Steven Mackey was born in 1956, to American parents stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He is regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and has composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, dance and opera. He has received numerous awards including a Grammy in 2012. His first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands based in northern California. He blazed a trail in the 1980's and 90's by including the electric guitar and vernacular music influence in his concert music and he regularly performs his own work, including two electric guitar concertos and numerous solo and chamber works. He is also active as an improvising musician and performs with his band Big Farm.