Biography

Mark Adrian was born and raised in a quaint little Illinois farming community, not too far from the Chicago city limits.  He was always fascinated with music, and at the age of 12, his parents bought a Wurlitzer organ. Mark took to it right away and advanced quickly. At the age of 13, he bought a used spinet piano with money he obtained from mowing lawns.

Mark continued to excel and was soon hired as organist at his church. As a freshman in high school, he began accompanying the chorus and solo instrumentalists and vocalists for concerts, recitals and competitions. He also appeared as a piano soloist at high school competitions, winning the praises of the judges and his peers. At the same time, he began studying voice and found that he was a pretty good singer.

In college, he won numerous scholarships and awards for his piano playing. It was at the Aurora Conservatory of Music that he discovered his passion for choral conducting. He later enrolled at the University of Washington, continuing his piano and vocal training, and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree.  Mark is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the UW, and has completed all the necessary coursework and general examinations. He expects to complete the degree within the next two years.

Mark has been involved in the Greater Seattle music community since 1981, when he arrived from Illinois. For 20 years he has conducted Choral Sounds Northwest, which he helped co-found in 1984. He is also the founder and conductor of Cantaré Vocal Ensemble, a 40-member chamber choir that specializes in performing lesser-known choral works, with an emphasis on 20th-century repertoire. Choral Sounds Northwest has sung in various locations throughout Puget Sound with yearly appearances at Benaroya Hall. CSN has also traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City, and recently toured Italy, performing under Mark’s direction at several locations from Venice to Rome.

Mark has also served as guest conductor of the Bainbridge Chorale on two separate occasions and as interim conductor of the Seattle Women’s Ensemble. He has led the music programs at St. Bernadette church in Burien, St. Paul’s church in Skyway, Our Lady of Guadalupe church in West Seattle, and St. Benedict church in Wallingford. He is currently director of music at St. Catherine of Siena church in the Maple Leaf district of north Seattle.

Many churches, schools and area choral conductors, vocalists and instrumentalists seek Mark’s expertise as a choral clinician and coach, and he frequently adjudicates at music competitions and festivals.  

Among the organizations in which he is active are the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the Conductors’ Guild, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and the American Guild of Organists.