Missy Mazzoli was recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (The New York Times), “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York) and “one of the new wave of scarily smart young composers” (sequenza21.com). Her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, JACK Quartet, Opera Philadelphia, New York City Opera, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Kathleen Supové, Dublin’s Crash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony and many others. She is currently Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre-Group, and in 2011/12 was Composer/Educator in residence with the Albany Symphony. Missy was a visiting professor of music at New York University in 2013, and recently joined the composition faculty at the Mannes College of Music, a division of the New School.
The 2015/16 season will include many new projects and collaborations, including a premiere by acclaimed chamber ensemble yMusic, a residency with the Boulder Philharmonic sponsored by New Music USA’s Music Alive Program, a performance of her multimedia chamber opera Song from the Uproar at LA Opera and other performances of her work by the Phoenix Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and Grammy-winning vocal group Roomful of Teeth. Along with librettist Royce Vavrek, Missy is also working on Breaking the Waves, a chamber opera based on Lars von Trier’s 1996 film, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia. Breaking the Waves will premiere in September, 2016 at the Perelman Theater in Philadelphia.
Recent seasons included the Carnegie Hall premiere of Missy’s Vespers for a New Dark Age, performed by her ensemble Victoire, percussionist Glenn Kotche (of Wilco), and vocalists Mellissa Hughes, Martha Cluver and Virginia Warnken. Vespers was released in March 2015 on New Amsterdam Records along with Missy’s own remixes of the work and a remix of her piece A Thousand Tongues by longtime collaborator Lorna Dune. The New York Times called Vespers for a New Dark Age “ravishing and unsettling”, and the album was praised on NPR’s First Listen, All Things Considered and Pitchfork. Victoire returned to Carnegie Hall in March of 2015 as part of the “Meredith Monk and Friends” concert, performing Missy’s arrangements of Monk’s work. Missy also recently created new works commissioned and premiered by the LA Philharmonic, the Young People’s Chorus of New York, ETHEL, Roomful of Teeth and pianist Emanuel Ax, who has performed Missy’s Brahms-inspired Bolts of Loving Thunder on tour around the country. Other projects include the critically acclaimed sold-out premiere of Missy’s first opera, Song from the Uproar, in a Beth Morrison production at New York venue The Kitchen in March 2012. The Wall Street Journal called this work “powerful and new” and the New York Times claimed that “in the electric surge of Ms. Mazzoli’s score you felt the joy, risk, and limitless potential of free sprits unbound.” Time Out New York named Song from the Uproar Number 3 on its list of the top ten classical music events of 2012. In October 2012, Missy’s second operatic work, SALT, a re-telling of the story of Lot’s Wife written for cellist Maya Beiser and vocalist Helga Davis, premiered as part of the BAM Next Wave Festival and at UNC Chapel Hill, directed by Robert Woodruff. This work, including text by Erin Cressida-Wilson, was deemed “a dynamic amalgamation that unapologetically pushes boundaries” by Time Out New York. Other recent projects include the Carnegie Hall premiere of You Know Me From Here, a string quartet commissioned for the Kronos Quartet, performances by the Britten Sinfonia at London’s Barbican Centre, and scores to accompany films by Alice Guy Blaché, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art. Missy recently created several orchestral arrangements for innovative Danish band Efterklang’s new album Piramida. Efterklang premiered these arrangements with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House in May 2012, and went on to perform them around the world.
Mazzoli is an active pianist and keyboardist, and often performs with Victoire, a band she founded in 2008 dedicated to her own compositions. Their debut full-length CD, Cathedral City, was named one of 2010′s best classical albums by Time Out New York, NPR, the New Yorker and the New York Times. Their second album will be released in March, 2015. In the past few years they have played in venues all over the world including the M.A.D.E. Festival in Sweden, the C3 Festival in Berlin, Millennium Park (Chicago), The Winter Garden (New York, as part of the Bang-on-a-Can New Music Marathon), Overtoom 301 (Amsterdam), The Music Gallery (Toronto) and Le Poisson Rouge (New York, as part of the Wordless Music Series). In February 2011 they joined The National, Owen Pallett and Efterklang on a tour of the Netherlands as part of the Cross-Linx Festival, and in November 2011 joined My Brightest Diamond (Shara Worden) for performances in Belgium and Paris. Pitchfork praised Victoire for “condensing moments of focused beauty and quiet conviction from the pandemic distractions of modern life," WNYC dubbed the group “consuming and arresting," and NPR’s First Listen asks “Is Victoire’s music post-rock, post-mimimalist or pseudo-post-pre-modernist indie-chamber-electronica? It doesn’t particularly matter. It’s just good music.”
In November 2012 the original cast recording of Missy’s first opera, Song from the Uproar, was released on New Amsterdam Records. WQXR’s Daniel Stephen Johnson called this album “Solid gold...flowing from one number to the next, the music tells its own story, building to a series of emotional climaxes with the narrative assurance of a bonafide opera composer.” In October 2012 acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird released their Grammy Award-winning CD Meanwhile, featuring Missy’s work Still Life with Avalanche. Missy’s music has also been released on albums by violinist Jennifer Koh, violist Nadia Sirota, NOW Ensemble, and many others.
Mazzoli is the recipient of a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, four ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a Fulbright Grant to The Netherlands, the Detroit Symphony’s Elaine Lebenbom Award, and grants from the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, and the Barlow Endowment. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross, VCCA, the Blue Mountain Center and the Hermitage. She is also active as an educator and a mentor to young composers; in 2006 she taught composition in the Music Department of Yale University, and from 2007-2010 was Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers.
Missy attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University. She has studied with (in no particular order) David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, John Harbison, Charles Fussell, Martin Amlin, Marco Stroppa, Ladislav Kubik, Louis DeLise and Richard Cornell.
Her music is published by G. Schirmer.