Nico Muhly

Nico Muhly was born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and received a Masters in Music from the Julliard School one year later.

Since receiving his degrees, he has amassed a string of commissions, collaborations, and premieres that would be notable for a composer twice his age. He has written orchestral pieces for the Boston Pops, the Chicago Symphony MusicNOW, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Julliard Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestra, and the American Ballet Theatre (for choreographer Benjamin Millepied).

His works have been premiered on the BBC and at New York’s St. Thomas Church, Carnegie Hall, the Whitney Museum and the New York Public Library – the latter, a special collaboration with designer/illustrator Maira Kalman in honor of her illustrated edition of The Elements of Style. Finally, Muhly has worked extensively with Philip Glass as editor, keyboardist, and conductor for numerous film and stage projects, and contributed to projects by a striking constellation of pop figures, among them Rufus Wainwright, Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons), Björk, Teitur, Will Oldham, and The National.

These many personal connections highlight one of the more important aspects of Muhly’s musical life – in a word, community. The cast of characters who appear on Mothertongue include his closest collaborators — violist Nadia Sirota, folk singer Sam Amidon and, last but not least, Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson. Sigurðsson’s and Muhly’s view on musical relationships was, in part, the inspiration for Bedroom Community, the label Sigurðsson founded and which created both Mothertongue and its predecessor, Speaks Volumes, Muhly’s 2006 debut.