PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) congratulates its Composer of the Year, Mason Bates, on being named one of the five recipients of the Heinz Awards.

Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation on Wednesday announced that Bates, 35, will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000 as the winner of the Heinz Award in the category of Arts and Humanities.

Bates is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the PSO. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA. He is one of the youngest-ever recipients of a Heinz Award.

Bates’ music fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno. His symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds, and is championed by leading conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and John Adams. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships or through his classical/DJ project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing more than a thousand people.

Bates’ work will be celebrated in four weekends of BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts, including one world premiere and three first performances by the PSO. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also will present Bates’ classical/DJ project, Mercury Soul, on Friday, April 5, 2013, at STATIC, 1650 Smallman St., in the Strip District, featuring PSO musicians.

Launched in 2001-2002, the PSO created the Composer of the Year program to provide audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to encounter music of living composers, and establish a relationship with the composers through the experience of hearing multiple works and learning about the works through pre-concert talks and chats with the composer. Past participants are Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, Michael Hersch, Krzysztof Penderecki and Rodion Shchedrin. The 2012-2013 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season marks the 12th year of the Composer of the Year program, which is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Heinz Awards will be presented at a ceremony Oct. 11 in Pittsburgh. Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards celebrate the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him. The awards, administered by the Heinz Family Foundation, annually recognize individuals for their contributions in the areas of Arts and Humanities, Environment, Human Condition, Public Policy, and Technology, the Economy and Employment.

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