Join us for a chat with composer, musician and teacher Mark Lanz Weiser, who is in the midst of a whirlwind of excitement surrounding the professional premiere of his opera Where Angels Fear to Tread, opening Feb. 7 through Feb. 22 at Opera San Jose, as well as the recent announcement of his selection as the winner of the Nissim Prize from ASCAP for his Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães). Mark shares with us the genesis for his opera (fans of E.M. Forster will rejoice) and talks about the thrill of it being professionally produced. Mark also fills us in on how reading a book about Magellan inspired his latest award-winning work.
An accomplished pianist, Mark takes us back to his early years and explains how he skipped the “most crucial years of piano development” for his love of baseball, and then regales us with his illustrious past as the bassist for a short-lived punk band named The Phallic Ice Cubes. Of course, he discusses his time at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland where his love of opera flourished. He also shares whether or not he ever experienced any Whiplash moments as a conservatory student and why tough teachers help weed out students who might be wavering at all about making a career in music.
Now a music instructor himself at The Thornton School of Music at USC, Mark reminds us why we shouldn't only remember Mozart for being a child prodigy. He also discusses how playing the organ is nothing like playing the piano, and encourages everyone to check out the work of “rock-star organist" Cameron Carpenter online.
When he’s not writing, teaching or performing, Mark enjoys spending time with his lovely and talented wife, Amy Punt, a writer whose work has appeared on Salon.com. For more information about Mark, visit www.marklanzweiser.com. And for tickets to Where Angeles Fear to Tread, visit www.operasj.org.)
The composer with the poster for his opera.
Danielle, Mark Weiser and Brian