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Missy Mazzoli

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Holy Roller (2012)
G Schirmer Inc
Year Composed
10 Minutes
Programme Note
Missy Mazzoli Holy Roller (2012)
Composer note:
Holy Roller is devotional music for a non-existent religion. This piece has its roots in melodies and harmonies from Thomas Tallis's 16th-century Psalm settings, but the original material has been transformed, stretched, turned inside-out and all but obliterated by the orchestra.

While writing this piece I had in mind the visionary architecture of Ferdinand Cheval and Simon Rodia, men typically labelled "ousider artists." Cheval, a french postman, spent thirty-three years of his life creating Le Palais Ideal, an ornate palace made of rocks he picked up on his postal route. Simon Rodia was an Italian construction worker who, also over thirty-three years, built the now iconic Watts Towers in Los Angeles out of steel pipes decorated with found objects. These artworks have always seemed to me to be monuments to a personal or even non-existent religion, private expressions of obsession and devotion. In a way this music is my "outsider architecture" — a cathedral of found musical objects, a sonic temple of bottle caps and broken glass.

Holy Roller was commissioned ad premiered by the Albany Symphony.

— Missy Mazzoli

  • 12 MAR 2018
    WWU PAC Concert Hall, Bellingham, WA
    Western Washington University Symphony Orchestra
    Judith Widrig, piano; Dr. Ryan Dudenbostel, conductor
  • 03 MAR 2018
    University Of Massachusetts, Fine Arts Center, Concert Hall, Amherst, MA
    University Of Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra
    Gilles Vonsattel; Morihiko Nakahara, conductor
  • 14 OCT 2017
    Civic Hall Performing Arts Center, Richmond, IN
    Richmond Symphony Orchestra
    Guy Bordo, conductor

    Other Dates:
    3 December; 3 February 2018 - Civic Hall Performing Arts Center, Richmond, IN
  • 09 DEC 2016
    Clinton, NY
    Hamilton College Orchestra
    Heather Buchman, conductor
  • 13 MAY 2016
    Birmingham, AL
    Alabama Symphony Orchestra
    Sarah Hicks, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14 May - Birmingham, AL
  • 18 NOV 2015
    Piscataway, NJ
    Rutgers Sinfonia
  • 19 MAY 2012
    American Music Festival
    Albany, NY
    Albany Symphony
    Talise Trevigne, soprano; Cho-Liang Lin, violin; David Alan Miller, conductor

"To say that there were no clunkers on Saturday’s program of the Albany Symphony Orchestra doesn’t quite communicate how enjoyable and powerful the concert really was. Yet that’s still the news, since when it comes to all-American nights like this one, quality is always a question.... Two of the works had a quasi-religious context. Missy Mazzoli’s Holy Roller, which received its premiere, was “devotional music for a non-existent religion.” Though her worshipers were imaginary, Mazzoli built them a grand and solid cathedral. The score was a glittering mosaic with arched and winding passageways."
Joseph Dalton, Albany Times Union,20/05/2012
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