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Steven Mackey

Born: 1956

Nationality: American

Publisher: AMP

Photo © Alice Arnold


In 1989, the Chicago Sun-Times called Steven Mackey a "super-talented young composer" after a performance of his work by the Kronos Quartet and Dawn Upshaw. Since then, he has continued to lead an active musical life as a composer, guitarist and Professor of Music at Princeton University.

As a composer, Mackey has been honored by numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lieberson Fellowship and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Joseph H. Bearns Prize from Columbia University, a Tanglewood Fellowship, an award from Broadcast Music, Inc., and the International Society of Contemporary Music Award. In 1986, he was Composer-in-Residence at the Aspen Music Festival. His commissions have included works for the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress, the Fromm Foundation, the Concord String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and soprano Dawn Upshaw. His string quartet, Fumeux Fume was a winner in the 1987 Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, and Indigenous Instruments was selected to represent the United States at the International Composers Rostrum in Paris. Trained as a classical guitarist, lutenist and electric guitarist, Mackey frequently plays his own music and has toured often with the Kronos Quartet performing new works for string quartet and electric guitar. His music is recorded on Nonesuch, BMG's Catalyst label, Bridge, CRI and Newport Classics.

Steven Mackey was born in Frankfurt, Germany to American parents in 1956. He earned his B.A. from the University of California-Davis, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, an M.A. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Ph.D from Brandeis University in 1985. Mackey is currently Professor of Music at Princeton University where he is Co-Director of the Composers Ensemble at Princeton and teaches composition, theory and courses in twentieth-century music. He has been a member of the faculty of Princeton University since 1985 and in 1991 he was awarded their first-ever-Distinguished Teaching Award. A former "freestyle" skiing champion, he is married to marimba virtuoso Nancy Zeltsman and in his free time enjoys tennis and playing with his dog, Mochi.
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