Penelope Burridge Mark has had a distinguished career as a pianist and harpsichordist. As a talented young musician she won first place in her class at the first music festival held in St. John’s, Newfoundland and excelled in piano examinations administered by the Trinity College of Music of London, England.
She subsequently pursued her studies at Mount Allison University where she studied with Patricia Grant Lewis and graduated as a prize winning student with a Bachelor of Music degree at the age of 19. She then was accepted for further study at the Royal College of Music in London, England, worked with the internationally known concert pianist Kendall Taylor and was awarded full scholarship status. She competed for and was awarded a concerto performance with the Royal College Chamber Orchestra (Mozart’s Concerto No.22 K. 449) under the baton of Harvey Phillips. With the Harvey Phillips String Orchestra, she played continuo in Wigmore Hall. She was a sought after collaborative pianist and accompanied, among others, José Luis Garcia, who became the Leader of the English Chamber Orchestra. She holds A.R.C.M. Diplomas in both Performance and Teaching. She also studied harpsichord with Millicent Silver and won the R.C.M. Harpsichord Prize in 1963, the first year it was given. In the summer of 1962 and 1963 she attended the Music Festival in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and worked with Rafael Puyana, a protegé of Wanda Landowska.
Upon her marriage to clarinettist James Mark she returned to North America and, with the aid of two Canada Council grants, began her study in harpsichord with Denise Restout, long time assistant and companion of Wanda Landowska and author of “Landowska on Music”. She played continuo with the U.S. Air Force Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (“Messiah”), as well as the Arlington (Va.) Opera (“Cosi van Tutte”, “L’italiana in Algieri”and “Il Barbieri di Siviglia”).
She was appointed as an adjunct teacher of Harpsichord at the Hartt College of Music (University of Hartford) in 1968, and taught piano at the Julius Hartt School and the Darrow School in New York State. While in Hartford she played continuo for the Hartford Choral Society (“Messiah”). In 1969 she moved to Williamstown, Mass. and was an active participant in many musical productions at Williams College including Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” and “Symphony of Psalms”, and incidental music for “The Tempest” as well as various productions by the Williams College Ballet Theatre. In Williamstown she performed the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds with the Mt. Greylock R.H.S. Wind Ensemble conducted by James Mark. While living in Ann Arbor, Mich. she was an accompanist for the studio of Saxophone Professor Donald Sinta. She has also performed harpsichord recitals in Washington D.C., Hartford Conn., Williamstown, Mass., Santa Fe, N.M. and Los Alamos, N.M., as well as numerous clarinet and piano recitals with James Mark. She has played harpsichord continuo with the Hartford and Springfield (Mass.) Symphonies.
She returned to Canada with her husband and was appointed a Part-time Lecturer at Mount Allison University. She also became a member of the Tintamarre Ensemble, made up of members of the Music Faculty at Mount Allison, and performed in several CBC broadcasts. These broadcasts included the Quintets for Piano and Winds by Mozart and Beethoven as well as the Sextet by Poulenc. She also accompanied the legendary Anna Russell in a CBC national TV broadcast. In addition to collaborating in numerous student and faculty recitals she performed the De Falla Harpsichord Concerto as part of a Faculty Recital, aand also the Prokofieff “Overture on Hebrew Themes” with James Mark and the Quatuor Arthur LeBlanc. In 2000 the CD made by James and Penelope Mark entitled “Canadian Music for Clarinet” was nominated for an ECMA Award. She has been the harpsichordist for the annual performances of “Messiah” at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI for many years and In 1986 she was the pianist for the Charlottetown Festival Children’s Theatre production of “Rapunzel”.
Mrs. Mark is an active and popular adjudicator in the Maritime provinces and has been the piano adjudicator at the Nova Scotia Provincial Finals on two occasions. She continues to perform duo recitals with James Mark and has a private piano teaching studio in Sackville.