Award-winning composer Dr. Mark Dal Porto has had his works performed by numerous instrumental and vocal ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. His commissions include those from the Orchestra of Southern Utah, the College Orchestra Directors Association, and the Pemigewasset Choral Society of New Hampshire.
Mark has been awarded certificates of excellence in band, choral, and orchestral composition from The American Prize organization. He was also awarded first prize in the CODA (College Orchestra Director’s Association) International Composition Contest for his orchestral work Song of Eternity. He serves on the faculty of Eastern New Mexico University as Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition, and frequently serves as a guest composer and conductor. A former student of Donald Grantham, Mark received degrees from California State University, Sacramento, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Today, Mark is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to discover the hopes Mark has for listeners as they hear each piece from the album…
When did you realize that you wanted to be a composer?
My parents were both amateur musicians and my father introduced me to the accordion at age 10. It was for that instrument that I wrote my first piece. I also began composing for the piano when that was introduced into our home 3 years later. In my later teens, I began composing for other instruments and it was during this time that I felt a growing sense of fulfillment as a developing composer. I also felt that the process of composing made me grow more as a musician than any other musical activity that I took part in. Hence, from that point on, I was hooked for life to continue growing as a composer.
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
Composing full-time while making a decent living on commissions.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would be inspired to spend creative time in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria. My wife and I especially enjoyed visiting these two historic cities during the summer of 2013. Because of this visit, I would feel privileged spending creative time there as these cities possess a great musical history and feature an incredible amount of high-quality music-making. Additionally, they both have great scenic beauty and I would love to regularly hike in their mountains and forests.
What is your favorite musical moment on the album?
The last 2⅓ minutes of the last piece, Mystic Mountain, where I feel that I have finally arrived at the end of a long journey and ultimately feel a sense of exhilaration, triumph, and fulfillment.
What does this album mean to you personally?
What the album means to me is contained in the title: Peace, Nature & Renewal. All the album’s pieces connect in some way to that theme.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this album?
I would like audiences to feel a wide array of emotions when listening to this album. From ultimate sadness and nostalgia in the first piece Song of Eternity for Orchestra, to finding solace, comfort, and joy in nature in the choral pieces I Seek Rest for My Lonely Heart and Spring, the Sweet Spring, love in Romance for Oboe and Piano and the choral work When Your Song Rang Out to Me, humor in Exotic Animals Suite for woodwind quintet, and finally, triumph and ecstasy in Mystic Mountain for Orchestra. In conclusion, I hope this album evokes feelings, thoughts, and memories that transports each listener to their own unique and special place.
PEACE, NATURE & RENEWAL will be available through Navona Records for streaming or purchase on March 22. Click here to pre-order.