In Tuesday’s (12/31) San Jose Mercury News (California), Richard Scheinin writes about the San Francisco Symphony’s two-week “Beethoven and Bates” festival this month, spotlighting composer Mason Bates. “It’s more than two decades since he composed his first orchestral work … 15 years since he began to seriously feed his addiction for ‘imaginative and trippy’ electronica at clubs on New York’s Lower East Side…. By finding a place in orchestral music for the technology and rhythmic textures of the club scene—Bates is cajoling ‘the beast,’ as he calls the orchestra, to ‘dance in a new style.’ … Three years ago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and maestro Riccardo Muti appointed him as a composer-in-residence. Michael Tilson Thomas … has championed Bates since 2009 … when he premiered ‘The B-Sides,’ to be encored at this month’s festival with Bates as soloist on laptop…. ‘He is one of the extraordinary colorists in music today,’ says conductor Leonard Slatkin, who premiered Bates’ ‘Liquid Interface’ … with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., in 2007…. His latest piece, composed for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, is all-acoustic. Titled ‘Garages of the Valley,’ it will attempt to ‘conjure up the quicksilver world of computing.’ He’s listened for inspiration to ‘Swedish music, great textural composers like Anders Hillborg. I really want to create sounds as wild as that.’ ”

Posted January 2, 2014