As principal clarinet of the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta, and a well-known soloist, he performs at major venues throughout the world. Recent solo highlights have included the Finzi Concerto with the Philharmonia and John Wilson in London and on tour, Boulez’s Domaines at the 2015 Proms, the world première of the van der Aa clarinet concerto Hysteresis, commissioned for him by the London Sinfonietta, and the Mozart Concerto with the London Chamber Orchestra. Mark has given several London premieres in the Philharmonia’s Music of Today series, and elsewhere the Spanish première of the Carter Concerto, the UK première of the Carter Clarinet Quintet, and of Sir John Taverner’s Cantus Mysticus (at the Proms), and the London première of Graham Fitkin’s Agnostic. Recordings include Ben Foskett’s Hornet, Philip Cashian’s Blue Circus and Flint Juventino Beppe’s Distant Words with the Philharmonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Mark has been the clarinettist with Endymion since its formation in 1980. Other chamber music collaborators have included Pascal Rogé, Geoffrey Parsons, Elizabeth Leonskaja, Kate Royal and the Brodsky Quartet, with whom he gave the London première of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s Hymn to Artemis Locheia. With Zsolt-Tihamėr Visontay and Yefim Bronfman he gave several performances of Bartok’s Contrasts in the Philharmonia’s Bartok series Infernal Dance. Other highlights have included the Mozart Quintet in Brazil, and the Berio Sequenza at the Sydney Opera House.
Born in Northampton and educated at Merton College, Oxford, and the Royal College of Music, Mark was appointed principal clarinettist with Welsh National Opera and subsequently with Glyndebourne Touring Opera. He joined the Philharmonia as principal clarinet in 2000, and the London Sinfonietta in 2002. He is also principal with the London Chamber Orchestra (with whom he has appeared as soloist at La Scala, Milan), For several years he was the clarinet and basset horn soloist in Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito at the Bayerisches Staatsoper. Mark has been awarded an Honorary Associateship by the Royal Academy of Music, where he is a Professor, and an Honorary Doctorate by Northampton University. Mark is the clarinet professor for the I, Culture Orchestra, and for the British Isles Music Festival. He is a committed teacher, and has given masterclasses world-wide (recently in Australia, Singapore, Poland and Brazil).
The Philharmonia's Principal Clarinet Chair is endowed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Friends of the Philharmonia Orchestra in memory of Clem Relf.
To find out how you can support the work of the Philharmonia Orchestra through endowing a Chair, visit Chair Endowment.