I can’t say I’m surprised by the announcement because if you’ve ever heard the music by Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, it’s clear the pair have a music vision worth nurturing. It’s exactly why Riccardo Muti decided to extend the terms for Bates and Clyne for an additional two seasons.
“I have been working on the scores of our two Mead Composers-in-Residence, Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, for the last several weeks in preparation for the performances here in Chicago and on our West Coast tour,” said CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti. “As I have studied their work, I am impressed with what they have created. They each have a unique voice, and I am very proud that we have brought such fine young composers to Chicago. I am happy that they will stay with us for two additional years.”
Excited by the news and job extension, each had the following to say:
“The past two years have been about forging a deep relationship with Maestro Muti, composing new pieces for the wonderful CSO musicians and expanding the MusicNOW format and audience. It’s a joy to know that another two years awaits,” said Mason Bates.
“It is a great honor to learn of the residency extension, which will allow Mason and myself to further develop our relationship with Maestro Riccardo Muti, the fantastic musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago community,” added Anna Clyne.
The CSO has commissioned orchestral works from both Bates and Clyne that will receive premieres in February 2012, led by Riccardo Muti. On February 2, Bates’ Alternative Energy—featuring sounds recorded at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois—has its world premiere. Clyne’s Night Ferry, inspired by the music of Schubert, has its world premiere on February 9. Muti and the CSO will also perform both pieces during their February 2012 California tour.
Amongst their many accomplishments:
- Over the past two seasons Bates and Clyne have programmed, curated and expanded audiences for MusicNOW, the CSO’s contemporary music series hosted at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. They have invited composers to write new works for the series and overseen collaborations with such diverse and innovative artists as Mouse on Mars, Victor Gama and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Both Bates and Clyne have had numerous works performed on the series during their first two seasons, including the world premieres of MusicNOW commissions Spangled Unicorn (Clyne) and Stereo is King (Bates).
- Anna Clyne has also been an active participant in the CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access and Training initiatives. She has participated in the Institute’s work with incarcerated young women at the Illinois Youth Center at Warrenville. She is a regular guest at the center along with CSO teaching artists and will be leading an intensive composition workshop for some of the residents later this year. Clyne also worked with 12 young composers in spring 2011, acting as a mentor as they collaboratively composed “Music Makers,” the official song of the Institute’s 2011 Chicago Youth in Music Festival.
- Mason Bates has been very active in the new music scene in Chicago. He hosted the city’s first Mercury Soul classical-electronica hybrid event in May 2011 and is hosting the second one on June 15, 2012. He has also become involved in the Women’s Board at the CSO’s signature Remix events, performing at Remix I: Fusion in February 2011 and helping to program Remix II: Tuned Up this coming March. Finally, Riccardo Muti and the CSO played his piece, The B-Sides, to critical acclaim in May 2011.
All in all, Clyne and Bates are doing great things for the city of Chicago, and this is awesome news. Hopefully, the city continues to embrace and appreciate the pair’s hard work and dedication as they push the musical boundaries with their unique compositional voices.