KMFA/Austin Launches New Program Featuring Black Composer, Quinn Mason, for Classical Music


Quinn Mason, First resident to compose three new works for radio distribution

KMFA Classical 89.5 announces the launch of the Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program with Dallas-based, rising composer Quinn Mason named as the inaugural commissioned composer. Mason will spend the week of February 21-25 in residence with KMFA in Austin, Texas.

Composer Quinn Mason
Composer Quinn Mason
Composer Quinn Mason
Composer Quinn Mason

With classical music historically dominated by white (mostly male) composers, performers, and managers, works of composers of color and other minorities have been overlooked and underrepresented, not only on concert stages, but also on record labels and on classical radio stations, which rely on recorded music for their daily playlists. The Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program was inspired by the national call for greater diversity in classical music.

“KMFA strives to bring our listeners a diverse range of music, including works by the underrepresented, including women and composers of color,” explains KMFA Director of Broadcasting & Content Anthony McSpadden, who conceived the program. “Now that we have a world-class performance space and state-of-the-art recording capabilities, we’re excited to turn our attention to the creation of new music from composers of color, like Quinn, and we’ll share the fruits of these efforts with other classical broadcasters around the country in hopes that they be able to add to the existing works already in their libraries.”

Following a week of creative exploration, Mason will compose three new works consisting of one for piano, one for ensemble, and one for choir. Each piece will be recorded at different times by select performers in KMFA’s acoustically stunning Draylen Mason Music Studio, built for just this sort of music discovery.

Performances of Mason’s new commissioned works will be premiered over several months with three live concerts beginning this May. These performances will be recorded and distributed to classical radio stations around the country for incorporation into their playlists following the world premieres. 

“I’m extremely honored to serve as KMFA’s inaugural Draylen Mason Composer in Residence,” said composer Quinn Mason. “It is in this position that I hope I can bring my personal musical voice to a wider audience with music that has meaning to me and will hopefully have meaning to a variety of listeners. I’m especially looking forward to creating new compositions just for this residency, in collaboration with world class artists.”

The Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program honors the memory of Draylen Mason, a promising young Austin musician killed in 2018 by the Austin package bomber.

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