Artistic Director and Conductor, International Opera Coach
Peter Mark is the Founding General and Artistic Director of Virginia Opera and of International Opera Alliance, Founding Artistic Director of the Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival in the Poconos, as well as an International Opera Coach, Masterclass Teacher, and Conductor. Since his Virginia Opera debut in 1975 – conducting the pilot production of La Traviata with rising star Diana Soviero as Violetta – Maestro Peter Mark has presided over Virginia Opera’s growth into one of the finest and largest opera companies in the nation. Under his guidance for the past 36 seasons, Virginia Opera has identified and presented some of the nation’s most promising young singers – from Jeannine Altmeyer, Frederick Burchinal, John Aler, Rockwell Blake, Randy Locke, and Jake Gardner to Renée Fleming, Barbara Dever, Frank Porretta, Grant Youngblood, Fabiana Bravo, Lawrence Brownlee, Nmon Ford, Thomas Truhitte, Cristina Nassif, Jeniece Golbourne, Manon Strauss Evrard and Mary Elizabeth Williams. He has brought directors from the theatre and opera world to Virginia including Gian Carlo Menotti, Gordon Davidson, Arvin Brown, Dorothy Danner and Lillian Groag in new productions designed by some of the nation’s top opera and theater designers.
Maestro Mark conducted his 100th Virginia Opera production – Il Trovatore – two seasons ago, totaling 700 highly-successful performances led by him on the company’s stage during his career. He led the company into its 36th Anniversary season with RIGOLETTO this fall. As conductor, he has brought the artistic achievements of Virginia Opera to the international stage, conducting the company’s productions and presenting the company’s singers in South America, London, New York, and China, where he conducted Shanghai’s first Italian-language Tosca to open the brand new Opera House of the Oriental Arts Center, China’s first, and was featured on the cover of China’s national Opera News.
Among his most recognized productions are four operas by Maestro Mark’s wife, distinguished Scottish-American composer , and the Virginia Premieres of Strauss’ Elektra and Salome, Wagner’s Die Walküre and Tristan & Isolde, Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, and Handel’s Rodelinda and Agrippina. Maestro Mark conducted the British premiere of Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (telecast throughout the United Kingdom by Granada Television); Porgy and Bess at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, La Traviata and Masked Ball for Krakow Opera, and La Bohème for its centennial production at the Torre del Lago Puccini Festival in Italy. He has also conducted for New York City Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria in Canada, and the National Opera of Mexico at the Bellas Artes.
He is featured as conductor on three commercial recordings: Mary, Queen of Scots; A Christmas Carol; and Handel’s Julius Caesar.
His recent work through the International Opera Alliance has focused on the identification and training as well as career-building opportunities for extraordinarily gifted young international opera singers, through which he has traveled to China, Africa, Europe and the Americas to hear, train, encourage and present the best young operatic talent.
As Founding Artistic Director of the Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival in Northeastern Pennsylvania, he presided over its initial successful Festival in August 2010 (www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1854846) offering a jewel-box production of PORGY & BESS, a series of opera masterclasses, chamber music, Broadway, jazz and cabaret performances, and a closing night OPERA GALA which he co-hosted with Metropolitan Opera Mezzo Victoria Livengood. Festival 2011 (www.buckhillskytopfest.org) will present a jewel box production of CARMEN, and expanded offerings in Masterclasses, chamber music and cabaret/Broadway/jazz along with an expanded Scholars Program this coming July 22-30, 2011.Prior to his career as conductor and impresario, Maestro Mark, who began his musical career as a boy soprano soloist at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, enjoyed a successful career as a solo violinist and violist. He held leadership positions with the Juilliard Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and toured extensively throughout Europe, South America, and Great Britain as a soloist.
He has been training singers and conducting opera professionally for the past four decades.