COMPOSER MUSIC DIRECTOR RESEARCHER
Mark is an experienced trainer of children’s voices and conductor of children’s choirs.
Together with Suzi Digby, he set up Music Box Children’s Opera Group in 1992 to perform his own ‘Wells Cathedral’ children’s opera, The Chime Rhyme, and subsequently, much of the contemporary children’s opera repertoire including Britten, Williamson and LeFanu. Music Box’s production of Hans Krasa’s ‘Terezin’ children’s opera, Brundibar, with stage direction by Deborah Cranston, featured on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters and Radio 4’s Pick of the Week.
After a long break, Music Box re-formed in 2013 to stage Britten‘s The Little Sweep at St George‘s Bristol as part of the Britten-100 celebrations.
Mark is also music director of CoMA (Contemporary Music for All), the Bristol branch of the national organisation which commissions, performs and promotes serious contemporary classical music for everyone. CoMA celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2014. The Bristol group works in association with the Department of Music, University of Bristol, where Mark supervises student composers as part of their MA Composition course. Prominent composers Diana Burrell, Stephen Montague and Howard Skempton are among those commissioned and providing a driving force behind CoMA.
Further community music work includes the Big Friendly Choir in the Bedminster area of Bristol, which began as a ‘singing for health’ group and has developed into a choir of 30 keen singers of all ages and levels of experience. The ‘BFC’ gives regular performances in the Bristol area.
In 2009 Mark set up (with Laurie Stewart) and co-directs (with Caitlin Callahan) Cosmos Choir, the children’s community choir based in the Knowle West area of south Bristol. The group forms part of St George’s Bristol Outreach remit
Other recent MD work Firebird Theatre, in association with Bristol Old Vic Theatre. This remarkable group enables disabled actors to perform with a professional production team in performances of the highest standard. Their 2013 production of Alan Garner’s children’s classic Breadhorse was received with acclaim.
photography by Graham Burke and Paul Blakemore
See the video clip here on YouTube.
video produced by Anne Pugh
photography by Roy Sharma
The Music Box Opera Group
‘. . fun, innocent and fantastic for educating not only the children in the audience, but also the adults . .’
Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres, - full review
‘Mark’s gift of inspiring confidence and encouraging ability in groups and individuals is a constant source of pleasure and no little wonder to me . .’
Director, NODA Music Theatre School Summer School.