Music Theater

Steve Mackey

Steve Mackey headshot


The significant influences on my work as a composer are my experience as a rock/blues guitar player in early 70's bands, as a renaissance and baroque lutenist in late 70's early music ensembles, and as a student of Western art music from the 12th through 20th centuries at the University of California at Davis, The State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Brandeis University.

My music emphasizes real-time human performance. It frequently includes electric guitar that I play myself but I continue to be fascinated by the possibilities and idiosyncrasies of traditional acoustic instruments and the people who play them. In particular I find the possibilities of a virtuoso soloist and ensemble to be fascinating.

During the school year I have various points of contact with students. In addition to leading the classes and seminars listed in the course catalogue, I meet with students individually to discuss composition, theory, literature, and virtually anything of common interest. I also enjoy improvising with students who are similarly inclined. Usually, the result of these jam sessions is simply quivering air but on occasion they have led to live performances and useful tapes.

Recent Compositions include:

Slide, staged music theater work for eighth blackbird
It Is Time, for SO percussion quartet
Beautiful Passing, for Colin Currie (solo percussion) and orchestra
Five Animated Shorts , for cimbalom and ensemble
Time Release , for Colin Currie (solo percussion) and orchestra
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral , for Prism (saxophone quartet) and orchestra
Dreamhouse , for 3 electric guitars, electric bass, 4 amplified singers, tenor/actor and orchestra
Pedal Tones , for pipe organ and orchestra
Tuck and Roll , for electric guitar and orchestra
Ravenshead a 90 minute mono-drama for singer/actor and electro-acoustic chamber ensemble
Deal for Electric Guitar, Drum Set and Chamber Orchestra written for Bill Frisell
Eating Greens written for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Banana Dump Truck, Concerto for Cello and orchestra written for Fred Sherry

Recent CDs:

Lonely Motel: Music From Slide, for mixed chamber ensemble, electric guitar and vocalist. (Winner of Grammy award 2011).
Dreamhouse, large orchestra, 4 electric guitars, 5 amplified singers (nominated for 4 Grammy awards 2010)
Interior Design , chamber music for violin, Bridge Records
Banana Dump/Truck , concertos for cello and electric guitar, Albany Records
Heavy Light , mixed chamber ensemble, New World Records
String Theory , string quartets, Albany Records
Tuck and Roll , orchestra music, BMG/RCA Red Seal
Lost and Found , solo electric guitar music, Bridge Records

Campus Address

310 Woolworth Center

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