Missy Mazzoli

2024 Cultural Fellow

Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli was deemed “one of the more consistently intentive, surprising composers now working in New York” (The New York Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York). Mazzoli was the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2018-2021, and from 2015-2018 she was the Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia. Mazzoli’s music has been performed internationally by Kronos Quartet, Norwegian National Opera, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanual Ax, Opera Philadelphia, LA Opera, New York City Opera, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, JACK Quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, Dublin’s Crash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony, and many others. 

In 2018 she made history as one of the first two women 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. This year, Missy has again been nominated for Grammys for her album Dark with Excessive Bright, released in March of 2023 with BIS Records. Also this year, Missy is the featured composer at the Winnipeg Music Festival and the BBC Symphony’s Total Immersion Festival.

Missy Mazzoli has received considerable acclaim for her operatic compositions. Her most recent opera The Listeners, a co-commission between Norwegian National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Chicago Lyric Opera, was created alongside Missy’s longtime collaborator Royce Vavrek and playwright Jordan Tannahill. The opera received critical acclaim following its premiere in 2022, described as a “potent, chilling, and excruciatingly relevant work” by Alex Ross.  Missy’s third opera, Proving Up, was also created alongside librettist Royce Vavrek, and was commissioned by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, and New York’s Miller Theater. Missy’s second opera Breaking the Waves was described as “among the best 21st-century operas yet.” (Opera News) Earlier projects include the sold-out premiere of Missy’s first opera, Songs from the Uproar, in a Beth Morrison production at New York’s The Kitchen in 2012. The New York Times claimed that “in the electric surge of Ms. Mazzoli’s score you felt the joy, risk, and limitless power of free spirits unbound.” 

In 2022, Missy Mazzoli joined the Bard College Conservatory of Music faculty as composer-in-residence. Missy recently served as a member of the composition faculty at Mannes College of Music, before which she was a visiting professor of music at New York University. In 2016, alongside composer Ellen Reid, Missy founded Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program for young female, nonbinary and gender nonconforming composers. Missy’s works are published by G. Schirmer.