Mason Bates


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. With electro-acoustic works such as Mothership and multimedia projects such as the animated film Philharmonia Fantastique, Bates has become a visible advocate for the modern orchestra and imaginatively integrates it into contemporary culture. As the first composer-in-residence appointed by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he presented a diverse array of artists on his series KC Jukebox using immersive production and stagecraft. Championed by legendary conductors from Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, Marin Alsop, and Leonard Slaktin, his symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. Named as the most-performed composer of his generation in a recent survey of American music, Bates has also composed for feature film, including Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, and Philharmonia Fantastique, the soundtrack of which was awarded a 2022 Grammy Award. This season features the premiere of Nomad Concerto for violinist Gil Shaham with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nezen-Seguin. Co-commissioned by Nashville Symphony and San Diego Symphony, the concerto explores the rich music of travelers, particularly Europe’s ‘music of the Roma’ with its blend of soul and rhythm. Bates’ recently premiered Piano Concerto continues to be performed by superstar Daniil Trifonov, who brings the piece this season to Chicago and Rome. Several large works continue to be heard across the country this season, including The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at San Francisco Opera. Awarded a 2019 Grammy, the opera explores an iconic figure of our time and the people closest to him. After the past few years have seen the second production visiting five cities to much acclaim, SF Opera brings back the original production that first launched the piece in Santa Fe. A diverse artist exploring the ways classical music integrates into contemporary culture, Bates serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.