Kennedy Center names Mason Bates as their First Composer in Residence

One of today’s most innovative and in-demand composers, Mason Bates will join the Kennedy Center in the 2015-2016 Season as its first Composer-In-Residence. During his three-year residency, Bates will compose music across artistic genres and curate a new music series. He will also advance initiatives that use technology to educate audiences and will encourage the inclusion of local artists and DJs in performances at the Kennedy Center. The new music concerts will present the works of living composers using Bates’s signature re-imagining of the classical music experience. His innovative ideas have been extremely effective at bringing large and enthusiastic audiences to new music concerts throughout the United States and abroad.

Mason’s compositions use an expanded electro-acoustic palette to bring to life unusual and imaginative narrative forms, a uniquely 21st century approach to musical storytelling. He was recently named the second-most performed living composer, and the widespread embrace of his music has done much to change the sound of the orchestra. When he received the Heinz medal in the Humanities in 2012, Teresa Heinz said of Mason’s work:

“Mason Bates illustrates what can happen when a truly talented artist dares to stretch and even reinvent the boundaries of an art form. By merging symphonic orchestration with electronic sound and tackling broad creative themes, he is breathing new life into orchestral music and translating it for a new generation.”

Under the new vision of President Deborah F. Rutter, the Kennedy Center is re-imagining ways of presenting the arts in the 21st century through immersive audience engagement and inter-disciplinary programming. The artist’s creative vision will be at the center of the dialogue between the Kennedy Center and its patrons, allowing audiences to experience the vibrancy of the creative process more directly. By presenting new art to new audiences in new ways, Mason Bates will initiate a new era of creative programming at the Kennedy Center that will advance the Center’s ambition of discovering and nurturing the next generation of artistic expression.

Planned Kennedy Center commissions over the course of Bates’s residency include works for the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, and performances of his contemporary dance programming. He will also be featured as a performer at many Kennedy Center performances across genres.

Read the Washington Post announcement here.