Australian composer Mark John McEncroe, who began his music career late in life, had his PARMA debut in March with his Navona Records release DARK CLOUDS IN LIFE. McEncroe’s heavily thematic style is reminiscent of other nineteenth-century narrative works and film scores from the Golden Age Of Hollywood to the present. This style is showcased in his newest release SYMPHONIC SUITES 1 & 2: A Medieval Tale. Today, McEncroe is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the personalities and inner workings of our artist. Read on to see what his favorite musical moment is in the new album.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/ composer/creator?
As a kid, I lived in my head. I didn’t study music till I was an adult. I was in boarding school for most of my youth. I was out of school for several years before I had my first music lesson. I guess I just kept going over time. In those tentative early efforts composition never occurred to me. I was in my 40’s when that idea started to take hold & just kept growing.
What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
One time I was performing some Bach pieces, ( 4 two part inventions ) at a concert one of my earlier teachers used to put on. The teacher got up and removed the sheet music two-thirds through the performance. I was so nervous I just went blank. I prefer being a composer, that way I can tell OTHER musicians just what I want. Even that’s not accurate. It’s of really great interest to hear other interpretations of something I have written, particularly my piano pieces. I encourage people to put in their own artistic interpretations. Nothing is set in stone, nor should it be. I’ve never played something the same way twice. We are NEVER in exactly the same space we are currently in EVER again, so for me, things should be always different. Fluid. Life is fluid, & music imitates life or should.
If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?
I’m doing what I want to do and that’s being a composer, being retired, and being in a position to follow my dreams. To be honest I’ve enjoyed all the parts of my earlier life like when I worked for EMI Records in both Australia & Sweden. I also loved the nearly twenty-five years plus I worked as a professional chef, having come from a restaurant family background. I’m a hands on person and lean towards things that are artistic in nature.
What would you say to an artist performing your work that nobody else knows?
All I want from an artist performing any of my works is an EMOTIONAL not intellectual response to my works. Fluid and emotional, if that makes sense.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
Musical moments on my album are like one’s children I don’t have favourites; they are all important elements of the whole work. Even if I did have a favourite bit, I would keep that to myself. I’m more interested in what bits other people like & why. To me, that’s far more interesting. Even the bits that other people don’t like. I would rather people tell me what they REALLY think. That’s far more useful for me.
Was there a piece on your album that you found more difficult to compose/perform than the others?
It’s finished!!! I started writing this two volume work back in 2007, about. It’s the biggest project I have ever undertaken and I just wanted to have a go at writing a major Symphonic Work. My collaboration with my friend, orchestrator Mark j Saliba was of huge importance for me as well. I learned a lot and grew as a composer as a result of all this. No man is an island & the best results come from collaboration. Many other people have also been involved in bringing this double CD into reality, which has added to the richness of the project & my growth as a composer.
Mark John McEncroe’s new release SYMPHONIC SUITES 1 & 2: A MEDIEVAL TALE released on Navona Records Friday, August 11th. The album is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and ArkivMuisc. Find it streaming on Spotify’s “Classical New Releases” or listen here: