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Composer of the Grammy-winning opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Mason Bates is imaginatively transforming the way classical music is created and experienced as a composer, DJ, and curator. During his term as the first composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he presented a diverse array of artists on his KC Jukebox using immersive production and stagecraft. Championed by legendary conductors from Riccardo Muti to Michael Tilson Thomas, his symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds, and he was named the most-performed composer of his generation in a recent survey of American music. Bates has also composed for films, including Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. A diverse artist exploring the ways classical music integrates into contemporary culture, he serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Philharmonia Fantastique & other premieres

The 2021-22 season sees the premiere of Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, a concerto for orchestra and animated film. A collaboration with Gary Rydstrom of Lucasfilm and Jim Capobianco of Aerial Contrivance, the work explores the connection between creativity and technology with the help of a magical Sprite, who flies through instruments as they are played. The work was commissioned by Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and the American Youth Symphony.

Other premieres include a new piano concerto for Daniil Trifonov for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, Hymn for the Future for Yo-Yo Ma, Soundcheck in C Major for the opening of The Shell with the San Diego Symphony and a new concert opener The Rhapsody of Steve Jobs. Based on his hit opera, which was hailed as one of the best-selling productions in the history of Santa Fe Opera, the work will be premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The opera itself receives its second production by opera houses in Atlanta, Austin, and Kansas City. Mason is currently at work on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay for the Metropolitan Opera with librettist Gene Scheer.

KC Jukebox at The Kennedy Center

Highly informed by his work as a DJ, his curatorial approach integrates adventurous music, ambient information, and social platforms in a fluid and immersive way. He created a miniseries for the Kennedy Center exploring his unique curatorial approach. During his five years as composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center, he created vibrant events on all parts of the campus, including a weeklong installation for the opening of the Center's new REACH campus and five seasons of his hit series KC Jukebox. The series has featured a diverse range of artists, from Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, to 'godfather of techno' Juan Atkins, to the renown composers of the Netflix show Stranger Things. KC Jukebox became created a unique integration of classical music and non-classical artists such as Tycho, Thievery Corporation, and Mouse on Mars.

Mercury Soul

Working in clubs under the name DJ Masonic, Bates created Mercury Soul, a show combining DJing and classical music, to packed crowds with clubs and orchestras around the country. The miniseries Mercury Soul: Cathedral, a meditative mix of classical music and electronica shot at Saint Joseph's Society for the Arts, received almost three hundred thousand views, and its upcoming music video series will be created in partnership with the De Young Museum. The organization has broadened its scope to include not only classical club shows, but full-service digital content production for arts organizations that want to build robust online audiences.
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