Mark Applebaum (b. 1967, Chicago) is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory and John Philip Coghlan Fellow at Stanford University where he received the 2003 Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied with Brian Ferneyhough, Joji Yuasa, Rand Steiger, and Roger Reynolds. He received his baccelaureate, magna cum laude, from Carleton College where he studied composition with Phillip Rhodes and completed a senior thesis that took him to Mexico City to interview Conlon Nancarrow.
His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable performances at the Darmstadt summer sessions, the Bourges Festival in France, ICMC in Beijing and Singapore, Italy’s Festival Spaziomusica, the Young Nordic Music Festival in Sweden, Sonic Circuits in Hong Kong, Amsterdam’s Great Virtuoso Slugfest, SEAMUS, strictly Ballroom series at Stanford University’s CCRMA, NIME at IRCAM in Paris, at the Muziekgebouw and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Woodstockhausen Festival in Santa Cruz, ISCM, the BONK Festival, the College Music Society, the Southeastern Composers League, NWEAMO, the Florida Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, the Northwestern University New Music Marathon, the Digital Arts Concert series at the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, the Kansas City Electronic Music Festival, Piano Spheres, SIGGRAPH, the Time Canvas Festival in Antwerp, the North American Saxophone Alliance, Stockholm New Music, the Harvest Moon Festival in Montreal, the Minneapolis SPARK Festival, the American Composers Orchestra’s OrchestraTech, UC Berkeley’s CNMAT, Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival in Oakland, Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, the Essl Museum in Austria, the Unyazi Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, Belgium’s TRANSIT Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., New York’s Merkin Hall and Symphony Space, at Electronic Music Midwest where he served as the 2002 visiting artist, as featured composer at the 2004 University of Michigan Eclectronica Microfestival, and as featured composer at the 61st Festival of Contemporary Music at Louisiana State University.
He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Vienna Modern Festival, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Zeitgeist, MANUFACTURE (Tokyo), the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Harmida Trio, duo runedako, Belgium’s Champ D’Action, Festival ADEvantgarde in Munich, the Third Practice Festival, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Composers Forum, among others. His music has been played by the Arditti String Quartet, Speculum Musicae, Musica Nova, Zeitgeist, newEar, SONOR, inauthentica, Piano Possible, red fish blue fish percussion ensemble, the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble, the NYU New Music Ensemble, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, the Callithumpian Consort, Skin & Bones, players under the direction of Harvey Sollberger, Mark Menzies, and Dennis Russell Davies, and some of the finest solo artists of our time, including Steven Schick, Irvine Arditti, Gloria Cheng, Craig Hultgren, Helen Bledsoe, Magnus Andersson, and Bertram Turetzky. Performances of his chamber music can be heard on his Tzadik CD Catfish and his Innova CDs 56 1/2 ft. and Asylum. His orchestral works appear on the Innova CD Martian Anthropology, and solo acoustic works appear on the Innova CD Disciplines.
In 1997 Applebaum received the American Music Center’s Stephen Albert Award and an artist residency fellowship at the Villa Montalvo artist colony in Northern California. He has engaged in numerous intermedia collaborations, including That Brainwave Chick (with neural artist Paras Kaul), Archittetura Redux (with film-maker Iara Lee, Caipirinha Productions), Concerto for Florist and Ensemble (with florist James DelPrince), The Bible without God (with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Aphoristic Fragment (with animator Anna Chupa), Interactive Sound Pavilion (with architect David Perkes), Spring Migration (with choreographer Brittany Brown), and projects with the laptop DJ ensembles Digital Cutup Lounge (Hong Kong) and Tricky OL (Japan).
Since 1990 Applebaum has built electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools. This research is described at length in his article for New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century, volume 4. His latest instrument—the Mouseketier—is a musical Frankenstein consisting of threaded rods, nails, combs, doorstops, springs, squeaky wheels, ratchets, a toilet tank flotation bulb, and other unlikely objects which are plucked, scratched, bowed, and modified by a battery of live electronics. Mousetrap Music, a CD of sound-sculpture improvisations can be heard on the Innova label, as well as the double CD The Bible without God that includes a 2005 collaboration with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Also on Innova is The Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering, a CD of eleven electronic works whose source material corresponds exclusively to recordings of the eleven acoustic compositions that constitute his Janus Cycle (1992-1996). Hybrid pieces featuring both acoustic and electronic instrumentation can be heard on the 2003 Innova CD Intellectual Property, a recording that also features his piece Pre-Composition that earned the 2005 second place emsPrize from Electronic Music Stockholm.
Applebaum is also active as a jazz pianist. He has concertized from Sumatra to the Czech Republic, most recently performing a solo recital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso sponsored by the American Embassy. In 1994 he received the jazz prize of the Southern California Jazz Society and in 1999 the Mark Applebaum Trio performed in the first Mississippi arts event broadcast live over the World Wide Web. At present he performs with his father, Bob Applebaum of Chicago, in the Applebaum Jazz Piano Duo. The duo made its Tunisian debut at the Municipal Theater in Tunis. Their first studio recording, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree, is available on Innova.
At Stanford Applebaum also serves as the founding director of [sic]—the Stanford Improvisation Collective. Prior to his current appointment, Applebaum taught at UCSD, Mississippi State University, and Carleton College where he served as Dayton-Hudson Visiting Artist. He has been invited to give lectures and master classes at various institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Oberlin, Duke, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Brooklyn College, the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, Hong Kong University, the JML/Irino Foundation in Tokyo, the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria, Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, the Banff Center in Canada, the Universities of Toronto, Michigan, Illinois, North Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, California at San Diego, California at Berkeley, San Francisco State, Bowling Green State University, Lawrence University, DePaul University, the College of Santa Fe, the Janacek Akademie, Czech Republic, and at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club. Additional information and announcements of upcoming performances may be found at www.markapplebaum.com.