Mark had a late start with the double bass, beginning at age 14 after playing guitar and bass guitar. He completed his bachelor’s degree in his hometown at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, studying with Vicki Jones (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra). He then went on to study and work in Auckland before embarking on his master’s degree at the Sydney Conservatorium, studying with Alex Henery (Sydney Symphony Orchestra). After completing his master’s in early 2013, Mark moved to London to freelance.
He has undertaken many training opportunities, including playing with orchestras such as the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra and Sydney Conservatorium orchestral ensembles. He was sub-principal with the AYO and was an AYO Orchestral Fellow, participating in intensive courses with members of Melbourne Symphony. Throughout 2006 Mark played full-time with the Auckland Philharmonia as the Manchester Orchestral Fellow, studying with principal bass Gordon Hill, and proceeded to undertake frequent casual work with the orchestra. In 2013 he participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, performing and recording Britten’s Peter Grimes and Bruckner’s 4th Symphony. He has performed in masterclasses for such luminaries as Matthew MacDonald, principal with the Berlin Philharmonic, and renowned American pedagogue Paul Ellison.
Mark is an experienced professional freelancer, having worked extensively during his studies. He has played with a wide variety of ensembles, including the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. He has performed as principal with Orchestra Wellington, Willoughby Symphony, Sydney Chamber Opera, Orpheus Sinfonia and the Berkeley Ensemble, among others. Mark is also a keen teacher, with his master’s thesis focusing on teaching methods.
Musical highlights include a trip to Tonga to perform for the coronation of King George Tupou V, leading Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, an education tour to schools in rural New South Wales, performing in the Doctor Who Live Symphonic Spectacular and playing Peter Grimes in Aldeburgh with the Britten-Pears Orchestra.
Mark’s other interests include dinosaurs, reading and good coffee.
Read Mark’s blog about filming for James Rhodes’ television series Don’t Stop the Music with Southbank Sinfonia.
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What’s on your playlist right now?
Classical: Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Schubert’s Symphony No.9 and Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben.
Non-classical: Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Mad Jack Churchill – the WW2 Colonel who always went into battle armed with a sword and longbow. I expect he would have some interesting stories to tell.
Charles Darwin – he provided much of the basis for our understanding of life on Earth and I’d like to both pick his brain and show him how profound his influence was.
John Cleese – and make him re-enact all the best Monty Python bits.
Mark’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by Thomas’s School.