The recipient of both an American Academy in Berlin Fellowship and a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, MASON BATES moves fluidly between the worlds of classical concert music and underground electronica. Young Concert Artists' Composer-in-Residence from 2000-2002, he composes for a wide variety of media, with a portfolio of orchestral, chamber, theatrical, and electronic works.
The 2008-2009 season brings the premieres of new commissions from the San Francisco Symphony, Chanticleer, and the California Symphony, where Mr. Bates just finished the first of three seasons as Young American Composer-in-Residence and where his Music from Underground Spaces was premiered in May 2008. In May 2007, he received an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an award that "honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice." His other recent premieres include Liquid Interface, commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and received its world premiere, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in February 2007 and its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in February 2008. Mr. Bates recently participated in a Music Alive Residency with the Mobile Symphony, which performed his Ode in March 2006 and Overture to California Fictions in November 2006.
Mr. Bates' other recent successes include the premieres of Digital Loom, an electro-acoustic work commissioned by The Juilliard School to celebrate its 100th anniversary in January 2006 and Rusty Air in Carolina for electronics commissioned by the Winston-Salem (NC) Symphony in May 2006. His work Omnivorous Furniture for sinfonietta and electronica was premiered on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series at Disney Hall in November 2004 and has received subsequent performances by the American Composers Orchestra in New York and the Oakland East Bay Symphony. From Amber Frozen for String Quartet, commissioned by the Naumburg Foundation for the Biava Quartet was premiered in May 2004 at Alice Tully Hall.
Mr. Bates' music has also been performed by orchestras including the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Evansville Philharmonic, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and at the Spoleto USA Festival. His chamber works have been performed by the Claremont Trio, Ensemble X, Austrian bass Rupert Bergmann, Berlin's Scharoun Ensemble, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. As a performer, Mr. Bates has performed his concerto for synthesizer, Sounds for His Animation, commissioned by the New Juilliard Ensemble, with the Atlanta and Phoenix Symphonies.
His interest in writing for unconventional forces has led him to develop works for the theater as well as the concert hall. His interest in theater has been influenced by playwriting studies under Kenneth Koch, Arnold Weinstein and Mark Adamo. Song cycles, theatrical works, and a music-drama for one actor and five musicians called Trout Fishing in America, which was produced at Lincoln Center's Clark Theater in 1997, comprise a growing list of Mason Bates' works for the stage.
Also active as the underground hip-hop DJ "Masonic," Mr. Bates often appears at clubs such as 111 Minna, Skylark, Cloud 9, and for Plado Media in San Francisco, Scarabocchio and Metaverso in Rome's Testaccio district, and Zu Mir Oder Zu Dir and Kinzo in Berlin.
Raised in Richmond, Virginia where he studied piano with Hope Armstrong Erb and composition with Dika Newlin, Mason Bates enrolled in the Columbia-Juilliard program in New York City. Earning degrees in music composition and English literature, he worked with John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, and Samuel Adler. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley with Edmund Campion. His awards include a Charles Ives scholarship and fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jacob Druckman Memorial Prize from Aspen Music Festival, ASCAP and BMI awards, and a Fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Center.