Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inspiration Behind Nico Muhly's Music

You may recognize Nico Muhly’s name if you attended the CSO’s MusicNOW Festival. Born in 1981, Muhly is a rising composer writing a variety of works including chamber music, orchestral music, sacred music, opera, and ballet. Let’s wrap up our topic this month by looking at his life and work.

Nico Muhly finds a great amount of inspiration in English religious music including work by William Bryd and John Taverner. He also enjoys the repetition used by Philip Glass and Steve Reich along with the rhythms of singer-songwriter Björk. When writing music, Muhly does not think about the actual notes musicians will play but focuses on things like books, YouTube videos, etc., allowing aesthetics to influence him. He then considers the emotional journey he would like to take listeners on as they hear his work.

Below you can listen to an example of Muhly’s music. His Violin Concerto is based on Renaissance astronomy and educational videos on the solar system from the 1980s. He wrote the piece for electric violin and chamber orchestra.

You’ve had a month of modern composers. Do you feel one in particular resonates with you or do you appreciate each approach in its own way? If you have a favorite composer of today who was not mentioned this month, drop me a line! Perhaps I can talk about them in a future month!

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