Missy Mazzoli

Beyond the Order of Things (after Josquin) (2021)

PRIMAVERA II the rabbits

from the composer

Beyond the Order of Things (2021) was commissioned by cellist Matt Haimovitz as part of The Primavera Project. The work is a response to a 2020 painting by Charline von Heyl, itself a response to Botticelli’s Primavera painting from the late 1400’s. Von Heyl’s work incorporates images and figures from the Boticelli, but they are smudged, faded, obscured. In composing Beyond the Order of Things I replicated, in music, von Heyl’s technique of erasing and recontextualizing source material from the Renaissance. I transcribed a vocal motet, Praeter rerum serium (translation: Beyond the Order of Things) by Boticelli’s contemporary Josquin des Prez. Like von Heyl, I reworked this material, repeating fragments and chopping up phrases, to create an entirely new work that is a beautifully corrupted translation of the original.


Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli’s talent draws audiences equally into concert halls, opera houses and alternative venues. Her music inhabits a sound-world that melds indie-rock sensibilities with formal training. Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” by The New York Times, in 2018 Mazzoli was named by Maestro Ricardo Muti as Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony for three seasons. Her orchestral works have been performed by the LA Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony, among others.  

Mazzoli’s opera Breaking the Waves, with librettist Royce Vavrek, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia with Beth Morrison Productions, premiered in 2016 and featured in the 2019 Edinburgh Festival. It was awarded the inaugural Award for Best New Opera by the Music Critics Association of North America and hailed as “among the best twenty-first-century American operas” by Opera News. 

Mazzoli’s opera Proving Up (libretto by Vavrek) premiered in 2018 at Washington National Opera which co-commissioned the opera with Opera Omaha and Miller Theater of Columbia University who presented it in a new production by James Darrah. That year she made history when she became one of the first two women to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.  

Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt, has received numerous performances including those by LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Musitheatertage Wien. 

Mazzoli is on the composition faculty of the Mannes College of Music, and a co-founder of Luna Composition Lab.