Mark Dunbar : Associate Artist
Photo: Michele Milner
Mark Dunbar works as a composer, performer, musical/artistic director, project manager, and educator. He is the composer of two operas and a dozen large-scale music-theatre works.
Mark studied at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the Monash University in Melbourne, and holds a BA (with distinction), a Graduate Diploma (in musical direction and composition), and an MA (Ethnomusicology).
As a performer he co-founded the Eureka Ensemble and Lenko. Both groups toured and performed widely in the 1980s and 1990s, focusing on promoting new music that grew out of the dynamism and energy of Australia's cultural diversity. He also toured extensively with Australia Felix, Melbourne Workers' Theatre, Starlight Strings, Melbourne New Music, and the New Audience Ensemble.
Mark's work as a conductor involves exploring the dramatic potential of choral singing. To that end he founded two 60-voice mixed choirs: Canto Coro (Melbourne) and Brisbane Canto Coro. Over two decades, with the support of these wonderfully committed and progressive people, Mark has presented newly commissioned works (including: Little City, Teatro, Exilio, Somos Fuertes, 1975: A Love Story); and large choral works from modern Greece and Latin America (including Canto General, Axion Esti, Cantata Santa Maria de Iquique, Mauthhausen, Epitafios). For Brisbane Canto Coro Mark has co-written three music dramas with Indigenous themes: Hornet's Wedding, Anderson & Ipeta, Damage). Other conducting gigs include a 15-year stint directing the Giuseppe Verdi Men's Choir, residencies in Geneva with Coeur Overt and four years directing the Surrey Hills Community Orchestra.
Recently, Mark's focus has progressively shifted to composing works for theatre. To this end he has written two operas (Magda's Fortune; Inochka, Volodya & Me), two dance works (House of Incest, Les Enfants Terribles), and seven musicals (in addition to the three named above: Rape of the Creature; Bielbah: Double Helix; The Man Who Loved Children; Pye in the Sky).
As an educator, Mark established and toured with the Ferny Grove High School choir, and conducted the Siena choir for eight years. Predominantly though, he has worked at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts for a decade. In this time he taught a range of material including literacy, musical literacy, theatre improvisation, and Indigenous cultural analysis.
Over his working life Mark has been active politically, reflected through his work as a member of the Central Committee of the Greek Progressive Youth of Australia; president and management committee member of Brisbane Ethnic Music & Arts Centre (BEMAC); management committee member of Melbourne Workers Theatre; peer panel member of the Sunshine Coast Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF); Academic Board member of the VCA Music School, and Member of the VCA College Council.
Mark Dunbar — current to September 2018
|Bielbah: Double Helix : a song-story in 20 scenes (2010)||Commissioned by Brisbane Canto Coro.|
|Damage : a music-drama in 7 scenes (2007)||Commissioned by Brisbane Canto Coro|
|Anderson & Ipeta : a musical in one act (2005)||Commissioned by Brisbane Canto Coro & Blackface Productions|
|Hornets Wedding (music theatre) (2003)||Commissioned by Brisbane Canto Coro in 2002|
|Polemiphony (music theatre) (1983)||Commissioned by Australia Felix (Ensemble).|