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Mark Nowakowski


Mark Nowakowski is a composer whose works represent a modern merger of bold expressionism and mystical contemplation, Slavic pathos and American individualism. His music has been recently performed by such notables as the Kronos Quartet, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, The Monteverdi Cello Octet, The Voxare Quartet, the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra, Stowarzyszenia Mozart, Vox Musica of Sacramento, the Choir of the Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Dominican House of Studies Schola, the wind ensembles at the University of Maryland and Illinois State University, Shakuhachi master James Nyoraku Schlefer, and the Cracow Brass Quintet. He is currently working on commissions for Three Notch’d Road, the Ursinus College Wind Ensemble, and a work for the 2017/18 North American tour of the Royal String Quartet. His first commercially available full length recording is currently awaiting release courtesy of NAXOS and the Voxare Quartet.

The son of Polish immigrants, Mark’s music derives a great deal of its experiential and aesthetic influence from his bicultural experience. Philosophically and spiritually, he is deeply influenced by the long history of Catholic mysticism, and is always seeking the transcendent element in all of his work. In 2011, the Kronos Quartet premiered his “String Quartet #2: Grandfather Songs” at the International Festival of Polish Music in Krakow. In 2012, he was the composer in residence for Projekt Mozart, seeing his “O Pieknosci Niestworzona” premiered in a concert tour of seven Polish cities culminating in Czestochowa and Warsaw. In 2008, he served as the Composer in Residence for the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

Mark received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland, where he also won the biennial Walsum Award for Excellence in Music Composition. He holds a Professional Studies degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was Assistant Director of the CIM New Music Festival and was awarded the Donald Erb Prize in Composition. He holds his Masters from the University of Colorado, and two undergraduate degrees from Illinois State University where he graduated with honors in both Music Theory and Arts Technology. His main composition teachers include Paul Schoenfield, Daniel Kellogg, Mark Wilson, Margaret Brouwer, Larry Moss, Steven Taylor, John Drumheller, and Michael Theodore. He has taught at the University of Maryland, Christendom College, Benedictine University, South Suburban College, and DuPage College of Illinois. He resides near Chicago with his beautiful wife and three children.

Excerpts from “Fragments: A Concerto for Violin and Orchestra”

Four contrasting excerpts from the concerto, with a real violinist (Emily Ondracek-Peterson) and a “phantom” orchestra.

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“O Beauty Uncreated”

A sacred work for chorus and orchestra, “O Beauty Uncreated” performed in Warsaw by the 2012 Projekt Mozart festival orchestra and choir.

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“Reaching” – for Piano Trio. Recording from UNL Chamber Music Festival.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles November 11 2009 | By Mark Nowakowski
Finding Yourself Elsewhere: An American Composer in Krakow

While it is nothing new for an American composer to find himself living overseas, I've noticed that most composers (and Americans in general) have a very limited conception of "where...