“Mason Bates, 41, has been named the most-performed composer of his generation,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Thursday’s (9/27) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Mr. Bates’ next orchestral premiere, ‘Resurrexit,’ takes place Friday with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Q: The Steel City is delighted to have you back. Bates: I feel a real connection to Pittsburgh. They’ve premiered so many pieces of mine. I’ve been a composer in residence twice. Q: Is the title ‘Resurrexit’ a spiritual nod? Bates: Yes, it was Manfred [Honeck’s] idea to commission a spiritual concert opener. His Catholicism is such a significant part of his life and music. Q: What’s the piece like? Bates: The first [part] sounds like mourning, almost a miniature requiem. The middle section that I think of as the reanimation—flickers of light start to dart all around the orchestra. And the third is the resurrection itself. Q: Any unusual tonalities? Bates: Yes, actually. I’ve been wanting to explore the scales and the exotic modes of the Middle East. Q: Any electronics? Bates: No electronics for this piece, but I’m using an instrument called a semantron, a sort of plank instrument used to summon monks to prayer at the start of a procession.”

Posted September 28, 2018

Mason Bates photo by Ryan Schude