Composer Mark Carlson's lyrical, emotionally powerful, and stylistically unique music has earned him the admiration of audiences and musicians throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. A versatile composer, his more than 70 works include art songs, chamber music, choral music, concertos and other large ensemble works, and songs for musical theater. The recipient of over 40 commissions, he has been commissioned by the National Shrine in Washington, DC, the New West Symphony, Westwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, First Methodist Church of Santa Monica, the UCLA Wind Ensemble, and the Santa Monica College Orchestra, among other organizations, as well as by many individual musicians and private parties. His latest work was the science-fiction opera The Everlasting Bonfire. Five recordings of his works are currently available, including Pacific Serenades's first CD, The Hall of Mirrors, Nightwings for wind quintet and tape, and Patchen Songs for voice and piano. His "Twilight" from The Hall of Mirrors for clarinet and piano was released on a CD by clarinetist Michele Gingras last year and is soon to be recorded for another CD by clarinetist Gerard Errante. From the Song of Songs, for soprano and piano, will be released on innova recordings this season. His music is published by Yelton Rhodes Music, Pacific Serenades Music, and C Swigart Music, all of Los Angeles, and by Thorpe Music of Boston.
A strong believer in the vitality of new classical music, Mr. Carlson is the founder and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles chamber music ensemble, Pacific Serenades-now in its 14th season-known for its unique combination of commissioned works (56 to date) and standard repertoire.
Also a flutist, he is an avid performer of chamber music and has performed numerous works written for him; he has also been a member of the Pasadena Symphony, the YMF Debut Orchestra, and the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
Born in 1952 in Ft. Lewis, Washington, he grew up in California, attended the University of Redlands, graduated from Cal State University, Fresno, and received MA and PhD degrees in composition from UCLA. His composition teachers included Alden Ashforth and Paul Reale, and his flute studies were primarily with Roger S. Stevens. Very active as a private teacher, he is also now on the faculty at Santa Monica College and UCLA, where he has taught music theory and composition for many years.
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