My primary goal as a composer is to create musical and multi-media concert works that are:

        –> intriguing, fresh and engaging for listeners,

    –> rewarding and fun for performers

–> a unique blend of influences, including classical from the renaissance to now, world music, blues, jazz, and the sounds of nature.

In addition to composing, I love to improvise on my instruments (keyboards, flutes, guitar, and others), study scores, and create visual art. My preferred visual media are photography, video, and ink wash with acrylics on paper. Gallery showcases a sampling of these images, which reflect many of the same influences as my music.


I was born and grew up in the Los Angeles area.  My first instrument was piano, playing the classics in my teacher’s student concerts.  Later, following a heartbreak, I took up guitar and learned folk and blues styles to soothe my soul.  Music took firm hold, and I embarked on a series of instrumental adventures, studying wind instruments with Bill Green, a top studio player; jazz guitar with John Collins (Nat King Cole’s guitarist back in the day), and taking up piano again. 

Through piano I returned to classical music and, after having deep experiences with Beethoven and Brahms, realized I wanted to compose concert music to be able to express subtle and deep feelings and experiences that words cannot express. 

I started my formal music education at Eubanks Conservatory of the Arts in the Crenshaw district (for jazz and piano) and El Camino College in Torrance (classical music theory and performance).  My first music theory teacher was Dr. Wallace Bower, a student of Lukas Foss.  He introduced me to Schenker’s and Salzer’s approach to music analysis (Structural Hearing), which has had a strong influence on my sense of musical structure.  Wally was an excellent musician who commanded respect and asked for excellence.  His encouragement meant a lot and increased my excitement about composing. 

In order to pursue concert music composition, I intensified my piano studies with Gay Ross-Clunis and then Eduardo Delgado.  I entered Cal State Northridge as a composition major, passing the required instrumental audition on piano. 

My primary teacher at CSUN was Dr. Aurelio de La Vega.  My primary influences expanded from Beethoven, Brahms and Hindemith to include Bartok, Berg, Stravinsky, Ginastera, and Takemitsu.  It was a potent brew.  I also spent a lot of time in the electronic music studio and produced my first multi-media works. 

During my last year at CSUN I was selected to represent the school at Festival Boulez LA.  This proved to be a pivotal experience.  Boulez gave instruction to a group of young composers representing schools in the LA area.  My first major composition, a song cycle titled “The Passing of Winter”, was performed at the culminating concert.  The very positive comments from everyone involved were very encouraging.

For my Masters I decided on California Institute of the Arts, where all the arts were taught and created together in one big building.  CalArts was unique and offered opportunities to explore multi-media works, mix with artists of many disciplines, and study with visiting composers, as well as the resident teachers: Mel Powell, Lucky Mosko, and Morton Subotnick.  Influences expanded to include Bernard Rands (my favorite visiting composer), gamelan, music of India and China, and the newly exploding world of synthesizers and samplers.

It was at CalArts that I met Yienan Song, a dancer and choreographer from Taiwan.  We collaborated on a series of dance concerts together, first at CalArts, then in New York City as Ancient of Days Dance Theater.  Concert music receded into the background and live improvisation and music mixing for modern dance became the focus.  During my last years in NYC soprano sax and electric guitar were the focus – heartbreak brought me back to blues and jazz again!

The turn of the century brought many changes, including a move to Washington state, where I currently live with Sacreah, my wife, and her mother Che on beautiful acreage near Yelm, Washington with a studio where I can play, compose, write, and make art to my heart’s content!  I’ve been writing concert music scores again since 2016, with 11 works completed to date.

Listen to my music on SoundCloud or YouTube.

© Mark Pritchard/Marpa Music. All rights reserved.