Nico Muhly

Gotta say I didn’t know much about American wunderkind Nico Muhly before reading this NewMusicBox interview. Is he like the American Thomas Adès? I admit my immediate reaction to people like this (I’ve noticed this especially since turning thirty a couple of months ago) is ‘Jeez, you’re so young, go away! And take your good hair and fresh complexion with you!’. But actually I quite like some of his music (you can hear some on his site and through the video presentation at NewMusicBox). Here are some other things that endear him to me:

  1. ‘For instance, there’s this Messiaen thing that occasionally happens in the Anglican churches, for a little decadent French moment, and I said, “Ooh, who’s this?” I looked on the really primitive catalog and found there was so much Messiaen that you could have. I said, “Oh, let’s get that!” And she lugged back these enormous, heavy-ass French scores, a billion pages, Chronochromie and all that stuff, and I thought, “This is amazing! How cool is this?”‘
  2. ‘All I knew was the American minimalist stuff which I had just fallen into randomly. Like, “This is great! Wow, how cool is this? This sounds amazing! David Lang, oh my God!” And then, Howells and Purcell and then Byrd and Tye and Gibbons, all this kind of random stuff.’
  3. ‘I had this idea like a million years ago to turn those Susan Cooper books, the Darkness Rising books, into an opera of some sort. First of all, I would get to learn Welsh. And second of all, those books completely rocked my world when I was younger. I think there’s a certain type of kid whose world they rocked that I would like to be in touch with.’ (This last is for my girl.)

4 thoughts on “Nico Muhly

  1. Maybe you’ve driven yourself into an early old age with your soon-to-be-published magnum opus, Mr. Ross, but you are also ridiculously young. Thankfully, I visit Palm Springs often where my ancient body is viewed as the springiest of young chickens. It’s all context.

    The only real wisdom is to enjoy your youth while you have it.

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