B I O G R A P H Y
Pianist Mark Neiwirth, a Steinway Artist, 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. Concert tours have taken him to Europe, South Africa and India, as well as dozens of venues in the US. 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 more than 30 piano concerti with orchestras throughout the country. For sixteen years he was the featured concerto soloist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. As 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; vocal coaching with Ellen Faull, William Metcalf and Judith Raskin; and conducting with Thor Johnson and George Manahan.
He 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.
Neiwirth is a champion of new music and has premiered several pieces, many of which were composed for him* by major composers:
Three Songs by Terrence Napier (1977)
*Piano Sonata No. 3 by Thom Ritter George (1989)
Six American Folk Songs for Flute & Piano by Thom Ritter George (1990)
*Arabesques by Carl Byron (with the California Trio) (1994)
Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano by Leon Levitch (with the California Trio) (1994)
*Piano Trio No. 1 by Thom Ritter George (with Charles Castleman and Terry King) (1994)
Three American Pieces by Lukas Foss (original version with Terry King, cello) (1994)
Ballade, Hommage à Chopin by Szymon Laks (US Holocaust Museum) (1995)
Introduction and Waltz after Ysayë by Thom Ritter George (1995)
*Piano Concerto No. 3 by Thom Ritter George (with Idaho State-Civic Symphony) (1996)
All the Rage by Yehudi Wyner (flutist Laurel Ann Maurer) (1996)
Danaë by Jett Hitt (1999)
Kuan-Yin by Tully Cathey (with Ellen Bridger, cello) (2001)
*Wilderness Suite for Two Pianos by Randy Earles (with Jeanne Green Sherman) (2004)
*Piano Sonata No. 4 by Thom Ritter George (2008)
*Old Playgrounds by Thom Hasenphlug (2010)
*Elegy by Timothy Brown (2018)
*Spirit of the Season: A Concert Fantasy of Carols and Songs by Kevin Olson (2019)
*Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra by Hiroshi Fukuoka (2023)
*Concerto for Piano and Band by William F. Montgomery (2024)
He is the founder and Executive Director of Musicians West, Inc., a non-profit corporation that sponsors musical events and provides scholarships and composer commissions in the state of Idaho. Initiated 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 co-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 sole adjudicator for the Pacific Northwest Concerto Competition in 2022, and 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, including the 2023 Treasure Valley Music Teachers Association Bach Festival. 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 the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; Artistic Director of the ISU Summer Institute for Piano and Strings; 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; Northwest Division Coordinator of the MTNA Composition Competitions; Secretary of the Pocatello Arts Council; Member of the Idaho State University Fulbright Advisory Committee; Board Member of the Idaho State-Civic Symphony; Scholarship Chair of the Pocatello Music Club; former President of the Idaho Falls Cultural Council; and Editorial Board member of the Rendezvous Literary Journal of the Idaho State University College of Arts and Letters.