Early beginnings in piano, organ and composition were followed by degrees in the US (Cincinnati, San Francisco) and additional composition study in Stockholm, Sweden. Also lurking in his distant past are flirtations as a performer on oboe, recorder, krummhorn and electric bass.
Mark’s music has been described as “stylistically adventurous in setting, but strongly beholden to conventional means” (Gramophone). Both vocal (from solo voice to chorus) and instrumental (solo, chamber, orchestral) genres are represented in his catalog. Clarity of expression, a sense of forward motion, formal designs, and a belief that sound and gesture create their own meaning are important elements in all of his works. His music is freely chromatic, sometimes with tonal centers, and includes regular, propulsive rhythms as well as more complex irregular patterns.
In addition to his concert music, he has written anthems for church use, and made arrangements of early American shape-note tunes.