Grammy-nominated composer 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 has been praised for her “apocalyptic imagination” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). Mazzoli’s music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, Opera Philadelphia, Scottish Opera, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Norwegian National Opera, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Sydney Symphony, JACK quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Kathleen Supové, and many others. In 2018 she made history when she became one of the first two women (along with composer Jeanine Tesori) to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. That year she was also nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Classical Composition” for her work Vespers for Violin, recorded by violinist Olivia De Prato. This work is included in Missy’s first orchestral album, released in March 2023 on BIS Records. The album, and Mazzoli’s compositional style alike, have been praised by many upon the recent release, including VAN Magazine, which states “…the familiar shimmers of Mazzoli’s geologically-layered orchestral textures are a fulcrum that swing the listener between polarities.”
Missy Mazzoli has received considerable acclaim for her operatic compositions. Her most recent opera, The Listeners, was written with longtime collaborator Roce Vavrek, and co-commissioned by Philadelphia Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Norwegian National Opera, where the work premiered in 2022. The Listeners is based on an original story by Jordan Tannahill and follows a community organization formed around the presence of a “hum,” a high-frequency environmental noise that only a select few people, the “Listeners,” can hear. The members attempt to solve the mystery of “the hum,” but, encouraged by a de-facto leader, the group becomes increasingly cult-like. The Listeners received critical acclaim following its debut, described by Alex Ross in The New Yorker as “one of the year’s strongest music-theatre scores,” later calling the piece a “potent and chilling work.”
Mazzoli’s third opera, Proving Up, was also written alongside librettist Royce Vavrek, and was commissioned by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, and New York’s Miller Theatre. Based on a short story by Karen Russell, Proving Up offers a surreal and disquieting commentary on the American dream through the story of a Nebraskan family homesteading in the late 19th century. Proving Up premiered to critical acclaim in January 2018 at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, in April 2018 at Opera Omaha, and in September 2018 at Miller Theatre. The Washington Post called it “harrowing…powerful…a true opera of our time.” Mazzoli’s second opera, Breaking the Waves, also written with Vavrek, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects in 2016, was described as “among the best 21st-century operas yet” (Opera News), “savage, heartbreaking and thoroughly original” Wall Street Journal), and “dark and daring” (New York Times). Earlier 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 spirits unbound.” Time Out New York named Song from the Uproar Number 3 on its list of top ten classical music events of 2012. In October 2012, Missy’s 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.
From 2018-2021, Mazzoli was the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. From 2012-2015, she was 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 served on the composition faculty at Mannes College of Music at the New School from 2013 to 2023 after serving as a visiting professor of music at New York University in 2013. Missy is currently on the composition faculty at Bard College. From 2007-2011, she was Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York, and in 2016, along with composer Ellen Reid and in collaboration with the Kaufman Music Center, Missy founded Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program and support network for female-identifying, non-binary and gender nonconforming composers ages 13-18.
This most recent season included performances by the Norwegian National Opera (World Premiere), Juilliard Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Third Coast Percussion (World Premiere), the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Opéra Comique in Paris, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Next season (2023-2024) will include performances by Detroit Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.
Mazzoli is an active TV and film composer, and wrote and performed music for the fictional character Thomas Pembridge on the Amazon TV show Mozart in the Jungle. She also contributed to the documentaries Detropia and Book of Conrad and the film A Woman, A Part. Missy’s music has been recorded and released on labels including BIS Records, New Amsterdam, Cedille, Bedroom Community, 4AD, and Innova. Artists who have recorded Mazzoli’s music include the Arctic Philharmonic, the Bergen Philharmonic, eighth blackbird (whose Grammy-winning 2012 CD Meanwhile opened with Missy’s work Still Life with Avalanche), Roomful of Teeth, violinist Jennifer Koh, violinist Peter Herresthal, violist Nadia Sirota, NOW Ensemble, Newspeak, pianist Kathleen Supove, the Jasper Quartet, and violinist Joshia Bell, who recorded Missy’s work for the Mozart in the Jungle soundtrack.
Mazzoli is an active pianist and keyboardist, and from 2008-2015 performed extensively with Victiore, a band 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, and was followed by the critically acclaimed Vespers for a New Dark Age, a collaboration with percussionist and Wilco drummer Glenne Kotche.
Mazzoli is an active pianist and keyboardist, and often performs with Victoire, a band she founded in 2008 dedicated to her own composition. 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. This was followed by the critically acclaimed Vespers for a New Dark Age, a collaboration with percussionist Glenn Kotche. 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. In the past decade, Missy’s band Victoire has played in venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall, the M.A.D.E. Festival in Sweden, the C3 Festival in Berlin, and Millennium Park in Chicago. 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 is the recipient of a 2019 Grammy nomination, the 2023 Marc Blitzstein Memorial Award for Musical Theater and Opera, Musical America’s 2022 “Composer of the Year,” the 2017 Music Critics Association of America Inaugural Award for Best Opera, the 2018 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 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.
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 Kerins, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, John Harbison, Charles Fussel, Martin Amlin, Marco Stroppa, Ladislav Kubuk, Louis DeLise, and Richard Cornell.
Her music is published by G. Schirmer.
Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (NY Times), “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out NY), and praised for her “apocalyptic imagination” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed by the Kronos Quartet, LA Opera, eighth blackbird, the BBC Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, Scottish Opera and many others. In 2018 she became, along with Jeanine Tesori, one of the first woman to receive a main stage commission from the Metropolitan Opera, and was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of “Best Classical Composition”. She is currently the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and from 2012-2015 was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia. Her 2018 opera Proving Up, created with longtime collaborator librettist Royce Vavrek and based on a short story by Karen Russell, is a surreal commentary on the American dream. It was commissioned and premiered by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and Miller Theatre, and was deemed “harrowing… a true opera for its time” by the Washington Post. Her 2016 opera Breaking the Waves, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects, was called “one of the best 21st-century American operas yet” by Opera News. Breaking the Waves received its European premiere at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival; future performances are planned at LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the Adelaide Festival. Her next opera, The Listeners, will premiere in 2021 at the Norwegian National Opera and Opera Philadelphia. In 2016, Missy and composer Ellen Reid founded Luna Lab, a mentorship program for young female composers created in partnership with the Kaufman Music Center. Her works are published by G. Schirmer. missymazzoli.com
Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (NY Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out NY), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed by the Kronos Quartet, LA Opera, eighth blackbird, the BBC Symphony, Scottish Opera and many others. In 2018 she became one of the first two women, along with Jeanine Tesori, to receive a main stage commission from the Metropolitan Opera, and was nominated for a Grammy award. She is Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and from 2012-2015 was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia. Upcoming commissions include works for Opera Philadelphia, the National Ballet of Canada, Chicago Lyric Opera and Norwegian National Opera. Her works are published by G. Schirmer.