Mark Engebretson, DM, Northwestern University (born 1964, California) is a saxophonist and composer. He has written music for orchestra, wind ensemble, chorus and chamber formations. His music often combines computer music and live performance.
Engebretson (b. 1964) was born in California and raised in Alexandria, Minnesota. His family later moved to Maplewood, Minnesota. His father, a retired doctor, is also a saxophonist as well as a clarinetist. Engebretson attented St. Olaf College for a year before transferring to the University of Minnesota. He studied at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux and Northwestern University and held positions at SUNY Fredonia, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Florida. He is a member of Red Clay Saxophone Quartet and was formerly a member of the Vienna Saxophone Quartet, both with his wife Susan Fancher who is herself a Selmer Artist and Lecturer at Duke University.
Engebretson is currently Associate Professor of Composition and Electronic Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the recipient of the 2011 North Carolina Artist Fellowship in Composition, and has received major commissions from Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation and the Thomas S. Kenan Center for the Arts.
He is the founder of the UNCG New Music Festival, and has had performances at SEAMUS, ICMC, Wien Modern, Third Practice, Festival of New American Music, ISCM, BGSU Festival of New Music and Art, CBDNA, Carnegie Hall, Sala São Paulo, Argentina, Albania, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, China, across America, and throughout Europe. Recordings of his compositions are available on the Albany, Innova, Lotus, and Capstone labels.
Dr. Engebretson taught composition at the University of Florida, music theory at the SUNY Fredonia and 20th-century music history at the Eastman School of Music. He studied at the University of Minnesota (graduating Summa cum Laude), the Conservatoire de Bordeaux (as a Fulbright Scholar), and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Music degree. At Northwestern he studied composition with M. William Karlins, Pauline Oliveros, Marta Ptaszynska, Michael Pisaro, Stephen Syverud and Jay Alan Yim and saxophone with Frederick Hemke. His teachers in France were Michel Fuste-Lambezat and Jean-Marie Londeix.
As a composer his influences include György Ligeti, Paul Lanski, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis. Eric Stokes introduced him to experimental music and found sound (i.e. Found art using sounds as its material). Engebretson has received commissions from Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation (2007) and the Thomas S. Kenan Center for the Arts (2008). His compositions have been performed at Indiana State University New Music Festival (Terre Haute, Indiana) and International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals (Tirana, Albania and Baku, Azerbaijan) as well as contemporary music festivals such as Wien Modern (Vienna), Gaida Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania), Ny Musikk (Bergen, Norway) and the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival. The world premiere of SaxMax was given at the 14th World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia by James Romain.
Melody, timbre, virtuosity, clear and balanced formal structure, the integration of new media, multiple levels of associations, and a desire for fresh, engaging expression all drive his creative work. In this case, the concept of melody can be interpreted quite broadly: a melody could be a singing, arcing line, a single tone with constant microtonal or timbre changes, a jumping, jagged, asymmetrical riff, or a lick played on a snare drum. A fascination with both performance and compositional virtuosity joins melody to form the basis of his ongoing interest in writing works that push my boundaries as a composer and that engage superstar performers in technical and musical challenges. Engebretson's view is that such works teach us something about music, endless possibilities, and ourselves.
- 1. Moore, Tom (3 October 2008). "Tom Moore Interviews Mark Engebretson". Opera Today website. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- 2. Romain, James. Henri Selmer Paris website. Conn-Selmer, Inc.. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- Official website
- Publisher Effiny Music
- Publisher Apoll Edition, Vienna
- Mark Engebretson member page on Society of Composers
- Faculty Profile University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Music
- Profile on Hartwick College Music Festival website
- Innova Records listing for recordings on Innova label'
- Profile on World Saxophone Congress website
- Red Clay Saxophone Quartet - Mark Engebretson profile on Steve Stusek personal website
- Programme notes with biography and profile for the North American Saxophone Alliance 2004 biennial conference