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Steven Mackey

composer, jazz guitarist

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.

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. As Co-director of the Composers' Ensemble at Princeton (a performance organization which performs mostly student, some faculty and occasionally other composers' compositions) I work closely with students on the preparation of performances of their work. I sometimes conduct but more often coach and give moralsupport to players and composers. I also enjoy improvising with students who aresimilarly 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:Ravenshead a 90 minute mono-drama for singer/actor and electro-acoustic chamberensembleDeal for Electric Guitar, Drum Set and Chamber Orchestra written for Bill FrisellEating Greens written for the Chicago Symphony OrchestraBanana Dump Truck, Concerto for Cello and orchestra written for Fred Sherry

Recent CD on Bridge Records:Lost and Found Electric Guitar Music by Steve Mackey

Photo Credit: Jane Richey


Campus Address

Woolworth Center

Campus Phone



The Princeton Atelier was endowed in 2009 through the generosity of a donor who has chosen to remain anonymous. The Atelier is additionally supported through The Newhouse Foundation, The Erik C. Blachford '89 Fund, The Schare-Pfaffenroth Endowment Fund, The Jordan Roth '97 Performance Fund and The Peter T. Joseph Foundation.


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