tags: Nico Muhly

MATA Divine Mysteries

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

The 20th MATA Festival kicks off with MATA Divine Mysteries, the premiere event in a new initiative devoted to sacred music. The intimate interior of Yorkville’s evocative Church of the Epiphany will host a sunset ritual performed without pause. The centerpiece of the evening will be David M. Gordon’s (USA) mesmerizing song-cycle Mysteria Incarnationis, a forty-minute meditation on Christ’s taking on of human form, setting text of Ephrem the Syrian, sung in the original Syriac. Additional works by Shawn Jaeger (USA) and Lydia Winsor Brindamour (USA) (pale, pale light), together with a world premiere miniature from MATA Alumnus Nico Muhly (MATA 2004, 2008) will round out a spectacular night of contemporary sacred music. A new music dream team of Miranda Cuckson, Ariadne Greif, Blair McMillen, Sarah Brailey, and Russell Greenberg has been specially assembled to give life to the evening’s works.

Monday, April 2

7PM at the The Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Avenue (at 74th St), NYC

Tickets now available

Shawn Jaeger (USA): Thousands of Years to Make it What it Was (2015)
Lydia Winsor Brindamour (USA): pale, pale light (2015) NYP
Nico Muhly (USA): New Work (2018) WP – MATA Alumni Commission
David M. Gordon (USA): Mysteria Incarnationis (2015) NYP

Ariadne Greif, soprano
Sarah Brailey, soprano
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Blair McMillen, piano
Russell Greenberg, percussion



Ariadne Greif is an artist represented by CADENZA ARTISTS LLC, 12021 Wilshire Blvd #710, Los Angeles, CA 90025. www.cadenzaartists.com

The NEW New Virtuosity: Musicians of New Amsterdam Records – Judd Greenstein, curator

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Wednesday, November 19 at 8PM

ISSUE Project Room
@ The (OA) Can Factory
232 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215

MATA Interval 2.2
The NEW New Virtuosity: Musicians of New Amsterdam Records

Performed by:
Nadia Sirota, viola
Andrew McKenna Lee, acoustic and electric guitar

Curated by: Judd Greenstein

Etude I (2007) by Nico Muhly
Nadia Sirota, viola

Five Refractions of a Prelude by Bach (2004, 2008) by Andrew McKenna Lee
I. Variation
II. Fixation
III. Fantasy
IV. Nocturne
V. Toccata
Andrew McKenna Lee, acoustic guitar

Ut (2006) by Marcos Balter
Nadia Sirota, viola

Live Water (2007) by Marcos Balter
Nadia Sirota, viola

— intermission —

Etude IA (2007) by Nico Muhly
Nadia Sirota, viola

Escape (2006) by Judd Greenstein
Nadia Sirota, viola

Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea (2005) by Andrew McKenna Lee
Andrew McKenna Lee, electric guitar

Singular and Unfamiliar

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

I imagine that, for everyone, there is a certain angle or aspect of their job that gets them more juiced than everything else does. I am absurdly happy when collaborating with composers. I love the way professional & personal relationships evolve as the work coalesces and how, at the end of the day, I’ve contributed to a work of art’s existing in the first place. Being what my teachers have always categorized as a “recreative artist,” commissioning new music is pretty much the only way I can be involved in the historic reality of a work.

When Judd approached me about programming a concert around concept of virtuosity, I was struck by how variably this term can be applied. I ended up settling on works that I’ve commissioned over the past four years by Marcos Balter, Judd Greenstein, and Nico Muhly. All of the music I have programmed is appealing, evocative, and virtuosic, but the works, like their creators, are vastly different from each other.

The first piece Nico ever wrote for me (and, incidentally, my first commission) was this crazy duo for viola and cello that I played on one of my undergraduate recitals: Muhley Duet
It was a really well-constructed and beautiful piece, but one of the most awkward, un-idiomatic things I had ever seen. Everything was, well, technically possible, in isolation, but he had basically strung all that stuff in a row, creating a sort of ninja warrior-style viola obstacle course.

The lovely thing about working with composers is that music doesn’t exist in this precious, untouchable format. We worked on the piece and came up with something playable, hard, beautiful, and musically whole. What was neat about that process, and so many subsequent ones, is that we both came out of it with a ton of really useful information.

Ever since then, I have been spending a good deal of time trying to sort out different degrees of hard. The question is now “is this hard because it’s painful and unreasonable, or just because I’ve not really done it before.” It’s shocking how much falls into that latter category. There’s this really specific type of harmonically precocious melodic writing that Nico does that I finally realized is not, abstractly, any harder than numerous etudes I’ve played, just singular and unfamiliar. With that in mind, Nico’s been writing me a series of etudes featuring all that stuff. I’m going to play two of them on Wednesday.

I met both Marcos and Judd when we were all fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center. I’m pretty sure that I commissioned both of them over bourbon at The Smokers Table behind the dormitory. Both of those sloppy commissions yielded some incredible, gorgeous, and virtuosic viola music.

Marcos’ compositional world is very specific. An insanely over-simplified description of his music is ‘manic, active, & pianissimo.’ He is virtuosic in his manipulation of color. When Marcos sends me a score, I honestly don’t really know, at first glance, what it’s going to sound like. His pallet is so nuanced, I’m really surprised by the resultant sonorities; he has me approaching my instrument in completely different ways than anyone else.

Judd’s piece, Escape, is, in its own way, an old-fashioned, Major Work for the viola. It is virtuosic both in ways that I am familiar with, (the piece requires both the creative flexibility and stamina required to successfully perform a solo Bach work), and that are new to me (pairing up 70’s minimal textures with pretty speedy harmonic rhythm, extensive groove-ish passages, fancy fingering, the list goes on…).

I feel unbelievably lucky to be the first violist to play all of this stuff. These, in my opinion, are seriously good pieces of music that’ll hopefully be around for quite a bit.

The Knights Chamber Orchestra

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Brooklyn Lyceum

Main Space, 8:00 pm
The Knights Chamber Orchestra
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

This concert is dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Fitzgerald (1975-2007)

Aaron Gervais Culture No. 3

Nico Muhly I Know Where Everything Is – New York Premiere

Jennifer Fitzgerald A Thousand Machines New York Premiere

Judd Greenstein At the end of a really great day –New York Premiere

Zibuokle Martinaityte – Polarities – World Premiere, MATA commission

The Knights Chamber Orchestra
Mike Atkinson, horn
Tomoya Aomori, bass
Diana Cohen,violin
Alex Greenbaum, cello
Adam Hollander, oboe
Erik Holtje, bassoon
Curtis Macomber, violin
Carol McGonnell, clarinet
Chris McIntyre, trombone
Luke Rinderknech, percussion
Miranda Sielaff, viola
Alex Sopp, flute
Jonathan Yates, piano

Vox Vocal Ensemble

Saturday, May 15th, 2004

Vox Vocal Ensemble

at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

George Steel, Conductor

Soprano: Kathy Thiel, Martha Sullivan, Sadie Dawkins

Alto: Robert Isaacs, Hai-Ting Chinn, BJ Fredricks

Tenor: Daniel Neer, Gregg Carder, Oliver Brewer

Bass: Peter Stewart, Kent Smith, Gregory Purnhagen


Kyrie and Gloria from Missa Brevis by Leonard Bernstein

Gloria by Sidney Boquiren*

Like As The Hart by Nico Muhly**

Pater Noster by Sungji Hang***

Sanctus and Benedictus from Missa Brevis by Leonard Bernstein

Ellipses by Steven Gates*

Laudate Dominum by Bongani Ndodana

The Fall of America by Eleonor Sandresky**

Agnus Dei by Leonard Bernstein


***MATA Commission

**World Premiere

*NY Premiere