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MUSICAL AMERICA 2018 COMPOSER OF THE YEAR: MASON BATES

10.17.17
Mason Bates
Musical America

"Mason Bates, 40, is one of the most-performed living American composers," writes Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette, "precisely because he gives people something to like." He studied at a collaborative Juilliard-Columbia University program with John Corigliano, a tonal composer in the Bernstein-Barber-Copland school now in vogue. Heavy-hitting conductors program his music--Riccardo Muti in Chicago, Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco, and Leonard Slatkin in Detroit--and his three-year term as the Kennedy Center's first composer-in-residence was just extended two years. Many of his pieces incorporate conservative electronica with Bates controlling the input from the middle of the orchestra. Indeed, at the premiere of his first opera, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the electronic element was barely audible. But perhaps the clearest examples of his contact with young audiences are his Mercury Soul concerts, complete with lighting design, at which he acts as the evening's DJ under the name DJ Masonic.
Read the tribute article.