Aug 27, 2021SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen release Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly’s Throughline on SFS Media, available now wherever music is streamed and downloaded. Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and recorded September 22–25, 2020 in Davies Symphony Hall and around the globe, Throughline received its world premiere as part of the digital concert event “Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home,” which was first broadcast on Bay Area public television and streamed online November 14, 2020. Muhly's "work of remarkable expressive power" (San Francisco Chronicle) offers a kinetic and seamlessly collaborative musical experience that captures the vibrant individualism of its performers. Throughline is available now in 24-bit/96kHz studio master-quality as a digital download and streaming via all major retailers worldwide. For more information, program notes, and performance video footage, visit sfsymphony.org/nicomuhly, and check out this promotional video to get some insights about Throughline from composer Nico Muhly himself.
In composing Throughline, intended specifically for the digital medium, Nico Muhly worked within the global health restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to create a work that is one-of-a-kind. Muhly shares, “Throughline is one of the more challenging pieces I’ve written, not just as a piece of musical logistics but also as a piece of technical, practical logistics. Compositionally, the challenge was to create something with an even flow that takes advantage of—rather than runs up against—the health restrictions. When I got to San Francisco, I found that the musicians were fantastically up for it despite the strange circumstances, and without exception navigated this new structure of music-making without a blink. For me, it was a joy to work directly with individuals, which, in a symphonic context, is nearly impossible with the usual model.” Reflecting on the innovative nature of Muhly’s work, Esa-Pekka Salonen comments, “Throughline is the sort of piece I came to the San Francisco Symphony to do. Screens, remote collaboration, and video communication were ubiquitous parts of our lives even before the pandemic. It’s natural that the Orchestra would begin to expand out of the concert hall and evolve new ways of presenting music to suit a visual, technologically-driven culture.”
Throughline consists of thirteen miniatures, with each movement highlighting a small ensemble of San Francisco Symphony musicians and eight of the movements featuring contributions from one of the Collaborative Partners. Adding to the unique nature of Throughline, the filming and recording of all the individual parts—in particular, of the Collaborative Partners—took place in various places around the US and the world. Pianist Nicholas Britell was filmed in Los Angeles, CA; classical singer Julia Bullock in Munich, Germany; flutist Claire Chase in New York, NY; guitarist Bryce Dessner in St-Pée-sur-Nivelle, France; violinist Pekka Kuusisto in Helsinki, Finland; and jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding in Northern Oregon. Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen was filmed, in part, in Finland, while composer and pianist Nico Muhly, who also served as conductor for the piece, was filmed at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Collaborative Partner Carol Reiley used OpenAI’s MuseNet technology to compose a movement for Throughline from Los Altos, CA, and Esperanza Spalding improvisationally composed her own performance.
Click here to access the Online Press Kit, which includes a PDF of this press release, performance video and photos, and artist headshots. To request a digital review copy of the recording, email the San Francisco Symphony Public Relations Department at [email protected].
About Nico Muhly
Nico Muhly, born in 1981, is an American composer who writes orchestral music, works for the stage, chamber music, and sacred music. He has received commissions from the Metropolitan Opera: Two Boys (2011), and Marnie (2018); Carnegie Hall; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Philadelphia Orchestra; San Francisco Symphony; Wigmore Hall; Tallis Scholars; and King’s College and Saint John’s College, Cambridge, among others. He is a Collaborative Partner at the San Francisco Symphony and has been featured at the Barbican and Philharmonie de Paris as composer, performer, and curator. An avid collaborator, he has worked with choreographers Benjamin Millepied at Paris Opéra Ballet, Bobbi Jene Smith at the Juilliard School, Justin Peck and Kyle Abraham at New York City Ballet; and with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, The National, Teitur, Anohni, James Blake, and Paul Simon. Muhly’s work for film includes scores for The Reader (2008) and Kill Your Darlings (2013), and the BBC adaptation of Howards End (2017).
He has written concert works for violin (Shrink, for Pekka Kuusisto), organ (Register, for James McVinnie), viola (Nadia Sirota), and two pianos (In Certain Circles, for Katia and Marielle Labèque), and his vocal collaborators include Iestyn Davies, Renée Fleming, and Nicholas Phan. He has collaborated with visual artists Maira Kalman and Oliver Beer, created site-specific pieces for the National Gallery in London and the Art Institute of Chicago, and written articles for the Guardian, The New York Times, and London Review of Books. Recordings of his works have been released by Decca and Nonesuch, and he is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008).
About SFS Media
SFS Media is the San Francisco Symphony’s award-winning in-house media production company and label, launched in 2001. SFS Media captures, records, and releases audio and audio/visual material reflecting the Orchestra’s restless creativity and commitment to leading-edge production standards, and showcasing the vibrant and inclusive musical communities it serves. From audio recordings released in 5.1 surround-capable SACD, 24-bit, and DSD Studio Master digital formats to unique concert capture video programs presented on the Orchestra’s new streaming service SFSymphony+, SFS Media has been at the forefront of production and distribution among the world’s leading orchestras for 20 years. SFS Media productions and recordings have garnered multiple Grammy, Emmy, and Peabody Awards, most recently winning a 2021 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Classical Compendium for the recording of Michael Tilson Thomas’ own compositions From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke, featuring Isabel Leonard, Sasha Cooke, and Ryan McKinny as soloists. Notable SFS Media releases include Throughline: From Hall to Home; MTT25: An American Icon; digital SoundBox programs; the CURRENTS video series; the San Francisco Symphony’s national public television series and multimedia project Keeping Score; and its seven-time Grammy Award winning Mahler Project. Other video recordings of the San Francisco Symphony available from SFS Media include A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein: Opening Night at Carnegie Hall 2008 and San Francisco Symphony at 100—the centennial season’s Opening Gala live concert video paired with a documentary about the Symphony’s history, which won a Northern California Emmy Award for “Historical/Cultural Program or Special” in 2012.
For more information, performance video, program notes, and photos, visit sfsymphony.org/nicomuhly. To request a digital review copy of the recording, email the San Francisco Symphony Public Relations Department at [email protected].
Nico Muhly: Throughline is available now through digital outlets worldwide, including iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Primephonic, HDTracks, IDAGIO, Deezer, and ProStudio Masters. Global distribution of all SFS Media products is managed by Warner Classics Label Services.
Composer: Nico Muhly
Artists: San Francisco Symphony
Nico Muhly (composer, conductor, piano)
Julia Bullock (soprano)
Pekka Kuusisto (violin)
Nicholas Britell (piano)
Claire Chase (bass flute)
Bryce Dessner (electric guitar)
Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals, **composer)
Carol Reiley (artificial intelligence, *co-composer)
Recorded: September 22–25, 2020 in Davies Symphony Hall and around the globe. All works recorded in PCM and 24-bit/96kHz audio.
Label: SFS Media
Catalogue Number: SFS 0081
Release Date: August 27, 2021
Total Run Time: 18 minutes and 46 seconds
Description: The San Francisco Symphony adds to its Grammy Award-winning SFS Media discography with the one-of-a-kind release of Nico Muhly's Throughline. Recorded as part of the SF Symphony's “Throughline—From Hall to Home” digital concert event. Muhly's "work of remarkable expressive power" (San Francisco Chronicle) offers a kinetic and seamlessly collaborative musical experience that captures the vibrant individualism of its performers. This recording is available now wherever music is streamed and downloaded. Learn more at www.sfsymphony.org/nicomuhly.
Media copies: Members of the press may request digital review copies and high-res performance photos from the San Francisco Symphony Public Relations Department at [email protected].
[To download the full PDF version of this press release click the DOWNLOAD A PDF button]