On Wednesday, September 8, at 7:00 p.m., composer Nico Muhly will appear at Santa Monica's Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade to promote his latest album of choral works, A Good Understanding, conducted and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In this public event, Muhly and Los Angeles Master Chorale conductor Grant Gershon will take part in a Q&A session, where Muhly will demonstrate how he creates his intricate, critically-acclaimed pieces with GarageBand on his MacBook Pro. The event will end with a performance by members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale featuring two works from A Good Understanding and two related works. A Good Understanding will be released
exclusively on iTunes on September 7, with physical copies available on September 21 alongside Nico Muhly's concurrent release, I Drink the Air Before Me.
Muhly, 29, called "the planet’s hottest composer" by The Daily Telegraph, has made a name for himself writing daring and innovative—but broadly enjoyable— contemporary music for a diverse array of settings. Muhly attended Columbia University and the Juilliard School contemporaneously, graduating in 2004. His music has been premiered by the choirs of Cambridge's Clare College and New York’s Saint Thomas Church, and by the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony. His film credits include the score for Best Picture nominee The Reader (2008), and he has worked with choreographer Benjamin Millepied to create new pieces for the American Ballet Theater, the Paris Opéra Ballet, and the Nederlands Ballet. Muhly has also lent his skills as conductor, performer and arranger to such musicians as Sam Amidon, Antony and the Johnsons, Björk, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Philip Glass, Grizzly Bear, Valgeir Sigurosson, and Jónsi from Sigur Rós. Leading up to the release of his first album, Speaks Volumes (2007), Muhly was invited to present concerts of his chamber music at both Carnegie Hall and the Whitney Museum. Since then, Muhly has released a second album, Mothertongue (2008), and worked with Valgeir Sigurðsson and perfumers Christophe Laudamiel and Stewart Matthew to premiere Green Aria: A ScentOpera at the Guggenheim in New York. Recently, Muhly's vocal works have been premiered by soprano Jessica Rivera and counter-tenor David Daniels. 2010 will see the premiere of a new orchestral song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. Muhly's first full-scale opera has been commissioned by the English National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater, and will premiere at the English National Opera during its 2011 season.
A Good Understanding will mark the Los Angeles Master Chorale's first collaboration with Muhly and Decca alike. This Grammy-nominated chorus is recognized as one of the city's cultural treasures and one of the world's premier choruses. The Los Angeles Times proclaims, "The Master Chorale seems to be able to master anything." The 2010-11 season, its 47th, marks its eighth as the resident chorus of the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall. A founding resident company of the Music Center, the Chorale has played a leading role in the ongoing resurgence of interest in choral music. The Los Angeles Times describes the Chorale's performances under Gershon's baton as "masterly," "ethereal" and "alluring." Billboard says the Chorale's "singing and direction are first-rate," while Gramophone calls the chorus "sonically exhilarating." LA Downtown News notes, "Choral groups don't often get much hype, but the Los Angeles Master Chorale is an exception."