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That's Classic 

Wednesday, May 20 2009
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It’s tempting to think of Mercury Soul’s Mason Bates and Benjamin Schwartz as modern day, musical equivalents of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Bates divides his time between composing high-profile symphonic and choral works for the likes of the San Francisco Symphony and Chanticleer and mixing beats under the moniker DJ Masonic at such San Francisco nightspots as 111 Minna and Temple. Schwartz, who just finished his tenure as resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and conducts major orchestras all over the U.S. and Europe, has collaborated with the likes of Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and recently conducted the premiere of a piece written entirely for “instruments” found in a San Francisco dump, including a bird cage and a bicycle wheel. But comparing the Bay Area-based maestros to literature’s most famous schizophrenic isn’t really accurate. For Bates and Schwartz straddle the worlds of classical and club music so seamlessly that they make both genres seem like they’re sitting side by side on a couch conversing intimately rather than shouting at each other from opposite sides of a crowded room. The duo’s collaboration with visual artist Anne Patterson last year illustrates the point. Schwartz, Bates and Patterson’s hybrid event fused the work of electronica DJs and classically trained instrumentalists and attracted upwards of 1,400 people. Coming off the back of Bates and Schwartz’s After Hours “Mercury Lounge” spinoff at Davies Symphony Hall, this incarnation of Mercury Soul promises to entice more classical music lovers to SOMA — and more clubbers to Civic Center — than ever before.
Thu., May 28, 9 p.m., 2009

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Chloe Veltman

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