The music of Mason Bates fuses innovative orchestral writing, the rhythms of electronica and techno, and imaginative narrative forms brought to life by cutting edge sound design. A composer of symphonic music who often includes live electronica in his orchestral music, he has become known as an artist who moves fluidly between those two worlds — performing on electronic drumpad and laptop, for example, under Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall in The B-Sides at Carnegie Hall. He currently serves as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony.
Recent commissions have explored everything from the marriage of orchestral sonorities and earthquake recordings (Music From Underground Space, for the California Symphony), to siren poetry from various cultures (Sirens, for Chanticleer). Recent projects include a new ballet presented by the Chicago Symphony and Hubbard Street Dance; a new CD, Digital Loom, released on MSR classics; and performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under John Adams.
Active as a performer, he has played his concerto for synthesizer with the Atlanta and Phoenix Symphonies, and he also stays busy as a DJ of trip-hop and electronica in San Francisco’s many clubs, lounges, and artspaces. A variety of purely acoustic works, including many for the voice, complement his diverse portfolio. Having studied primarily with John Corigliano at Juilliard, he served as composer-in-residence for the acclaimed Young Concert Artists from 2000-2002 and for the California Symphony over the past three years. Now living in North Oakland, he worked with Edmund Campion at UC Berkeley.
Photo by Mike Minehan