Christopher Marks plays symphonies by Edward Shippen Barnes (1887-1958) and Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) on the magnificent 1959 Aeolian-Skinner, Opus 1308 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Shreveport, Louisiana.
SYMPHONY IN G MAJOR by Leo Sowerby begins the disc, followed by SECOND SYMPHONY, OP. 37 by Edward Shippen Barnes.
Recorded May 2019 by Peter Nothnagle and produced by The Roy Perry American Classic Organ Foundation in conjunction with The Leo Sowerby Foundation. Over 76 minutes of music, accompanied with 12-page program booklet containing notes on the music and recording project, performer’s bio, complete stoplist of the organ, and photos.
CHRISTOPHER MARKS is consistently praised by reviewers for “style and assurance” and “musicality [that] seems to flow effortlessly.” With his series of recordings of music by Seth Bingham and his many performances on historic American instruments, he has gained a reputation as an expert in American organ music old and new.
Marks is a Professor in the Glenn Korff School of Music at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he also serves as Associate Dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. He has taught organ, music theory, and performance practice, and previously taught organ and served as University Organist at Syracuse University. An active proponent of new music, Marks has premiered a number of commissioned organ works. His diverse stylistic interests also steer him towards a variety of other repertoire, with a recent interest in American organ music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Equally comfortable with solo and collaborative playing, he has performed with ensembles such as the Boston Brass, Ethos Percussion Group, and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra. He holds degrees from University of Richmond (B.M., piano), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.M., piano and M.M., organ), and the Eastman School of Music (D.M.A., organ), where he studied with Michael Farris. His performances have garnered him top prizes in competitions, including the Arthur Poister Competition, the San Marino Competition, the Fort Wayne Competition, and the Mader Competition.
Marks' recording entitled Discoveries was made on the historic Walter Holtkamp organ at Syracuse University and represents his varied musical interests, featuring music spanning four centuries that is rarely performed and recorded. He has also completed a three-volume series of recordings of the organ music of Seth Bingham (1882-1972), who was a prominent New York composer, teacher, and church musician, available from the Raven label at www.RavenCD.com.
Marks is active as a performer, teacher, and writer, having published articles on performance practice, organs, and professional concerns. He has performed at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society and has participated in more than a dozen Pipe Organ Encounters. He served on the Board of Directors of the Organ Historical Society from 2009 until 2017 and served as Chair 2015-2017.