Mark is a music graduate of King’s College, Cambridge, where he sang in its famed Chapel Choir before becoming Musical Director of the 1983 Footlights Revue.
The following year, aged just 23, he came straight to London as the Musical Director of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Wyndham’s Theatre) and never left.
With well over 100 professional musical theatre credits to his name, he has enjoyed a long and successful West End career conducting many of the world’s greatest musicals including Les Misérables (Palace), Sweeney Todd (Holland Park Opera), The Lion King (Lyceum), Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Victoria Palace), Chess In Concert (Royal Albert Hall), Sinatra (London Palladium), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Shaftesbury), Metropolis (Piccadilly), The Rocky Horror Show (Royal Court), Children of Eden (Prince Edward), Floyd Collins (Bridewell, European premiere) and Pacific Overtures (Donmar – 2004 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production).
His long and close association with the work of Stephen Sondheim began with his acclaimed chamber reorchestration for the first London revival of Into the Woods. He was the Musical Supervisor for two Sondheim world stage premieres, Saturday Night (Bridewell and original cast album) and Evening Primrose (Sadler's Wells), and was honoured to conduct the concert at which Sondheim received his Honorary Doctorate from the Academy in 2010. At the Royal Albert Hall he was the Musical Director for Chess In Concert, starring Idina Menzel and Josh Groban. For over 20 years he was the Musical Director of numerous productions of golden-age Broadway shows for the Discover the Lost Musicals series in both London and New York, including Cole Porter's Du Barry was a Lady, which he conducted live with the BBC Concert Orchestra at His Majesty's Theatre for broadcast on Radio 3.
As a conductor, Mark's varied and extensive recording credits range from the double-platinum Voices of the Valleys (the fastest-selling classical album ever) to avant-garde rock albums and ballet scores by the late Scott Walker. He has worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Prague Symphony Orchestra, City of London Philharmonic and countless freelance studio orchestras, both in the UK and internationally.
He is much in demand as an orchestrator and arranger. For the theatre he scored the London premiere of Nine (Donmar Warehouse), Hard Times (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Nelson (Arundel Festival), Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Moll Flanders (Lyric Hammersmith and original cast album), The Boy Who Fell into a Book (Stephen Joseph Theatre) and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Wyndham’s). He has orchestrated many scores for Carl Davis, including the BBC’s award-winning Pride and Prejudice, A Year in Provence, Thatcher: The Downing Street Years, Oliver’s Travels, The Queen’s Nose and Anne Frank Remembered (1996 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature). Other television and film orchestrations include music for the hit sitcoms May to December and Watching, the TV drama Mr Pye, the Omnibus documentary Mister Abbott’s Broadway, and the feature films A Penny for Your Dreams, The Childhood of a Leader and Vox Lux, starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law.
He has composed incidental music for plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company (Three Hours After Marriage), Chichester Festival Theatre (The School For Scandal) and the West End (The Rivals). A busy session player, his keyboard performances can be heard on Hollywood film scores by John Barry, Marc Shaiman, Alan Menken and Jerry Goldsmith. He is also a skilled synthesiser programmer, responsible for the keyboard sounds on many West End and touring shows including Hairspray, Spamalot, The Producers, Nine To Five, Riverdance, Our House, Porgy and Bess, High School Musical, Fame and Sunday in the Park with George.
Mark has always been a tireless supporter of new musical theatre writers, working first with the Mercury Workshop, judging submissions and competitions, leading workshops and musically directing their 1994 revue, directed by Julia Mackenzie. He continues this enthusiasm for encouraging new writing as the lead facilitator each week for BML’s Advanced Group, as well as lecturing on his work as arranger and orchestrator for MMD, critiquing for Writing Lab Xtreme, mentoring for The Works and judging for the S&S Award.
At the Royal Academy of Music he has taught the craft of Musical Direction since the inception of the course in 2002.
Image: Emma Bullivant