• Noted for his highly individual idiom, a multi-layered play of rhythm and bright sonorities
• Winner of several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.
• Integrates his love for blues and rock guitar into many works, including Troubadour Songs (1991) for string quartet and electric guitar; Physical Property (1992) for electric guitar and string quartet; and Orpheus Unsung, an electric guitar opera.
• Dreamhouse (2003) for solo baritone, vocal quartet, electric guitar quartet and orchestra, nominated for four GRAMMY awards
• Orchestral works have been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, LA Phil, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, among others.
• Professor of composition at Princeton University and director of the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute
Works by Steven Mackey include:
Physical Property (1992) for electric guitar and string quartet
Dreamhouse (2003) for solo baritone, vocal quartet, electric guitar quartet and orchestra
Beautiful Passing (2008) for violin and orchestra
Mnemosyne's Pool (2014) for orchestra
Looking Ahead: Mackey’s Memoir, a 75-minute musical-theatre work based on the unpublished memoir of his mother, debuted in 2022 and continues to be performed this season at Benaroya Hall in Seattle (Feb 2), featuring narrator Natalie Christa and the arx duo, directed by Mark DeChiazza.
While frequently performing as soloist in his own works in the past, Mackey has now written a concerto for electric guitar and orchestra for another virtuoso guitarist, JIJI, who joins Robert Spano and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Aluminum Flowers (Mar 9). JIJI performs the new work with the Utah Symphony the following month, also led by David Robertson (Apr 20).
"I imagine...a kind of vernacular music from a culture that doesn't really exist." — Steven Mackey