Nico Muhly is a New York–based composer who straddles the classical and pop music worlds, arranging voice and music for artists such as Antony and the Johnsons and Björk, for example, while composing his own music and operas, including a collaboration with the librettist Craig Lucas. Most recently Nico scored music for Marnie, performed last November at the English National Opera in London. The production, featuring a libretto by Nicholas Wright, was based on Winston Graham’s novel of the same name—which also inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s film. Marnie comes to the Metropolitan Opera in New York in October 2018.
“My plans are to write a large work for solo organ,” Nico said, “and plant the seeds for a cycle of three concerti—for bassoon, violin, and two pianos, respectively— which I’ll be writing for the next two years.” Nico lived at the Academy at age 13 when his mother, the painter Bunny Harvey, was a visiting artist for six months. (She was also a two-year Fellow in 1974–76.) “Perversely,” he said, “I’ll be living in the same apartment.” For his public presentation at the Academy in March, he joins a fellow Resident, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. According to Nico, the two will “use Edward Saïd’s Culture and Imperialism as a springboard to talk about simultaneous readings of musical texts,” especially Western composers who flirt with or borrow from music that originated elsewhere in the world.