Pianist Mark Markham To Present Innovative Program MY SONGS WITHOUT WORDS
Mark Markham, a pianist who is equally at home as a soloist, collaborator with some of the world's most esteemed singers, a vocal coach and a jazz pianist, will be heard in a program that showcases his versatility as one of the world's finest artists of his generation. The breadth of his repertoire will be heard on his innovative program titled My Songs without Words taking place on Thursday, March 21, 2019, at The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on its Caritas benefit series. Caritas is the Latin word for charity and all proceeds from this concert will be given directly to charities that address social justice concerns. A reception open to the public takes place at 7pm followed by the concert at 7:30pm.
The concert's first half (the complete program appears at the end of this release) will include three sets of four compositions each, featuring composers from Bach/Busoni to Bart k, to Chopin and Scriabin, to Schubert and Schumann.
At the 7pm reception taking place before the concert, audience members will be given a list of 20 25 songs from the American Songbook. They will be asked to select their favorite songs. At intermission the results will be given to Mr. Markham and the program's second half will be an improvised concert showcasing the top 10 audience favorites. A sampling of songs to be considered: Elton John, Your Song; Somewhere Over the Rainbow; My Funny Valentine; Moon River; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Clair de lune (Debussy); Nicuzza (Sicilian folk song); I loves you, Porgy
The Baltimore Sun has praised Mr. Markham's performances for his big, rich tone, abundant power and sensitively using a wide palate of tone coloring.
Mark Markham states about his program My Songs without Words, Busoni's setting of 'Wachel auf, ruft uns die Stimme is a choral fantasy directly from Bach's cantata. There are songs inspired by children Bart k's Rondo, Mompou's Canci n y Danza. Nationalism, very important in the 19th century, is a Volkslied by Mendelssohn. The most popular topic in the song repertoire is probably love, in all its many forms and guises. Chopin, Brahms, Debussy and Neapolitan flair and Scriabin in the operatic mood make up the second group. The final group of songs combines inward, Jan cek and Schubert, and outward expression with Poulenc (an homage to Edith Piaf) and Liszt's transcription of Schumann's Widmung, which is a dedication to a beloved, which in my case would be songs. I could not imagine my life without them.
He continues about the American Songbook, At a young age, I learned all the songs and improvised and made up my own arrangements. I never thought it was hard or not proper because no one ever told me that it was. I absorbed all of this music and it became my foundation, as it should be for an American artist, of my music making. These are my roots which allow me to be free at the piano.
The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola is located at 980 Park Avenue at 84th Street. For tickets and information visit smsconcerts.org, or call 212.288.2520. All ticket revenues and donations will go directly to Sant'Egidio New York. Sant Edgidio's two major services in New York are distributing food to the homeless in Penn Station and Grand Central Station on a weekly basis, and visiting the elderly in nursing homes or in their own homes.
Meet the Artist
Pianist Mark Markham has performed throughout the world including performances in North and South America, Asia and the Middle East. His playing has been described as brilliant, exquisitely sensitive, and in full service to the music.
Mr. Markham began his 2018-2019 season with a solo recital at the Lexington Bach Festival entitled Bach and the Art of Improvisation, followed by a recital with mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong at the Kennedy Center. He appeared in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall with soprano Leah Crocetto in November, returning in December to perform with mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges. Mr. Markham also performed with Ms. Bridges on the Spire Series in Baltimore. This month at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, he music directs a program to celebrate the music of Kurt Weill and George Gershwin entitledMack the Knife Is the Man I Love.
As the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Markham opened the 2017-2018 season with a solo recital at the Peabody Institute. Other performances included Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, a vocal recital with Ms. Crocetto and baritone Zachary Nelson at the Morgan Library & Museum, Ravel's Piano Concerto with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, a solo recital for Market Square Concerts in Harrisburg, and a performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra. The summer of 2017 saw the launch of the first season of his vocal workshop Singing in Sicily, a nonprofit intensive training program for talented young singers from around the world.
Beginning in 1995, Mr. Markham was the recital partner of Jessye Norman for 20 seasons. Together they have given nearly 300 performances in 30, including recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Berlin's Philharmonie, La Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, London's Royal Festival Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece, the Baalbeck International Festival at the Temple of Bacchus in Lebanon, and at the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize presentation to President Jimmy Carter in Oslo. His recording with Jessye Norman of Roots: My Life, My Song was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Photo by Jean-Luc Fievet