Charles Norman Mason has been recognized repeatedly for his originality and attention to color. Peter Burwasser of Fanfare writes that Mason’s music speaks in a “boldly, original voice”. High Performance Review states that the music is “full of invention... funky and colorful... consistently ingenious.” Katherine Porlington writes in Upstate Music (NY) “...Mason's Senderos Que se Bifurcan... is, without doubt, one of the finest new clarinet chamber works of the past twenty years.” Nancy Raabe writes in The Birmingham News “Mason's brilliant "From Shook Foil" occupies a class of its own... it is charged with creativity
Mason has received many awards for his compositions including the 2008 American Composer Orchestra “Playing it Unsafe” prize, the 2005 Rome Prize (Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellowship), the International Society of Bassists 2004, 1998 Premi Internacional de Composició Musical Ciutat de Tarragona Orchestra Music prize, a 1994 National Endowment of the Arts Individual Artist Award, 2002 First Prize in the Atlanta Clarinet Association Composition Competition, a 1998 Plymouth Music Orchestra Reading fellow, a 1995 Delius Prize, a 1996 Dale Warland Singers Commission Prize, 1989 honorable mention in the International Bourges Electro- Acoustic Composition Competition.
His music has been performed throughout the world. Recent performances include the FORO INTERNACIONAL DE MUSICA NUEVA in Mexico City, the Quirinale in Rome, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Nuova Musica Consonante in Romania, Spoleto Festival (SC), the Florida State New Music Festival, and Merkin Hall (Washington Square Contemporary Music Ensemble). He was composer-in-residence with the Golliard Ensemble for 2004-2005. Twice this year his music was broadcast on “Performance Today” on NPR.
He has received commissions from American Composers Orchestra, DUO 46, the Miami String Quartet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Dale Warland Singers, the Corona Guitar Kvartet (Denmark), the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Atlas Saxophone Quartet, West Wind (France), ONIX (Mexico), Luna Nova, violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, cellists Madeleine Shapiro and Craig Hultgren, guitarist Paul Bowman, the Music Teachers National Association, Steinway Artist William DeVan, bassist Robert Black, Rick Ferguson and Wagner Campos duo, the New York Golliard Ensemble to name a few, and Ensemble Sirius.
He has also worked in collaboration with artists such as New York video artist Sheri Wills, New York photographer Richard Barnes, and Video artist Alex Schweder. Mason’s collaborative works with video have appeared in Yerba Buena (San Francisco), Howard House (Seattle), American Academy in Rome, and the ISPIN Gallery (New York). His work, Murmurs was featured in the New York Times magazine and the on- line magazine FLYP media.
Mason was a composer in residence at the International Centre for Composers in Visby, Sweden, a resident composer at the Hambidge Center, the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, the ppianissimo New Music Festival in Bulgaria, and was sponsored by the Seaside Institute as a "Escape To Create" composer-in-residence at Seaside, Florida.
His music is available on ten different compact disc recordings on Innova Recordings, Quindecim Recordings, Capstone Recordings, and Living Artist Recordings labels. His music is published by Living Artist Publishing.
Dr. Mason is associate professor of composition the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and director of the Electronic Music studio. He is also executive director of Living Music Foundation, Inc.