Life and career
Born in Lake City, Minnesota, composer Mark McKenzie received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He received his Masters and Doctorate in music composition from the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles where he studied with, among others, Pierre Boulez, Morten Lauridsen and Witold Lutoslawski.
McKenzie has composed or orchestrated well over 100 movies. He was an orchestrator for the Academy Award Winning music to Dances With Wolves, the Academy nominated movie score to Good Will Hunting, Men In Black, and other well-known blockbuster films such as Spider-Man, Sleepless in Seattle, Nightmare Before Christmas, The Mummy Returns, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005 film).
Variety declares: "Mark McKenzie's commanding orchestral prowess puts him among the foremost symphonists in Hollywood." The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter and numerous film music sites write that Mark's music is "strikingly original, soul-stirring, majestic, spiritual, deeply profound, filled with unfathomable beauty and power."
His award winning work as a composer has been featured in films such as: The Ultimate Life, El Gran Milagro (The Greatest Miracle), Saving Sarah Cain, The Ultimate Gift, My Family, Blizzard, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, Dragonheart: A New Beginning, Frank & Jesse as well as the opening and closing logo music to the longest running television series in history, the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Mark's score to "El Gran Milagro" for multiple choirs, orchestra, soloists and the London Boys choir Libera won "Best Indie Score" at the "Hollywood Music in Media Awards" and was doubly nominated as "Best Score of the Year" and "Best Animated Score of the Year" by the International Film Music Critics Association.
Mark has assisted composers Danny Elfman, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Nile Rodgers, Alan Silvestri, Marc Shaiman, Mark Isham, Bruce Broughton, James Newton Howard, and John Williams. He is a member of the Motion Picture Academy, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Society of Composers & Lyricists, American Federation of Musicians, and Broadcast Music, Inc..
Outside of film, McKenzie's original compositions have been used at the Olympics, the Academy Awards, Disney World, Wimbledon, the Crystal Cathedral, and Disneyland Paris. Additionally, the Suite from "The Greatest Miracle" was performed at World Youth Day with Pope Benedict the 16th attending. Mark orchestrated the yet to be released 50 minute, Eight movement Symphonic and choral Suite entitled Destiny: Music of the Spheres for composers Martin O'Donnell, Michael Salvatori and Paul McCartney. Mark's choral work "Gloria" for choir, orchestra and children's choir was premiered on the Hour of Power for its 2000th broadcast service and has gone on to receive repeated performances across the US.
McKenzie has won numerous awards for his compositions including "El Gran Milagro (The Greatest Miracle) winning the Hollywood Music in Media Award for the Best Indie Score. That same score was doubly nominated at "Best Score of the Year" and "Best Animated Score of the Year" by the International Film Music Critics Association. He received the "Best of Show" award from the Accolade Competition for Saving Sarah Cain, the Award of Merit for The Ultimate Gift, the "Award of Excellence" for The Last Sin Eater, the Hans J. Salter Composition Award, and the Norman Cousins Award.