible Things was commissioned by Britten Sinfonia, Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, and Tapiola Sinfonietta and premiered in January 2010.

Impossible Things | View Score | Trailer
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