Nico Muhly

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Nico Muhly for State (in advance of his performance at the Absolut Fringe festival – see below), and I have to say it was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done in a long time. I’ve been doing so many email interviews lately, which require little to no interaction between interviewee and interviewer, that it was a breath of fresh air to just get on the phone and have a nice chat with someone about themselves and their music. (I could probably write another blog about the pros and cons of email interviews, but I’ll leave that for today).

Nico is currently holed up alone in a house in Massachusetts writing an opera about a murder that involves two teenage boys who meet online, which is proof of how he straddles the ‘modern’ world and the ‘classical’ world effortlessly.

At just 27 years of age, he has a career that many musicians would dream of – he works for Phillip Glass; he composes film scores (such as for The Reader); writes his own music (he has two albums, 2007’s Speaks Volumes and 2008’s Mothertongue); he’s signed to the fantastic Icelandic label Bedroom Community and spends part of the year in Iceland; he has worked with Grizzly Bear, Bjork and Antony and the Johnsons; and he is involved with many other musical projects.

You’d expect that someone as talented as the Juilliard-trained Nico – he has been called a ‘prodigy’ and deservedly so – could be a bit stuffy or disinterested in talking to journalists, but he was wonderfully friendly and engaging.  Having read a lot of other interviews with him I was really looking forward to talking to him, and hopefully when the finished piece is done that will come across.

Here’s a video of Nico performing some absolutely beautiful music from the score to The Reader.

And here’s a really cool video of him cooking for The Fader (is there any end to his talents?)

Nico Muhly plays the Spiegeltent Sunday Sept 6 as part of Absolut Fringe (previously the Dublin Fringe Festival) which runs citywide from September 5- 20.

Further information and bookings at or Tel: 1850 FRINGE (374 643) (tickets now on sale)


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