Refine, a short variation on the “America the Beautiful” tune takes the original and does two processes to it: the first is a kind of shattering, where the melody is buried inside fast filigree. These are interrupted by two kinds of slow material: ecstatic chords, widely spaced and in a jagged, unstable rhythm, and a kind of rocking-song, in which the original tune is hidden in a repetitive lilt. Refine is dedicated to Min Kwon.
Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tallis Scholars and St. John’s College, Cambridge and others, he has written more than 100 works for the concert stage, including the opera Marnie (2017), which premiered at the English National Opera and was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2018.
Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons and others. His work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Award-winning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition at the Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He lives in New York City.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon