Taylor Mac – A 24-decade history of popular music

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra at the 2022 Bergen International Festival

Taylor Mac – A 24-decade history of popular music


An American extravaganza with a grand stage personality.

The 2022 Bergen International Festival opens with the world premiere of an abridged symphonic version of Taylor Mac's celebrated performance A 24-decade history of popular music.

The performance presents a bedazzled subjective history of America through popular song.

'A 24-decade history of popular music has, at its core, been about expanding our understanding of our community, history, and humanity. To help us do that we take dichotomies and work to bring them closer together. Who would ever imagine a queen from New York City singing with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra? We can't wait to hear and see what happens,' says Taylor Mac.

As a singer, composer, playwright, actor and general theatre-maker, Mac creates performances that blow up any attempts at categorization. Taylor Mac was awarded the 2020 International Ibsen Award for his contribution to theatre.

With magnificent costumes, distinctive renditions of classics and a great stage personality that alternates between charm and sting, A 24-decade history of popular music has achieved great success in various formats.

'One of the greatest experiences of my life. I have slept on it, and I'm sure,' wrote The New York Times after a version of the performance.

In Bergen, the work will, for the first time, be arranged for a symphony orchestra. Commissioned by the Bergen International Festival and Pomegranate Arts, its world premiere will be performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme will feature new arrangements of American classics from Civil War ballads to cowboy legends to disco.

For this special edition, Taylor Mac is collaborating with the American composer and arranger Ted Hearne and conductor Alan Pierson, as well as music director Matt Ray and costume designer Machine Dazzle.

New date: This event was postponed from the 2021 Bergen International Festival and has a new concert date in 2022.