Photo Matthew Murphy
Nico Muhly has written wide scope of work for soloists, ensembles, and organizations including pianist Emanuel Ax & mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, countertenor Iestyn Davies, violinist Pekka Kuusisto, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, Paris Opéra Ballet, Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall.
Muhly’s first full-scale opera, Two Boys, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, and was premiered at the English National Opera in 2011 and at the Metropolitan Opera in 2013. Featuring a libretto by Craig Lucas and direction by Bartlett Sher, Two Boys chronicles the real-life police investigation of an online relationship and ensuing tragedy. Dark Sisters, a chamber opera dealing with a polygamist family, was commissioned by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Music Theatre Group, and the Gotham Chamber Opera, and was premiered in New York in 2012.
Film credits include scores for Joshua (2007), Best Picture nominee The Reader (2008) and the Sundance selection Kill Your Darlings (2013). He has lent his skills as performer, arranger and conductor to other musicians, including Antony and the Johnsons (The Crying Light), Björk (Medúlla, Drawing Restraint 9, Volta), Bonnie “Prince” Billy (The Letting Go), Doveman (The Conformist), The National (High Violet, Trouble Will Find Me), Grizzly Bear (Veckatimest), and Jónsi from Sigur Ros (Go).
His 2007 debut, Speaks Volumes, was released on Bedroom Community, an artist-run label he co-founded with Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson. Since then, Muhly has collaborated extensively with his labelmates Sigurðsson, Ben Frost, Sam Amidon, and Nadia Sirota on albums including Mothertongue (2008), I Drink the Air Before Me (2010), and Drones (2012). Decca has released two albums of his music: A Good Understanding (2010), a disc of choral works recorded by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under Grant Gershon and Seeing is Believing (2012) recorded by Aurora Orchestra conducted by Nicolas Collon. In 2014 Nonesuch Records released a live recording of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Two Boys.
Born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Muhly graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English Literature. In 2004, he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. From his sophomore year of college, he worked for Philip Glass as a MIDI programmer and editor for six years. His writings and full schedule can be found at www.nicomuhly.com.