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About this Piece

As a fast-rising composer on the contemporary music scene, Missy Mazzoli draws audiences equally into concert halls and rock clubs. Her unique music reflects a trend among composers of her generation who combine styles, writing music for the omnivorous audiences of the 21st century. She inhabits a gorgeous and mysterious sound-world that melds indie-rock sensibilities with formal training from Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayers, and others. Practically speaking, she amasses music in layers not normally found together but in ways that create matchless vertical harmonies.

Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” by The New York Times, and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” by Time Out New York, her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, the American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, NOW Ensemble, and many others.

Upcoming projects include a new work for the Young People’s Chorus of New York and ensemble, a new piece for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series (April 8, part of Minimalist Jukebox), and a new piece for ETHEL. She is Composer-In-Residence for the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Mazzoli is published by G. Schirmer, which posted this biographical sketch. She has written the following note:

Bolts of Loving Thunder was composed in 2013 for pianist Emanuel Ax. When Manny asked me to write a piece that would appear on a program of works by Brahms, I immediately thought back to my experiences as a young pianist. I have clear memories of crashing sloppily but enthusiastically through the Rhapsodies and Intermezzi, and knew I wanted to create a work based on this romantic, stormy idea of Brahms, complete with hand crossing and dense layers of chords.

“I also felt that there needed to be a touch of the exuberant, floating melodies typical of young, ‘pre-beard’ Brahms. Brahms’ F-A-F motive (shorthand for ‘frei aber froh’ – free but happy) gradually breaks through the surface of this work, frenetically bubbling out in the final section. The title comes from a line in John Ashbery’s poem Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape.”