Hilary Performs Mason Bates

A few days ago I published my first post about American composer Mason Bates. I am on a personal “journey” of sorts to discover Bates’ music, and to share with you what I learn.

All of what follows is my own personal view/experience. My sense is that classical music is changing, and that’s good. In order to maintain interest for the listening public, we need an awareness that music in 2016 will surely sound different than music in the day of Joseph Haydn or Johann Sebastian Bach.

Some composers are exploring the addition of video dimensions to their work. Others are experimenting with more percussive elements. And I am on this journey to experience some of this new music and report to you how I reacted.

So…. Today I listened attentively to the second composition I ever heard that was crafted by Mason Bates. I liked this piece very much, because I found that it has a unique spirit, and it met the objective of the person who commissioned it. Violinist Hilary Hahn wanted to expand the set of encores available to her that she can perform at the end of her concerts. She created a competition, and Mr. Bates’ entry was one of 27 winners.


For me, there was an enjoyable American feeling to this 3-minute work. It felt like a farm scene that could have originated from many areas of our vast country. The music stimulated a personal imagery of a farm that I had certainly never seen as a “City Boy”, so I enjoyed that experience.

Here is Mason Bates’ encore titled “Ford’s Farm” for violin and piano:

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