News ~ Nico Muhly

November 9, 2011

New Nico Muhly opera premieres in November

In recent days, the topic of Mormonism has mostly been discussed in relation to comedic Broadway shows and presidential candidates. But this November, Mormons will also be represented in a new opera by Nico Muhly! Get tickets here for the New York run. Tonight is opening night though the opera will also be performed in Philadelphia next summer.

Dark Sisters was written with the playwright Stephen Karam and commissioned-slash-produced by the Gotham Chamber Opera, the Music-Theatre Group, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. It tells the (fictional) story of a polygamist family targeted in a government raid to remove their children, and a wife trying to escape the household. You can...

February 15, 2010

Nico Muhly Writes His First Opera for Met and Lincoln Center, Kitchen Gigs Coming Up

Late last week, the New York Times ran an article on Nico Muhly's new opera, written in collaboration with Craig Lucas for the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center's first joint commissioning project. Describing the commissioning program, the performance time line, and a brief plot synopsis, the article provides a good overview for Nico's latest project:

The work will make its debut in June 2011 at the English National Opera, which will share in the production’s cost with the Met. It will come to the Met for the 2013-14 season. It will be the fourth time that the Met and the English National Opera have co-produced a show since Mr. Gelb took over, in a system that has e...

September 17, 2009

Jay-Z + Nico-M = Hip-Hop

In the past, we at Brassland headquarters figured that Baby Dayliner was about as hip-hop as any artist on the roster would get. But consider this: At the encore for last week's 802 Tour show in Harlem, Nico Muhly played Mariah Carey's "My All" and joined Doveman and Sam Amidon in a rendition of R. Kelly's "Relief." This followed hot on the heels of Jay-Z's recent claim that indie rock could "push hip-hop to go even further."

With that in mind, this week's Pitchfork review of Hova's new album The Blueprint 3 brought up a musical partnership that we found particularly intriguing:

"...Jay-Z's probably right about about his claim this year that hip-...

May 30, 2009

Nico Muhly's Latest Work Composed For The Nose

On May 31 and June 1, new Nico Muhly compositions will will make their way to New York's Guggenheim Museum. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the new pieces were written with Mothertongue producer Valgeir Sigurdsson for the world's first scent opera (titled "Green Aria"), created by entrepreneur Stewart Matthew and fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel. For those curious about the genre of "scent opera," the WSJ had this to say:

"In a darkened theater, audiences will be bombarded with smells, blasted in six-second sequences by a scent 'microphone' attached to each seat. The scents tell the story of an epic struggle between nature and industry."


May 27, 2009

"Nico Suave" in Newsweek, on Grizzly Bear Album

Last Saturday, Newsweek published a profile of Nico Muhly, cleverly titled "Nico Suave." It's available online, too. The piece lightly tackles the possibility of Nico overload, which has already been addressed by the composer himself. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to read Nico's thoughts on his own press coverage.) On the bright side, my Grandma in Iowa - now aware of Nico's existence - may venture over to the Brassland Store to purchase Mothertongue.

The good exposure from the article, however, hasn't stopped the obvious jokes being made regarding Nico and that of yore, '90's heartthrob Gerardo. In a Nico tweet that has long since been relegated to th...

April 14, 2009

Nico Does Dance at Joyce Theater, His Hair As Well

On April 28th, the premiere of Nico Muhly's latest piece, "I Drink The Air Before Me," will take place at New York's Joyce Theater. The piece - commissioned for a new performance by the Stephen Petronio Company (a Big Apple-based dance company celebrating its 25th anniversary) - will be played live by Nico, his ensemble (including one Doveman), and the Young People's Chorus of New York City. If you've ever wondered how the "atmospheric and internal storms and the power of extreme weather in all its awesome transience" would sound and look when performed by human beings, this is definitely your show. For tickets, click here.

In other, less high-brow news, watch th...

February 18, 2009

Nico In Top-Flight NYC, LA Venues (and Hollywood)

Mr. Muhly has had a quiet 2009. Not one to sit idle for long, it's only natural that he greet February with a series of high profile performances and pieces at high profile New York and Los Angeles venues.

Tonight, Nico will be appearing with his nearest and dearest collaborators (including Doveman, Sam Amidon, and illustrator Maira Kalman) at The Allen Room in Lincoln Center to perform Illustrated Music. Ten days later, Nico's arrangements for Grizzly Bear will be showcased at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a performance alongside the Brooklyn Philharmonic. After that, it's the world premiere of The Adulteress, a piece commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Jessica Rivera...

December 18, 2008

Nico Receives Year-End Love from New Yorker(s), Pitchfork

As you might have witnessed throughout the year, the Brassland roster had a hectic 2008 - The National toured with REM and Modest Mouse throughout June, Pela literally suffered for their art, and Baby Dayliner was busy being his sexy self. Amidst all this news, Brassland still managed to release a couple records, one being Nico Muhly's Mothertongue. With the holidays fast approaching and the year coming to a close, one prominent New York-based independent musician, one internet-based publication, and one quintessentially New York magazine are recognizing those efforts.

Big Apple resident Ed Droste (of Grizzly Bear fame) published his list of top ten albums from 2008 in various...

October 4, 2008

Nico Muhly Interviewed At Length in The Believer

For the October issue of The Believer, "a monthly magazine where length is no object," music journalist Sean Michaels had dinner and an extended (because length is no object) interview with Nico Muhly at Nico's apartment. The result, like Nico's cooking, was delicious.

The piece covers a wide range of subjects including Nico's creative process, his approach to writing for film, what he means when he describes his music as "a vast feast," his initial impulses when walking into a grocery store, how he views composer-performer relationships, and even his first mp3 file (among many other subjects). We know it sounds exhausting, but it's well worth your readerly effort...

October 3, 2008

Nico Hangs With Sufjan and Brooklyn Youth Chorus At BAM Takeover

As reported on Pitchfork Media, Nico Muhly (with the page-turning help of Sufjan Stevens) showed up at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's TAKEOVER Party on September 27th to help the Brooklyn Youth Chorus perform his piece "The Sweets of Life." The event, curated by Stevens, also featured sets by St. Vincent, The Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens.

In other Pitchfork-related news, Nico was recently the subject of their regular feature The Guest List, a casual interview with a specific set of ice-breaker questions that can be, at times, interesting. If you were ever curious to learn Nico's opinions on the Sex and the City movie, how a cardigan can be "delicio...

September 9, 2008

Nico Muhly To Help Takover BAM With Sufjan

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform "The Sweets Of Life" by Nico Muhly at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 27th as part of the Sufjan Stevens-curated music portion of the TAKEOVER Party. The event, which runs from 9 pm to 4 am, will also feature sets from St. Vincent, The Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens. In addition to music, the party will have three separate movie marathons, a video installation by Deborah Johnson, and a recreational room complete with Wii, Guitar Hero, and ping pong. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

In more immediate news, Nico will appear as a guest onstage with Icelandic composers Olof Arnalds and Skuli Sverrisson a...

August 25, 2008

Nico Muhly "Takes Aim" at Atom Heart, Gets Interviewed by Gothamist and Reviewed in LA Weekly

To music journalists, Nico Muhly is many things - clever, engaging, smoking hot. One thing he hasn't been, however, is a warrior.

Until now. In a recent post on, Andy Whitman analyzes the "Breakfast Wars," writing that Nico has "thrown down the gauntlet, taking direct aim at [Pink Floyd's] Atom Heart Mother" in attempt to become "the undisputed champion of breakfast sound effects." Will Nico's butter scrapes top Floyd's bacon sizzles to conquer the breakfast sounds subgenre? Read for yourself to find out.

In more substantial news, Gothamist interviewed Nico about The 802 Tour, New Yorker music critics, and "only in New York" moments....

August 21, 2008

Owen Pallett, Drew Daniel, and The Washington Post Discuss Mothertongue

Following Pitchfork Media's rather tepid review of Mothertongue, Nico Muhly received praise on an I Love Music discussion thread from, among others, Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy and Drew Daniel of Matmos.

Pallett initiated the thread, lauding Nico's "way of writing score-paper-music in a way that sounds completely improvised, with every sound imaginable colliding up against each other in accidentally beautiful and hideous ways." Daniel then called attention to the album, writing that "the details that the reviewer holds up as weak points (whale fat, buttered toast) actually sound like positives anyway...surely I'm not the only person who wants to know what whale fat so...

August 5, 2008

Nico Dines With The Times, Receives More Blog Buzz, Postpones Other Music Show

Nico Muhly was recently profiled in The New York Times as part of the Sunday edition's regular feature "A Night Out With". So what did Nico do on his night out with the paper of record? He ate duck spaetzle with friends while discussing MSG, intransitive verbs, and what foods are acceptable to eat from other tables' plates. (French fries are o.k.)

Meanwhile, press surrounding Mothertongue continues to come in. Mp3 blog Dublab posted an exclusive edit of "Mothertongue" while plugging Nico's upcoming 802 Tour with Doveman and Sam Amidon. Paper Magazine wrote a kind review, describing Nico as an "impressive innovator" and the album as "a stunning meditation on the an...

July 17, 2008

Nico Muhly To Perform In-Store at Other Music

In order to promote the release of his album Mothertongue as well as prepare for the 802 Tour with Doveman and Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly will give a free in-store performance at New York City's Other Music on Tuesday, August 5th. Please note that seating is limited, so get there early.

In other news, Mothertongue is doing splendidly overseas, where record stores (such as this one below in Tokyo, Japan) are so excited they're making kickass displays written in different, non-English mothertongues. Shibuya? More like Shibu-yeah!

July 1, 2008

Nico Muhly Gets Cooking With The Fader, Receives More American Attention

As reported yesterday, Nico Muhly has been written up in several British publications. Well, they're not the only ones; as the US release of Mothertongue approaches, America's paying attention, too. The Seattle Weekly, in anticipation of Nico's upcoming 802 Tour with Doveman and Sam Amidon, wrote a brief piece alluding to Nico's previous work with musical stalwarts Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Björk while describing Muhly's arrangements as "intimate and spare...earthy [and] romantic." A lot of kudos packed into such a small entry.

While others are busy praising Muhly's music, what is the man himself up to? Eating, apparently. In The Fader, Muhly chops, boils...

June 30, 2008

Mothertongue Given Four Stars In London's Sunday Times

As the American release of Mothertongue approaches, good press surrounding Nico Muhly begins to pour in from overseas. London's Sunday Times recently named Mothertongue its "Pop CD of the Week," stating that the album is "never less than fascinating." We certainly agree - otherwise, we wouldn't put it out.

Other UK media outlets have also been paying attention. For the intellectual Brassland consumer, Q printed that Nico's music is "warm as it is highbrow." The Independent compared Muhly to Steve Reich, writing that listening to Mothertongue is "like listening to a spider's web being spun, a weightless, gossamer series of overlapping threads." Uncut, in another...

June 12, 2008

Nico Muhly To Conduct Symphonies for Antony

As reported on Pitchfork, Nico Muhly will be conducting local symphonies for Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) on his brief international tour this September and October. The performance dates are:

9/5 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (with the Portland Symphony)
9/10 Milan, Italy - Teatro degli Arcimboldi (with the Milan Symphony)
9/12 Zaragoza, Spain - Expo Zaragoza (with the Milan Symphony)
10/30 London, England - The Barbican (with the London Symphony Orchestra)
10/31 London, England - The Barbican (with the London Symphony Orchestra)

May 24, 2008

Mothertongue on iTunes, Nico Featured in Times

For those with computers, the wait is over. Digital copies of Nico Muhly's Mothertongue have been released on iTunes (complete with bonus track titled "Skip Town"). Physical copies of the album - sans "Skip Town" - will be available in all good US record shops on July 22nd.

But that's not all concerning Nico, who was recently profiled by British critic Simon Reynolds in the London Times. The piece, written in anticipation of Mothertongue's European release on Icelandic label Bedroom Community, among other things reveals Muhly's thoughts regarding music's relationship to lunch. A must read!

May 4, 2008

Nico Muhly at Merkin Hall and St. Thomas Church

Brassland's latest roster addition Nico Muhly will be performing this Thursday (May 8th) at Merkin Hall in New York City. The night's program will be hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer and also will feature a performance by composer Phillip Bimstein. Nico will be performing "Mothertongue" (featuring mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer) and "Wonders" (for Helgi Hrafn Jónsson), both of which can be found on his upcoming Brassland release Mothertongue.

Muhly will follow up this performance with another the following week at St. Thomas Church on Tuesday, May 13th, showcasing his piece "Bright Mass with Canons."

April 17, 2008

Nico Muhly Signs to Brassland for the United States

Remember the March 14th news story that (not so subtly) hinted at a big upcoming announcement? Well, the news broke this morning on Brooklyn Vegan, and we're happy to confirm that Brassland will be releasing Nico Muhly's Mothertongue on July 22nd, 2008.

For those not in the know, Nico Muhly is a 26-year old composer born in Vermont. He graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School one year later. Since then, he has amassed a string of commissions, collaborations, and premieres (including The Boston Pops, the BBC, American Ballet Theater, the New York Public Library, the Whitney Museum...