American composer and performer Nico Muhly talks about the challenges of being a composer and studying at the Juilliard School.
Brett Banducci: So what advice would you have for a young composer or even an older composer hitting that wall of frustration?
Nico Muhly: I feel like part of...there's a couple of things with composer specifically, I think I think part of it is recalibrating. Recalibrating what you think being successful is. I think there's a misunderstanding that there is a finite number of opportunities and that there's a...and that if you don't get this then you're ruined you know. Or if you don't...or that there's this hierarchy of opportunities. And that you know a commission from this orchestra is much better from a commission from this Orchestra.
Brett Banducci: Let’s talk a little bit about who you studied with at Juiliard, maybe inspiring professors or composers.
Nico Muhly: I had two teachers in my five years there I had...for two and a half years with Christopher Rouse, then two and a half years with John Corigliano. Very very different teachers, very very different composers. The great things about Christopher Rouse is that he was obsessed with knowing the rep like he's like a crazy “know the rep” person. And he kind of, he gave these endless listening lists and if you didn't know all of the Nielsen's chamber music you know he'd make you listen to it.
Brett Banducci: How did you get started with music as a kid?
Nico Muhly: We found a piano in our basement. We lived in this sprawling house in Providence, Rhode Island. And there was a piano and it was you know in terrible shape but we had it restored. And it was decreed that someone should learn how to play, it probably should be me. You know someone had put something so deep in the basement that there was no possibility that anyone would ever find it unless we were looking for something which we were and then we found it.