John Mackey (born 1 October 1973 in New Philadelphia, Ohio) is an American composer. He holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano and Donald Erb, respectively. Mr. Mackey particularly enjoys writing music for dance and for symphonic winds, and he has focused on those mediums for the past few years.
His works have been performed at the Sydney Opera House; the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Carnegie Hall; the Kennedy Center; Weill Recital Hall; Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; Italy's Spoleto Festival; Alice Tully Hall; the Joyce Theater; Dance Theater Workshop; and throughout Italy, Chile, Japan, Colombia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, England, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
John has received numerous commissions from the Parsons Dance Company, as well as commissions from the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, the Dallas Theater Center, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the New York Youth Symphony, Ailey 2, Concert Artists Guild, Peridance Ensemble, and Jeanne Ruddy Dance, among many others. Recent and upcoming commissions include works for the concert bands of the SEC Athletic Conference, the American Bandmasters Association, and the Dallas Wind Symphony.
As a frequent collaborator, John has worked with a diverse range of artists, from Doug Varone to David Parsons, from Robert Battle to the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team. (The team won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics performing to Mackey's score, "Damn.")
John has been recognized with numerous grants and awards from organizations including ASCAP (Concert Music Awards, 1999 through 2006; Morton Gould Young Composer Award, 2002 and 2003), the American Music Center (Margaret Jory Fairbanks Copying Assistance Grant, 2000, 2002), and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (Live Music for Dance commissioning grants, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2005). He was a CalArts/Alpert Award nominee in 2000.
In February 2003, the Brooklyn Philharmonic premiered John’s work “Redline Tango” at the BAM Opera House, with Kristjan Jarvi conducting. The Dallas Symphony, under Andrew Litton, performed the piece in both Dallas and Vail in 2004. Mr. Litton performed the work again in 2005, this time with the Minnesota Orchestra, and in 2006 with the Bergen Philharmonic of Norway. Marin Alsop performed the work at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in the summer of 2005. John made a new version of the work for wind ensemble in 2004 -- Mackey's first work for wind band -- and that version has since received over 100 performances worldwide. The wind version won the 2004 Walter Beeler Memorial Composition Prize, and in 2005, the ABA/Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association, making John the youngest composer to receive the honor.
In 2009, John's work "Aurora Awakes" received both the ABA/Ostwald Award and the NBA William D. Revelli Composition Contest.
John served as a Meet-The-Composer/American Symphony Orchestra League "Music Alive!" Composer In Residence with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony in 2002-2003, and with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2004-2005. He was Composer In Residence at the Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, Colorado, in the summer of 2004, Composer In Residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in August 2005. He has held college residenies at Florida State, University of Michigan, Ohio State, Arizona State, University of Southern California, University of Texas, a many others. Mr. Mackey served as Music Director of the Parsons Dance Company from 1999-2003.
To entertain himself while procrastinating on commissions, John is a photography enthusiast.
Works for Winds
- Asphalt Cocktail (2009)
- Aurora Awakes (2009)
- Clocking (2007)
- Concerto for Soprano Sax (2007)
- Drum Music: Concerto for Percussion (2011)
- Foundry (2011)
- The Frozen Cathedral (2012)
- Harvest: Concerto for Trombone (2009)
- High Wire (2012)
- Hymn to a Blue Hour (2010)
- Kingfishers Catch Fire (2007)
- Redline Tango (2004)
- Sasparilla (2005)
- Sheltering Sky (2012)
- Strange Humors (2006)
- Turbine (2006)
- Turning (2007)
- Undertow (2008)
- Xerxes (2010)
- John Mackey - Official Website (OstiMusic)
- Phillips, Rebecca L. John Mackey: The Composer, His Compositional Style and a Conductor's Analysis of Redline Tango and Turbine [Doctoral Dissertation].
- Salzman, Timothy, editor. (2012) A Composer's Insight. Volume 5. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications. pp. 143–154.