|Photo credit: Emma Jane Geisler|
Mark E. M. L. Powell
Associate Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies
Fields of Study:
Conducting, Pedagogy, Performance
Degrees and Studies:
DMA, Eastman School of Music
MM, University of Houston
BM, University of Michigan
Mark E. M. L. Powell, DMA is currently Associate Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music (ACSM) at Queens College, CUNY where he conducts the Symphony, Chamber, Opera, and Studio Orchestras, in addition to the ACSM Musica Nova contemporary ensemble (www.musicanova.net). He also leads the Copland Summer Series Conducting Workshop at Queens College. He is the founding music director of the American Radio Chamber Orchestra (ARCO) and served on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership from 2010 to 2019. Guest conducting and teaching activities have recently taken him to the Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Alabama, the Boston Conservatory, the University of Oregon, Augustana University, SUNY New Paltz, Grinnell College, the College of New Jersey, and the Eastman School of Music, where he was Visiting Associate Professor of Virtual Ensembles for the 2020-2021 academic year. Powell's recent pedagogy research has yielded a book length commentary and annotation of Nicolai Malko’s first text: The Conductor and His Baton: Fundamentals of the Technic of Conducting, while his most recent conducting students have gone on to successes at Peabody, the Cincinnati College Conservatory, and at Aspen.
The Plain Dealer praised his "exceptionally vivid" Cleveland debut, while Buffalo Philharmonic Music Director JoAnn Falletta has called Powell "a musician's conductor" of "deep musical understanding and insight.” The NRC Handelsblad (Amsterdam) noted at his Concertgebouw debut his "impressively expressive final movements of the Mussorgsky cycle [Pictures at an Exhibition].” American composer Augusta Read Thomas has characterized Powell as “...a blazingly inspiring, positive human being and musician.” going on to write that “[his] conducting is brilliant.” A veteran of both the Malko and Besançon conducting competitions, Powell was one of only two Americans featured twice in the Kirill Kondrashin Series with the Netherlands Radio and Chamber Orchestras. As guest conductor, he has led the Fort Worth Symphony, the Korsholm Music Festival Orchestra (Finland), the Rochester Philharmonic, the Texas Festival Chamber Orchestra, and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. He counts among his mentors Brad Lubman, Jorma Panula, Peter Eötvös, and Elizabeth Green. In 2019, with the Queens College Orchestra, he performed the North American premiere of Leif Segerstam’s Symphony No. 253. The first commercial recording of the Queens College Orchestras, From the North: Music of Norgård, Nielsen, Segerstam, Abrahamsen, and Sibelius is due out on the Centaur label later this year.
For the 2021-2022 concert season he returns as Lead Conductor of the New Conductors Orchestra in Manhattan, providing mentorship to both young conductors and civic musicians and as guest conductor, he will lead the Ohio All-State Orchestra in February, 2022. Recently, he premiered two new compositions, Unsoftly to the Night and Nanosecond, by the American composer J. Matthew Curlee. Over the past two seasons, Powell also delivered lectures for the Q Class Online series, the Oxford Conducting Institute, and wrote invited reviews for The Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal. American composer Augusta Read Thomas has dedicated her latest work Dancing Stars to Powell, writing the open instrumentation piece (for the Queens College Symphony Orchestra) for recording and production by individual musicians, isolated during the pandemic. Powell is an alumnus of Interlochen, the University of Michigan, the Moores School of Music, and the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducing Prize.