Mark Fewer is widely considered one of the most unique and creative musical voices of his generation. Comfortable in a variety of roles, he is known for his honest approach and relaxed style, switching easily from duties as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, jazz musician, and artistic programmer.
Born in Newfoundland, Mr. Fewer was recognized from an early age to possess the stage presence of his father, a famous local singer and entertainer in the 50s and 60s. After studies in piano, violin and saxophone in his native St. John's, he decided on furthering his studies in Toronto at age 15 with the noted violin pedagogue David Zafer. Further studies included private tuition with Jose-Luis Garcia in London, England, and Ferenc Rados in Budapest, Hungary.
As a soloist, Mr. Fewer has performed with many of the major orchestras across Canada as well as orchestras in the United States, and in recital throughout Europe. His repertoire ranges from Vivaldi's Four Seasons to concertos of Prokofiev and Shostakovich and beyond. In the fall of 2005, he gave the Canadian premiere of John Adams' The Dharma at Big Sur for six-string electric violin and orchestra with the Vancouver Symphony.
Many new works have been written and/or dedicated to him, including James Rolfe's Worry for violin and eight cellos (recently released on the Eclectra record label in 2005), Michael Oesterle's Green for violin and Indonesian Gamelan, and Phil Dwyer's Happy Birthday Variations for violin alone. In the spring of 2007, he will premiere a new work for six-string electric violin and brass ensemble by Bramwell Tovey.
As a chamber musician, he is a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio and violinist with Canada's SuperNova String Quartet. In 2006, the Dukes performed the complete Beethoven Piano Trio Cycle in London, and the SuperNovas completed the cycle of late Beethoven String Quartets. Outside of these ensembles, he is a regular contributor to chamber music societies and festivals around North America.
After years immersed in the musical life of Toronto, Mr. Fewer moved west in the fall of 2004 to begin duties as concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony. Inside this role he periodically performs as soloist/director in concerts at Vancouver's Chan Centre. The current season will see performances of the complete Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach, the first time in the orchestra's history they will be performed without conductor.
As artistic director of the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax and SweetWater Music Weekend in Owen Sound, he has gained a reputation of daring to programme works that others would not. "...with sold out houses and standing ovations after virtually every piece, he clearly knows what he is doing..." (Keith Horner, CBC Radio Two). He is also the director of LotusLand, a successful hybrid show of 20th century classical music and jazz, putting works of John Adams, George Antheil, Charlie Chaplin, Cyrill Scott and Paul Schoenfield alongside works of Stuff Smith, Cab Calloway and Phil Dwyer. LotusLand continues to expand, with new works being written by jazz musicians and classical composers across the continent.
Mr. Fewer taught violin and chamber music at the Glenn Gould School between 1997-2004. During that time he gained an enviable reputation as a teacher and mentor. Though he currently does not teach during the regular season, he serves on the faculty of the Domaine Forget and the Banff Centre in the summer. As well, he is co-developer of a new improvising course (along with jazz great Brad Turner) specifically for advanced chamber music students.