WILLIAM MASON is a composer, performer, and music scholar. His eclectic musical and scholarly interests comprise avant-garde jazz, modern composition, and electronic music, alongside an abiding interest in the natural world and the wintry landscapes of his native Maine.
His debut album as a bandleader was with the Will Mason Ensemble, a jazz-inflected chamber ensemble of voice, oboe, alto sax, two guitars, bass, and Mason on drums and electronics. That album, Beams of the Huge Night, was released on New Amsterdam Records in 2015. The Boston Globe wrote that the compositions "balance improvisation and composition, and are shot through with
asymmetrical melodies and grooves, grinding harmonies, and atmospheric bouts of stillness."
Mason also leads the group Happy Place, an avant-rock band of two guitars and two drummers. The band recorded their debut album Northfield, which was released in 2016 on Exit Stencil Records. The New York Times wrote that the band "succeeds at fusing experimental rock and chamber music...The cathartic two-guitar attack has the feel of avant-rock, while the astringent harmony recalls experiments by Charles Ives."
Future projects include compositions for Nouveau Classical Project and Michi Wiancko; an electroacoustic jazz quintet; and a band exploring the resonances between American folk, blues, & roots music and the jazz avant-garde. Musicians Mason has performed with include Ned Rothenberg, Anna Webber, Matt Mitchell, Leila Bordreuil, Elias Stemeseder, Greg Chudzik, Miles Okazaki, Kate Gentile, Marc Hannaford, and Andrew Smiley.
Mason is Assistant Professor of Music at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. He previously taught at Columbia University, New York University, and at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Mason is completing a PhD in music theory at Columbia University, where his research focuses on music technology and embodied cognition in a variety of 20th and 21st century musics. He is co-editor of and a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, and he also has articles forthcoming from Grove Music Online.