Christian Mason (b.1984) is a London-based composer whose music has been described as ‘astonishingly inventive and powerful’ (The Strad) and as ‘music of atmosphere and hallucinatory powers… that seems extemporised yet deep down is highly organised’ (Classical Source). Mason is enjoying a prolific career with an array of exciting projects and commissions including a flute concerto for Noemi Gyori and Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, premiering in April; two Hölderlin song cycles for Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo), Thorwald Jørgensen (theremin) and Explore Ensemble, performed as part of a residency at Schloss Mediale Werdenberg in May; a residency (2023/24) at Musikdorf Ernen, Switzerland, which will see a new chamber piece and several other works presented during the festival in August; a new duo with electronics for Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Joonas Ahonen, composed as part of residency at the SWR Experimentalstudio Freiburg during 2024; a ‘concerto grosso’ for Elinor Frey and baroque ensemble Il Gardellino; and a new CD ‘Time Space Sound Light’ recorded by Octandre Ensemble for release on Winter & Winter in March 2024.
Major projects from last season include Invisible Threads, a 70-minute performance installation – for the Arditti Quartet, Neue Vocalsolisten, Gareth Davis and Krassimir Sterev – which premiered at Witten festival in April 2023, with a second performance at Eclat Festival in Stuttgart on the 1st of February 2024; The Singing Tree, an environmental cantata setting texts by Paul Griffiths, for BCMG, Neue Vocalsolisten and Finchley Children’s Music Group, conducted by Michael Wendeberg at Birmingham Town Hall in May 2023; In Unknown Elements… In Endless Transmutation…, a sound installation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, which was presented at the Boulezsaal Berlin and Tonhalle Zürich. In France, Christian concluded his two-year residency with the Orchestre National d’Auvergne, with the premiere of Voix Terrestre for string orchestra, enhanced by an hour-long radio portrait by France Musique.
2022 saw the completion of Time and Eternity, an orchestral cycle in three parts premiered respectively by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (with Christian Thielemann), the Konzerthausorchester Berlin (with Christoph Eschenbach), and the hr-sinfonieorchester (with Michał Nesterowicz). Past commissions include pieces for Philharmonia Orchestra (with Anu Komsi), Münchener Kammerorchester, Orchestre National de France (Alla Breve), and Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (at Donaueschingen Festival); ensemble pieces for Ensemble Recherche, the CONNECT project (London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Remix, Ensemble Asko-Schönberg), Lucerne Festival (Ensemble Intercontemporain), BBC PROMS (London Sinfonietta); and chamber music works for Arditti Quartet (Paris Philharmonie), Ligeti Quartet, Britten Sinfonia and ‘Nouveaux Horizons’ festival at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix; solo/duo works for Carolin Widmann, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Momo Kodama, Midori, Mieko Kanno, Jack Adler-McKean (tuba) and the Orléans Concours International (Brin d’Herbe).
A 2015 winner of an Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Composer Prize, Christian is a visiting teacher of composition at the University of Cambridge, and mentor for the LSO Panufnik Young Composers Project, the Philharmonia Composers’ Academy and the Hong Kong Composers’ Scheme (2023/24). He has been a resident artist at Eton College, Villa Concordia, Civitella Ranieri and at SWR Experimental Studio in Freiburg. In 2012 he was awarded the Mendhelssohn Scholarship and received a British Composer Award. Christian completed a Ph.D at King’s College London with George Benjamin and worked as Composition Assistant to Sir Harrison Birtwistle. He previously studied at the University of York. He is a founding Artistic Director of the Octandre Ensemble and plays the Theremin. His works are published by Breitkopf & Härtel. His works are recorded on the London Sinfonietta Label, LSO Live, Col Legno, Winter & Winter and nonclassical.