The San Francisco Symphony turns 100 this year. So how does it celebrate? With an ear-bending American Mavericks festival that bridges space and time. The poster boy for the program is 35-year-old composer and DJ Mason Bates(aka DJ Masonic), a renowned local artist who marries “new music” (21st century innovations on the classical tradition) with electronics (the computer-driven realm of infinite sounds). Bates premieres “Mass Transmission,” a piece inspired by the little-known tale of how early radio in Holland was used to enable communication between parents and their children, who had been forced to work in the colonial government in the Dutch East Indies. Post-Internet, the magic of e-connection is gone, and many of us have forgotten how to feel close, even in the real-live flesh. Bates intends to revive our awe of and respect for the technology of possibility and the value of an open heart. This work, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, features electronica (with the composer on buttons and knobs), chorus (for “animal warmth,” as he puts it), and organ (the “omniscient” binding tie). After the show, Bates busts out as groovy spin doctor for a special Davies After Hours dance party, with David Arend on bass, Aaron Kahn on trumpet, and Gloria Justen on electric violin. Titles by John Adams, Morton Feldman, and Edgar Varese are also on the bill for the orchestra’s performance this evening.
March 15-17, 8 p.m., 2012

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