Biography

John Mackey (he/him) has written for orchestras (Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Youth Symphony), theater (Dallas Theater Center), and extensively for dance (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Parsons Dance Company, New York City Ballet), but the majority of his work for the past decade has been for wind ensembles (the fancy name for concert bands), and his band catalog now receives annual performances numbering in the thousands.

Recent commissions include works for the BBC Singers, the Dallas Wind Symphony, military, high school, middle school, and university bands across America and Japan, and concertos for Joseph Alessi (principal trombone, New York Philharmonic) and Christopher Martin (principal trumpet, New York Philharmonic). In 2014, he became the youngest composer ever inducted into the American Bandmasters Association. In 2018, he received the Wladimir & Rhoda Lakond Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He resides in San Francisco, California, with his spouse, a philosopher who works on the ethics of technology, and also titles all of his pieces; and their cats, Noodle and Bloop.

Newsday

"A high-energy style and a sharp theatrical sense, as well as a funny streak. Simply sensational."

The American Academy of Arts & Letters

"His music has enormous range, from the slow and darkly emerging opening of Aurora Awakes to the manic zaniness of Asphalt Cocktail to the grand sweep and romanticism of Wine-Dark Sea. His Songs from the End of the World show a mature composer with an unfailing sense of the human voice and the beauty of subtly shifting colors."


San Francisco Classical Voice

“Redline Tango is a true dazzler.”


Noodle & Bloop, dazzled by Redline Tango

Photos

Headshots. I take literally hundreds of images for my blog, so if you're looking for pictures from trips, meals, concerts, or our cats, you should visit the blog.

Equipment

I occasionally receive questions about my hardware & software setup. Here's a list of what I'm using, as of January 2021. (In all likelihood, I'll forget to update this for the next two years.)

If you want to read about how I actually use all of this equipment to make a piece of music, read about my writing process here.

Hardware

  • Apple 16" Macbook Pro, 2.4 GHz 8-core Intel Core i9, 64 GB RAM, 4 TB SSD
    LG 27" monitor with portrait/landscape pivot stand

Primary speakers / amplification

  • Apple AirPods Max

  • Paradigm Signature S8

  • Paradigm Signature Servo Subwoofer

  • Storm Audio ISP MK2

  • McIntosh MC302

Software

  • Finale 26.3

  • Kontakt 5 (running within Vienna Ensemble Pro)

  • Vienna Ensemble Pro 6

  • Vienna Suite Pro

  • Vienna Symphonic Library, Winds Complete, Full Library

  • Vienna Symphonic Library, Percussion, Full Library

  • Vienna Symphonic Library, Keyboards Complete
    Vienna Mir Pro (reverb engine)

  • Spitfire Audio Chamber Strings

  • Project SAM Trumpets, French Horns, and Trombones

  • Project SAM True Strike Percussion

Piano / MIDI Controller

  • Yamaha C3 grand piano with Disklavier (model DC3M4)

Studios

Past + Present

Cambridge, MA

Studio from 2014-2019

Cambridge, MA

Studio from 2011-2014.

Austin, TX

Studio from 2008-2011.

Los Angeles, CA

Studio from 2005-2008

New York, NY

Studio from 2002-2005.