MUSIC DIRECTOR / CONDUCTOR
Mark A. Norman has enjoyed a career spanning over thirty years as a conductor and tuba performer. He is the Music Director of the Piedmont Wind Symphony and the Director of Wind Ensembles and a conducting faculty artist at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Raised and currently residing in North Carolina, Mark has lived and worked throughout the United States and guest conducted internationally. He is the former music director of the American Wind Orchestra and Riverside Wind Symphony and has been on the conducting faculties of the University of Michigan, UW-Milwaukee, UNC Greensboro, Washburn University, and Towson University. He has recorded with the Fountain City Brass Band, American Wind Orchestra, UNCG Wind Ensemble, and most recently, produced a three-part video series titled “Beethoven and the Winds” with the Piedmont Wind Symphony. He has been featured on radio programs including NPR Kansas, and on local and national television shows. Throughout his career, he has been the subject of several articles in prestigious papers such as the Washington Post. Mark is a frequent guest conductor with professional and academic ensembles, most recently with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Western Piedmont Symphony, and the NC Brass Band.
His professional career began in the 1980’s as a frequent substitute tubist with North Carolina, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem Symphonies as well as summer jobs performing at Busch Gardens and Sesame Place theme parks. His principal teacher was David Lewis of the NC Symphony and shortly after becoming the first tuba performer to win the UNCG Concerto Competition, Mark won a position with the esteemed U.S. Navy Band in Washington, DC at the age of 22. While living in the nation’s capital for 14 years, Mark was the principal tuba with the Georgetown Symphony, McLean Orchestra, and the Mount Vernon Chamber Symphony, all of which featured him as a soloist and gained him critical acclaim. He was a frequent soloist in recitals and with orchestras and bands throughout the country. His conducting career began as a cover conductor and clinician for local orchestras and bands in the DC metropolitan area and he quickly gained notoriety for his energetic style and emotive sensibilities. He founded the Loudoun Symphonic Winds in 1993 and the Riverside Wind Symphony in 1997 which established his career as a conductor before being named the music director of the professional American Wind Orchestra in 1998. He also founded the Mid-Atlantic Wind Conductors Conference which featured internationally known conductors and composers including Frederick Fennell, Frank Ticheli, and Mark Camphouse.
After one year conducting the bands and orchestra at Towson University, Mark returned to North Carolina in 2002. He received his Master’s degree and Doctorate of Musical Arts in instrumental conducting at UNC Greensboro where he studied with John Locke and Kevin Geraldi. During this time, his professional career continued as the music director of the Greensboro Concert Band and as the Director of Wind Ensembles at UNC School of the Arts.
When he was named the Director of Bands at Washburn University in 2009, he and his wife Amanda left for Topeka, Kansas. His ensembles at Washburn were often chosen for conferences and tours including a performance at the Kennedy Center premiering pieces honoring attendees Bob and Elizabeth Dole. In 2013, he moved to Ann Arbor, MI after accepting an appointment as a Visiting Professor of Conducting at the University of Michigan. He later moved to Wisconsin where he was the on faculty at the Peck School for the Arts at UW-Milwaukee. During this time, Mark and Amanda became the owners of the Charlotte Music School with over 250 students and began their trek back to NC.
Upon returning to NC in 2016, Mark began his second stint as the Director of Wind Ensembles at UNCSA and additionally taught part-time for two years at his alma mater UNCG as a Visiting Professor of Conducting. In 2020, Mark was named the Director of Instrumental Ensembles and conducting faculty artist at UNCSA where he oversees the large ensembles program and conducts the wind ensemble, chamber winds, and occasionally the symphony orchestra.
Ensembles under Mark’s direction have performed at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) conference, regional College Band Director National Association (CBDNA), and the state music educators’ conferences in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Kansas. He is the winner of several solo and chamber music competitions and was nominated for both a Virginia Governor’s Award in Arts Excellence and a Grammy Award in co-producing the UNCG Wind Ensemble recording of “Fireworks.”
Mark and Amanda happily live with their dog Miles and cat Max in Pfafftown, NC, where they plan to reside for many years to come.