All of a piece

All of a piece

Composer and endlessly bewitching Nico Muhly talks to frieze on omnivorism in music and life:

On curiosity:

For me, the library was a dangerous place — I couldn’t get enough. My curiosity is voracious and canine; I am like a golden retriever and will slobber on every object in the room until I keel over!

On thinking about music in a broader way:

I think it comes from the lives that our parents lived, which for my generation are people who, in the 1960s and ’70s, had to redefine their relationship to the canon – academically, musically, socially, sexually. …. Now you just click and it’s done. And it goes both ways. If you’re a classically trained kid, you can buy the latest Joanna Newsom album or whatever, just as it doesn’t feel like buying porn to buy classical music anymore.

On the parallels between cookery and music:

I like to think cookery and music are to the same ends. If you do it really well, you can have a transcendent evening of food, and even if you do it OK, but with a lot of love, it can still be good. Where the analogy is helpful is in doing lots of different projects. It’s like being asked over to someone’s house and cooking together. There’s a spontaneity to it, and it doesn’t feel like it has to do with border crossing or boundary bending or any of that shit, it’s just cooking dinner at your friend’s house, and there happens to be this bag of mussels there, and this fabulous grapefruit and it’s all of a piece.

The interview is stocked with music and video, or you can simply listen to what he’s revisiting now.