The Canadian violinist, Mark Fewer, started on classical violin when he was 6. Before he started violin, he first was playing piano. When he turned about 11, he added alto saxophone, which he has not actually played professionally since he was in my his-20s. He left home when I was about 15 to study first at the University of Toronto, then overseas, in London, England; and then finally at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He studied there violin, but he studied actually with a pianist, Ferenc Rados, whom he hold in very high regard as a teacher of music in general - a force of nature. He was on a recital tour of Hungary, and the pianist suggested they play for her teacher. So they went and played.
Described as “genre-bending” by the National Post, and “intrepid” by the Globe and Mail, Mark Fewer has performed around the world to critical acclaim in virtually every role asked of a violinist - and then some. His regular musical diet includes performances from the early baroque to the avant-garde, with recent performances as soloist with groups as wide-ranging as the Melbourne Symphony (Australia), the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and the McGill Percussion Ensemble (Canada). He is also a dedicated chamber musician, jazz violinist, artistic director, and teacher.
Since 2010, Mark Fewer has been featured on 8 new recordings, the most recent of which won the 2012 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. The work, entitled Changing Seasons, is a jazz violin concerto written especially for him by jazz great Phil Dwyer. Scored for big band, string orchestra and solo violin, the piece takes advantage of Fewer’s unique abilities as both a classical violinist and improviser. Other new recordings include chamber works of Serge Arcuri (winner of the 2012 Prix Opus for Best Chamber Recording), as well as solo works of Pandolfi, Johannes Brahms, Antheil and Tovey.
2012 saw Mark Fewer perform concertos of Paganini, Antonio Vivaldi, Alban Berg and L.v. Beethoven with orchestras in Canada and the USA. He also made his conducting debut with I Musici de Montreal in performances of his own arrangements of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington standards. In 2013 he performed across Canada, the USA, Taiwan and India, including concerto performances of works by J.S. Bach, Prokofiev, John Adams and Bramwell Tovey.
As a chamber musician, Mark Fewer is a regular member of the Duke Piano Trio and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. He has also recently performed in chamber setting with artists such as Leon Fleisher, Edgar Meyer, Gilbert Kalish, James Campbell, Matt Haimovitz and Elizabeth Wallfisch. In 2011 he replaced both violinists of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and was subsequently awarded the “5th Man Paternity Prize”.
As a jazz violinist Mark Fewer has had the honor of sharing the stage with Dave Young, Brad Turner, Jodi Proznick, Terri Clark, Gene di Novi, Phil Dwyer, VanDjango and others.
Mark Fewer was the artistic director of the Scotia Festival of Music from 2004-2009, and is the founding director of the SweetWater Music Festival, now famous for it’s programmatic creativity and performance excellence. He was concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2008, and has been on faculty of the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, since 2007. He can be heard regularly on NPR, CBC Radio Two, BBC 3, RTVE, and ABC, and is the feature interview for an episode of the Biography Channel’s People Uncut. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebéc.