Mason Bates

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Mason W. Bates (born January 23, 1977)[1] is an American composer of symphonic music. Distinguished by his innovations in orchestration and large-scale form,[citation needed] Bates is best known for his expansion of the orchestra to include electronics. One of the most-performed[citation needed] composers of his generation, he has worked closely with the San Francisco Symphony and currently holds the position of composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony.


Bates was raised in Richmond, Virginia, where he attended St. Christopher's School. He graduated from the Columbia University-Juilliard School Exchange Program, with a BA in music composition and English literature, where he studied with John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, and Samuel Adler. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in composition in 2008,[2] where he studied with Edmund Campion.[3] He was a DJ and techno artist, in Oakland, California.[4]

Notable works include "Liquid Interface," a water symphony commissioned by the National Symphony; "The B-Sides," a symphonic suite commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony; and "Rusty Air in Carolina," a pastoral work commissioned by the Winston-Salem Symphony. He has worked closely with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and composer/conductor John Adams.

In 2010, Bates was commissioned to write for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011, an ensemble composed of musicians from around the world. His piece Mothership was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and went on YouTube on October 11, 2010. The piece is a mixture of acoustic and electronic elements and features sections for improvisation.

He is currently the composer in residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[5]


Symphonic Works[edit]

  • Garages of the Valley, for orchestra (2014)
  • The Rise of Exotic Computing, for sinfonietta & laptop(2013)
  • Attack Decay Sustain Release, fanfare for orchestra (2013)
  • Violin Concerto, for orchestra & violin (2012)
  • Afterlife, for mezzo and orchestra (2012)
  • Alternative Energy, for orchestra & electronica (2011)
  • Mothership, for orchestra & electronica (2011)
  • Desert Transport, for orchestra (2010)
  • Sea-Blue Circuitry, for orchestra or band (2010)
  • Mainframe Tropics, for orchestra (2010)
  • The B-Sides, for orchestra & electronica (2009)
  • Music from Underground Spaces, for orchestra & electronica (2008)
  • Liquid Interface [10][11][12] (2007)
  • Rusty Air in Carolina, for orchestra & electronica (2006)
  • White Lies for Lomax [13] (2009)
  • Omnivorous Furniture, for sinfonietta & electronica (2004)
  • Ode, prelude to the Beethoven 9th for orchestra (2001)
  • Icarian Rhapsody, for string orchestra (1999)

Chamber/Vocal Works[edit]

  • Carbide & Carbon, for cello ensemble (2013)
  • Difficult Bamboo, for Pierrot ensemble & percussion (2013)
  • Mass Transmission, for organ, elecronics, and chorus (2012)[14]
  • Bagatelles, for string quartet & electronica (2012)
  • Stereo is King, for three percussionists & tape (2011)
  • Observer in a Magellanic Cloud, for chorus (2009)
  • Sirens, for 12-part a capella chorus (2009)
  • The Life of Birds, for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello (2008)
  • White Lies for Lomax, for piano solo (2007)
  • Red River, for violin, clarinet, cello, piano, & electronics (2007)
  • Digital Loom, for organ and electronics (2005)
  • From Amber Frozen, for string quartet (2004)
  • String Band, for piano trio (2002)
  • Mercury Soul, for clarinet & piano (2002)


  • Riccardo Muti Conducts Mason Bates and Anna Clyne - Alternative Energy (CSO Resound, 2014)
  • Stereo is King (Innova Recordings, 2014)


  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 2 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ "University Symphony Orchestra, Performance, Department of Music, UC Berkeley". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Mason Bates, composer-in-residence". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  4. ^ "In the Mix - Oakland, California". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  5. ^ "Composer Mason Bates". Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Bates: Never Homeless", Music News: San Francisco Classical Voice, Janos Gereben, October 20, 2009
  7. ^ "Mason Bates". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow, Class of Spring 2005". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Mason Bates | Explore the Arts - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  11. ^ "Mason Bates: Liquid Interface - Piece Detail". LA Phil. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  12. ^ Balicki, Robert (March 6, 2007). "Composer Makes A Splash With Water Symphony". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  13. ^ "Van Cliburn Foundation - Mason Bates". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  14. ^

External links[edit]