B i o g r a p h y
Pianist Mark Neiwirth, a Steinway Artist, recently received the 2018 Idaho Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has gained an international reputation as soloist, chamber musician, teacher, adjudicator, composer and arranger. He was Chairman of the Piano Department at the Sun Valley School of Music for seven years and has been an Adjunct Professor of Piano at Idaho State University since 2005.
After his Carnegie Recital Hall debut, the New York Times said, “Neiwirth plays with poised precision, utmost sensitivity and high feeling for drama.” Following his New York Concerto Debut, performing the Brahms Concerto No. 2 in B-flat with the Manhattan Philharmonia, the review stated that “[Neiwirth] has a powerful technique and all the musical means to perform beautifully anything written for the piano.”
Mr. Neiwirth has performed a repertoire of 31 piano concerti with orchestras throughout the country. For sixteen years he was the featured concerto soloist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. An avid chamber musician, he was a founding member of Davidsbund (New York City), the California Trio (Los Angeles), the Vista Trio (Salt Lake City), the Edgar M. Bronfman Chamber Series in Sun Valley, the Amadeus Trio of Idaho, and currently the Claviano Trio and the Neiwirth-Sherman Piano Duo. In 1997 he was declared the "Best Collaborative Pianist of the Year" by the Salt Lake Tribune.
In November 2017, Mr. Neiwirth was invited to be a guest adjudicator and clinician at MusiQuest, a week-long piano festival and competition in Pune, India, where he presented master classes and workshops, adjudicated competitions and was featured in concert. In February 2013, Mr. Neiwirth was sponsored on a concert tour of South Africa as a diplomatic outreach of the United States Embassy in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. He was the Consul General’s guest of honor in Johannesburg and played a private concert for several ambassadors and dignitaries. He also was a featured artist at the Darling Music Experience, a prominent summer music festival in the Western Cape wine country.
After growing up in southern Idaho as a student of Fawn King, Olive Boren Stirland and Teala Bellini, he pursued his advanced studies with Raymond Hanson (The Hartt School) in Connecticut, and Constance Keene and Dora Zaslavsky (Manhattan School of Music) in New York, where he served as Mme. Zaslavsky’s teaching assistant. Other major teachers were Aube Tzerko (UCLA) and Thomas Schumacher (Eastman School of Music). He worked with notable chamber music coaches Lillian Fuchs, Erick Friedman, Rafael Bronstein, Joseph Seiger, Gary Karr and Arianna Bronne, and studied vocal coaching with Ellen Faull, William Metcalf and Judith Raskin.
Neiwirth was a national finalist twice in the 1983 and 1985 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Competitions in Columbus OH and Wichita KS. In 1983 he was awarded a $10,000 Young Artist Grant from the Idaho Federation of Music Clubs to continue his professional studies in New York City.
Mr. Neiwirth is a champion of new music and premiered several pieces, many of which were written expressly for him by major composers. He is a favorite interpreter of Thom Ritter George’s compositions and premiered Piano Sonata No. 3; Six American Folk Songs for flute and piano with Patricia George, and subsequently recorded them with Laurel Ann Maurer on 4Tay Records; Introduction and Waltz after Ysaÿe for violin and piano with Ardith Moran; Piano Trio No. 1 with Charles Castleman and Terry King; and Piano Concerto No. 3, composed for the 60th anniversary of the Idaho State-Civic Symphony. He also premiered Wilderness Suite for Two Pianos with Jeanne Green Sherman by Randy Earles, and Old Playgrounds by Thom Hasenpflug. In 2018, Timothy Brown composed Elegy for Neiwirth, in memory of Christopher Midgyette. Most recently, Kevin Olson dedicated Spirit of the Season: A Concert Fantasy of Carols and Songs, to Neiwirth. Other premieres include Three American Pieces (original cello version) by Lukas Foss, Ballade by Szymon Laks at the United States Holocaust Museum, All the Rage by Yehudi Wyner, Arabesques by Carl Byron, Trio by Leon Levitch, Danaë by Jett Hitt, Petrouchka by Ralph Kessler, Kuan-Yin by Tully Cathey and Three Songs by Terrence Napier.
He is the founder of Musicians West, Inc., a non-profit corporation that sponsors musical events and provides scholarships and composer commissions in the state of Idaho. Founded in 1998, the Musicians West Piano Festival & Competition presents Idaho’s finest students and has become one of the most prestigious musical events in the region. Through Musicians West, he also authors and administers the statewide Certificate of Achievement, a comprehensive year-end exam for piano students held in April each year.
As an adjudicator, he has judged the Washington and Montana State MTNA Competitions and the Northwest District MTNA Competition, MusiQuest in Pune, India, and the Royal Conservatory Annual Evaluations in Vancouver, BC. He was the 2016 and 2017 Guest Clinician for the Steinway Society Awards Festival in Palm Springs, California, as well as many other local and regional festivals and competitions. He was the Artistic Director of the ISU Summer Institute for Piano and Strings for five years and has taught at the Curry Music Camp at Northern Arizona University and at MusicFest at the College of Southern Idaho.
Mark Neiwirth has been involved as a leader in his community in a number of roles. He is a Past President and current Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, former Artistic Director of the ISU Summer Institute for Piano and Strings, former Administrative Dean of the Russell Lockwood Leadership School, Change Leader through the Idaho Commission on the Arts, Vice President of Education of the Smile Toastmasters Club, Composition Competition Chair of the Idaho Music Teachers Association, former Secretary of the Pocatello Arts Council, member of the Idaho State University Fulbright Advisory Committee, former Board Member of the Idaho State-Civic Symphony, former Scholarship Chair of the Pocatello Music Club, and former Editorial Board member of the Rendezvous Literary Journal of the Idaho State University College of Arts and Letters.