Born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Nico Muhly graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature. In 2004 he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied composition under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano.
Muhly’s orchestral works have been premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestra (It Remains to Be Seen , a commission celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006), the Boston Pops (Wish You Were Here, 2007), and the Chicago Symphony (Step Team, in 2007).
In 2005, the Clare College Choir broadcast Muhly’s evensong canticles live on BBC3, and New York’s Saint Thomas Church commissioned and performed his Bright Mass with Canons, a work that has entered their regular repertoire. With designer/illustrator Maira Kalman, he created the "finely wrought" (New York Times) cantata on Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style that premiered in the New York Public Library, landing him on 2005 year’s-best list of New York magazine.
Film credits include his scores for Choking Man (2006) and Joshua (2007), and he has worked extensively with Philip Glass as editor, keyboardist, and conductor for numerous film and stage projects. Recently, he conducted excerpts from Einstein on the Beach for a new ballet by Benjamin Millepied at the Opéra de Paris. In October, 2007, the American Ballet Theater premiered Muhly and Millepied’s collaboration From Here On Out, a commission for their 2007-2008 season, and in October of 2008, the Paris Opéra ballet will premiere Triade, a newly commissioned collaboration between Muhly and Millepied.
He has also lent his skills as performer, arranger and conductor to other musicians, including Björk (Medúlla, Drawing Restraint 9, Volta), Bonnie "Prince" Billy (The Letting Go), and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. His work with Antony has included performances in Arnhem, Leeds, and New York City, and in February 2007, they worked together on a new Shakespeare setting for The Sonnet Project, a program curated by Gavin Bryars for Opera North and the Royal Shakespeare Company. 2008 saw the release of such collaborations as Ekvílibríum, the highly anticipated solo debut of Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson, and All Is Well by American folk singer Sam Amidon. Sigurðsson released both discs on his own Bedroom Community records, a label he inaugurated by producing Muhly’s first album, Speaks Volumes (2007). In the months leading up to Speaks Volumes’ American release, Muhly was invited to present concerts of his chamber music at both Carnegie Hall and the Whitney Museum. Future recording projects include a second solo record, titled Mothertongue.
His name is pronounced [ˈni ko] [ˈmju: li].