Nico Muhly, Doveman, Sam Amidon All Ages Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 28, 8 p.m. 2008

The subject of a 6,800-word feature in the New Yorker earlier this year, composer and pianist Nico Muhly is the current poster boy for classical crossover. But where others have acquired this status via little more than a punk haircut and a pop repertoire, the 27-year-old Muhly has earned it with legit writing chops and a set of ravenous ears: the music on his second album, Mothertongue (Brassland), is wide-ranging, serious, and substantial. Though he draws inspiration from English religious music of three centuries ago, his collaborators include various indie-rock types, and stylistically his work is clearly linked to that of name-brand minimalists like Philip Glass (who happens to be his employer) and Michael Nyman. On “Wonders,” multitracked female voices form a dizzying lattice of chopped-up syllables floating above a nest of patterns played on oboe, harp, keyboards, violin, viola, and electric bass by Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurdsson; the components are in constant motion, but the music seems to hover, spinning wildly in place. “The Only Tune,” by contrast, mashes up the old-timey songbook, with the lazy vocals of Sam Amidon conjuring Will Oldham amid banjo and ominous electronics. Here Muhly will mainly play solo, but he’ll get help from openers Doveman and Amidon as well as violist Nadia Sirota. —Peter Margasak

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