Mercury Soul is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that engages a new generation through performances combining classical music and electronica in alternative venues with immersive stagecraft, elaborate production, and digital education.
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Founded by composer/DJ Mason Bates, conductor Benjamin Schwartz, and visual designer Anne Patterson, Mercury Soul presents classical music in new ways to a new generation in soldout shows around the country. First launched at San Francisco’s famed Mezzanine club in 2008, it brought over 1,400 people to experience a unique combination of imaginative stagecraft, substantive programming, and engaging electro-acoustic interludes linking DJ’d and classical sets. The San Francisco Symphony subsequently invited Mercury Soul to curate several After Hours events at Davies Hall, and the project continued to produce events in San Francisco’s bustling club circuit at venues such as Mezzanine or 111 Minna. Institutional partnerships moved the project to new cities and exciting, dynamic venues, such as the New World Symphony’s Frank Gehry-designed hall. The Miami shows were so successful that NWS has invited Mercury Soul to return for two events (one of them during the Winter Music Conference). A completely different event was designed for subsequent a warehouse party with members of the Chicago Symphony as well, demonstrating that Mercury Soul adapts to the venue and the ensemble. Mercury Soul is also focusing on more specialized educational opportunities through it’s youth-oriented program, Mercury Soul EDUCATION, which exposes high-school students to the beauty of classical music through educational outreach and underage-friendly Mercury Soul events at local clubs. Mercury Soul is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has been the recipient of grants from Creative Capital and the East Bay Community Fund.