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LIVE from the NYPL: THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE: A Short Happy Evening of Song with Maira Kalman and Nico Muhly


Come celebrate the publication of The Elements of Style: Illustrated by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White with its illustrator Maira Kalman and composer Nico Muhly during the world premiere of a musical adaptation of this classic writing guide in the Rose Main Reading Room. What better place to bring to life the style guide that has aided countless writers, and whose capacious, book-lined span has been a sanctuary for writers and readers for almost one hundred years. With titles such as "Be Obscure Clearly!", "Overly Over," and "Hyphens," the songs are drawn from the humorous examples of poor writing and the pithy rules for proper grammar found in The Elements of Style. With audience members seated at the tables in the Reading Room's north hall, the performers will stand on the balcony, framed by the Reading Room's awe-inspiring painted ceiling. Featuring soprano vocalist Abby Fischer, tenor Matt Hensrud, and an ensemble that includes viola, banjo, and percussion, the music has been composed especially for this event by Juilliard School graduate and ASCAP award-winning composer Nico Muhly. Since it was first published in 1959, The Elements of Style has become an American institution; today, devotees of all ages--17 through 70--can recite the perfectly coined mantra, "make every word tell," of this inimitable writing manual.

Reception following performance in Astor Hall

About Maira Kalman:

In her own words: "born. bucolic childhood. culture stuffed adolescence. played piano. stopped. danced. stopped. wrote. discarded writing. drew. reinstated writing. married tibor kalman and collaborated at iconoclastic yet successful design studio. wrote and painted children's books. worried. took up ping pong. relaxed. wrote and painted for many magazines. co-founded the Rubber Band Society. amused. children: two. dog: one." The co-owner of the renowned design firm M&Co and creator (with Rick Meyerowitz) of the NEWYORKISTAN cover for The New Yorker, Maira Kalman is the author of a dozen children?s books, including Max Makes A Million, What Pete Ate from A-Z, and Next Stop Grand Central. She has designed for Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, Mark Morris Dance Group, Ralph Pucci, and MoMA. Although she gets seasick quite easily, she plans to sail away on a tugboat with family and friends (and her dog Pete) to distant lands and far-off places. Maira Kalman, a contributor to The New Yorker, New York Magazine and many other publications, lives in New York City.

About Nico Muhly:

Nico Muhly graduated from Juilliard School for composition, where he studied with Christopher Rouse & John Corigliano. The American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein premiered his Fits & Bursts at Avery Fisher Hall and the Juilliard Orchestra under Jeffrey Milarsky premiered his Out of the Loop (winner of a 2004 ASCAP Award) and So to Speak. In 2004, he orchestrated the movie The Manchurian Candidate for composer Rachel Portman and played on Björk’s album Medúlla as well as prepared and conducted her score for Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9. As a performer, he plays piano and celeste and has performed with the Juilliard Orchestra, VisionIntoArt, John Adams, and Philip Glass. He is currently writing a work for the Choir of Men and Boys of Saint Thomas Church in New York City.

Chris Thompson: Asst. Music Director/Percussion

Abby Fischer: Soprano

Matt Hensrud: Tenor

Sam Amidon: Banjo

Nadia Sirota: Viola