American Masters: Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and Composer Mason Bates

Mar 13, 2015

American Masters is the title of a recently released CD, referring to the composers and works that appear on the disc.  But the term can just as easily be applied to the performer - violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.

Anne is no stranger to Crossover listeners, and we're lucky to be able to speak with her whenever something new is on her horizon, which winds up being quite frequently. This time around, she introduces us to one of today's bright lights in the composing world, Mason Bates.

This techno-artist/DJ turned classical composer is only 38 years old, but his output is prolific, as are his accolades.  Bates is a two-time winner of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Composer of the Year award, the first ever composer in residence at the Kennedy Center, a recipient of the Heinz Family Foundation award, resident composer for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a Van Cliburn Invitational First Prize winner, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and much more.

Anne and Mason speak with us about his Violin Concerto, which he wrote for Meyers. We'll hear the work as well, featuring the violinist along with the London Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin.

The American Masters CD itself also has recordings of John Corigliano's Lullabye for Natalie and Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, as well as Bates' composition.  The Barber, from 1939, appears first, followed by the Corigliano from 2010 and finally, the Bates from 2012.  The disc is deliberately produced that way as a chronological trip through the works.  The Corigliano and the Bates are world-premiere recordings.

It's American Masters this week on Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 on WRTI-FM, with an encore Friday evening at 7 on WRTI-HD2.  Both airings are available on the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.