About – Mercury Soul


Mercury Soul engages a new generation of music-lovers through performances combining classical music and electronica in alternative venues with immersive stagecraft and elaborate production.

For information about the show, click HERE


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.


MASON BATES, who appears as DJ Masonic in San Francisco’s clubs and artspaces, curates large, hybrid musical events in extraordinary spaces around the country.  A dynamic electronica artist informed by his activities as a symphonic composer, he has worked in a range of venues — from big commercial clubs such as SF’s Mezzanine and Berlin’s Volksbühne, to institutional spaces such as SFMOMA and Miami’s New World Symphony.  His works fusing orchestra and electronica have made him one of the most sought-after composers of his generation. He has served as composer-in-residence for the Chicago Symphony and is currently the first composer-in-residence with the Kennedy Center.

JUSTIN REED, appearing under his own name, as well as multiple production aliases (Floodreed, DJR, 657 Connection, Striz and the R), as a DJ for Mercury Soul. Beyond sharing the DJ duties for the events Justin is a guiding force behind the electro side of the evenings, bringing the DJ playlists in line with any theme or focus more clearly represented by the acoustic program. With 23 years of experience performing as a DJ under a multitude of genres and environments, Justin brings the rich history of electronic and dance music to bear in his preparation and performance. Additionally, Justin has a deep history producing events including underground raves to club shows, sushi bars to corporate events. With Mercury Soul he is able to bring all of this experience to the table.

BENJAMIN SHWARTZ has conducted performances in diverse venues ranging from Berlin’s Philharmonie to San Francisco’s Junk Yard. His work with orchestras and opera houses includes the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Symphony, the Tokyo Symphony, the Taipei Symphony, the BBC Scottish Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Iceland Symphony, and the Curtis Opera. For three years, he was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.He currently serves as Music Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra.