We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Mark Warman – one of the UK’s most experienced Musical Directors – has signed up to handle all things musical for this year’s Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year (SSSSPOTY) competition and Stiles and Drewe Prize.
Mark Warman MA, ARCM, Hon ARAM is an MD, conductor, composer, arranger and educator, with a particular interest in musical theatre. His experience as Musical Supervisor for two Sondheim world premieres – Saturday Night at the Bridewell (well known to older members of the Society as the show that we made happen!) and Evening Primrose at Sadler’s Wells – as well as various other Sondheim productions in London makes him the ideal choice for MD’ing our 10th anniversary SSSSPOTY and joining Edward Seckerson as a judge at the heats.
Mark is a music graduate of King’s College, Cambridge where he sang in its famed Chapel Choir before becoming Musical Director for the Cambridge Footlights and then numerous London productions including Les Misérables (Palace), Sinatra (Palladium), Chess In Concert (Royal Albert Hall), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Shaftesbury), Metropolis (Piccadilly), King (Prince Edward), Enter the Guardsman (Donmar), Floyd Collins (Bridewell – European première) and Adrian Mole (Wyndhams). He was also the conductor for Kiss Me Kate (Victoria Palace), Children of Eden (Prince Edward) and The Lion King (Lyceum).
His long and close association with the work of Stephen Sondheim began with an acclaimed chamber reorchestration for the first London revival of Into the Woods. He was Musical Supervisor for two Sondheim world stage premières – Saturday Night (Bridewell) and Evening Primrose (Sadler’s Wells) – and MD for Pacific Overtures (2004 Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production) and Into the Woods (both at the Donmar). He conducted Sweeney Todd for Holland Park Opera with direction by Christopher Bond, and played piano in the orchestra for A Little Night Music (Piccadilly) and Sunday in the Park with George (NT) but perhaps his proudest moment was being asked to conduct full orchestra, soloists and chorus in a musical tribute to Mr Sondheim when he received an honorary Doctorate from the University of London in 2010.
Other theatre orchestrations include George Stiles’ Moll Flanders (Lyric, Hammersmith), Nine (Donmar), The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough) and Hard Times (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), as well as composing incidental music for plays in Chichester, the West End and for the RSC in Stratford. Away from the stage, his orchestrations are best known to a worldwide TV audience from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth. Over the last 12 years, Mark has also enjoyed a more avant-garde career as MD to the experimental rock composer Scott Walker, conducting and orchestrating the seminal abums The Drift and Bish Bosch, two ballets for the Royal Opera House and the South Bank, a major retrospective at the Barbican, and the epic 80-piece orchestral score to last year’s award-winning film The Childhood Of A Leader, which Mark has just conducted at a live screening to close the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
He has always been a tireless supporter of new musical theatre writers, working first with the Mercury Workshop, judging submissions and competitions, leading workshops and musically directing their 1994 revue, directed by Julia McKenzie. Now he continues this enthusiasm for encouraging new writing as the lead facilitator for BML’s Advanced Group as well as with MMD, lecturing on his own work as arranger and orchestrator, critiquing for “Writing Lab Xtreme”, MDing for “The Works” and judging for “The S&S Award”. In his private recording studio, he produces both solo and cast albums for musical theatre performers and composers, and at the Royal Academy of Music he teaches the art of musical direction, orchestration and conducting to the next generation of Musical Directors.