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A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day: Nico Muhly’s London

A Perfect Day: Nico Muhly’s London


The New York-based composer shares his favorite London haunts

Pictured: Nico Muhly | Photo by Matthew Murphy

Prolific doesn't even begin to describe the career of Nico Muhly. At 32, the New York-based composer has written two operas, seven film scores, 15 choral arrangements, and 18 orchestral works, and collaborated with the likes of Usher, Bjork, Grizzly Bear, Jonsi, and Philip Glass. Having recently wrapped a world tour with Irish singer-song- writer Glen Hansard (Once), he's gearing up for performances at this year's Holland Festival. Yet, after years of globetrotting, the musician still thinks of London as his second home. Below, the places there that make him tick.

Photo courtesy of The National Gallery, London

1. The National Gallery "I know it's, like, wicked famous, but the trick is to barge in and stop at nothing until you view the Wilton Diptych, which is one of the sub- tlest and most gorgeous things you will ever see." Trafalgar Square;

Photo courtesy of Labour and Wait

2. Labour and Wait "One of those stores that could drive me crazy but that I actually adore. They sell sundry objects: a mushroom brush, a beautiful bucket, those striped French shirts. It's the perfect place to get a present that's slightly challenging to its recipient, like a spurtle or a length of well-tied rope." 85 Redchurch St.;

Photo courtesy of Terroirs Wine Bar & Restaurant

3. Terroirs "I love this restaurant. I had a plate of life-changing snails there, as well as some ambitious terrines and pates. The wine is surreally good; everybody seems to possess a mysterious ency- clopedic knowledge of lightly sparkling Basque whites. I recommend a glass with a hearty lunch." 5 William IV St.;

Photo by Patricia Niven

4. St. John "One of life's greatest pleasures is to have a drink at the bar of this restaurant. The space is whitewashed and tall, with no music playing and only essential furnishings. Ideal for an interstitial bite or a restorative rarebit and pint, this bar has gotten me through trying moments." 26 St. John St.;

Photo by Graham Lacdao

5. St Paul's Cathedral "An organist friend gave me a tip for getting from central London to eastern destinations. From the front of the upper level of a bus, the dome of the cathedral is slowly presented like a ship heaving into view. There is something heartbreaking about it: powerful but graceful."

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