Nico Muhly

Carlos Barba

Nico Muhly has been making a big name for himself in the contemporary classical music world since the turn of the century. He has become one of the most sought-after composers and has received commissions by The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many more. He has written operas, symphonic works, song cycles, concertos, chamber pieces, and choral works, among others. Muhly studied English at Columbia University before completing his master’s degree in music composition at the Julliard School under the guidance of renowned composers John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse. During his time at Julliard Muhly started working for Phillip Glass as a copyist, editor, and conductor. The seven years he spent working under Phillip Glass shaped his much-acclaimed composition style that we can hear in his music today. There is a strong influence of Phillip Glass’ music in most of Nico Muhly’s work.
“I really like Philip’s hand. I’m really used to it, and I have a sentimental relationship with looking at it. There are sometimes these ambiguities with his notations, and so much of my life for years was deciphering his manuscripts .” Muhly developed a very intimate relationship, not only with Glass himself, but with his manuscripts over the years they worked together. He felt strongly attracted to Glass’ music when he was 18 years old and heard it for the first time. This attraction and admiration grew and flourished as Muhly grew and matured. One of Muhly’s favorite works is Glass’ Music in 12 Parts. Part one, in particular, is somehow special to him. “Each little cell gradually unfolds and folds up again — it isn’t a simple process of getting longer or shorter each time. I think about this piece all the time in my own work, particularly that involving the voice .”


Barone, J. (2019). Nico Muhly on the ‘Ecstatic Disruption’ of Philip Glass’s Music.

[online] Available at:

[Accessed 16 Apr. 2019].

McVinnie, James. “Off the Beaten Path.” Organists’ Review, March 2017, 43–47. 

Muhly, N. (2019). Nico Muhly’s ‘Mathematical, Organic And Achingly Beautiful’ Philip Glass. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr. 2019]. (2019). Nico Muhly » Biography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr. 2019]

[1] J. Barone

[2] N. Muhly NPR

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