B i o g r a p h y
Mark Buller, a composer based in Houston, writes music which blends rich lyricism with bold gestures and striking rhythms. He has written a wide variety of pieces, from tiny miniatures for solo instruments to operas and works for large orchestra. His music has been heard in venues around the world, from Carnegie Hall and the Moscow Conservatory to offbeat locations such as the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney and MOVIMENTO in Munich. His orchestral works have been performed by leading orchestras and conductors, and his music for vocal and choral forces have been presented around the world. He has been privileged to write for a number of world-class ensembles and organizations, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Chamber Choir, ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra), and Apollo Chamber Players. His flexibility as a composer has led to some unique projects and commissions: four operas for Houston Grand Opera -- including a pastiche opera -- with libretti by Charles Anthony Silvestri and Euan Tait (together totaling over 180 performances since 2015); a series of poignant art songs and a major choral work also for HGO, setting words by veterans and by Leah Lax; and eighty very short pieces for various forces, entitled Quarantine Miniatures, written during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In recent years, Mark's comic song cycles have gained some notice, beginning with Tombstone Songs, which sets hilarious epitaphs from the U.S. and U.K. One-Star Songbook explores terribly sophomoric one-star Amazon reviews of literary masterworks, maintaining the original poor grammar and spelling. Schlechtesübersetzunglieder sets to music the texts of famous Schubert lieder after having been mangled by Google Translate. And an upcoming cycle, The Beginner's Guide to Conspiracy Theories, is a series of "mad scenes" which once again turns to found texts, setting rants and screeds about the Illuminati, JFK, Goop and other peddlers of pseudoscience, and QAnon.
Recent and upcoming performances include a second work for the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, The Parallactic Transits; Drives, a chamber opera for HGO with librettist Euan Tait; First Light with the Fox Valley (WI) Symphony Orchestra; Mass in Exile, with libretto by Leah Lax, for the Houston Chamber Choir; and an oboe concerto for members of the Houston Symphony.
Mark’s music has been featured multiple times on Performance Today, reaching over a million listeners on over 230 stations. He is a Hermitage Artist Fellow and an AIR Serenbe Seikilos Focus Fellow.
Originally from Maryland, Mark studied as a pianist before earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Houston, where he studied with Marcus Maroney and Rob Smith. He currently teaches at Lone Star College and is Director of Education and Chair of Composition Studies at AFA.
Photo credit: Lynn Lane