THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE
Composed by NICO MUHLY | Text by WILLIAM STRUNK Jr. and E. B. WHITE
Concept and illustrations by MAIRA KALMAN
Presented by New York Public Library Live! in a BMP world-premiere production, October 2005
Dia: Beacon Museum, May 2006
Conceived by Maira Kalman and composed by Nico Muhly, Elements of Style is a song-cycle set to the indispensable writing manual by Strunk and White and incorporates singers with instruments ranging from viola, banjo, and vibraphone to tea cups, typewriter, and duck call. Kalman—an illustrator of children’s books, designer of fabrics and covers for The New Yorker, and the sole artist entrusted by the estate of E.B. White with the illustration of his timeless text—commissioned the then emerging composer Nico Muhly to create operatic songs using lyrics from The Elements of Style.
Beth Morrison Projects produced this work which was presented in a sold-out performance as part of the LIVE from the New York Public Library series in October 2005, igniting a media frenzy of coverage in The New York Times, A&E, NPR, and CBS Morning News. THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE was selected by National Public Radio as one of its “Best of 2005.”