Mark McKenzie

50th Anniversary Star Trek 100 City Concert Tour

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, music from Mark McKenzie’s Star Trek Enterprise: Horizon episode will be performed live by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in a 100 city tour across the USA this spring along with music of Jerry Goldsmith and numerous other Star Trek composers. The Tour is entitled: Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” and will be conducted by Justin Freer.  Mark McKenzie orchestrated Star Trek 6: “The Undiscovered Country,” Star Trek 7 “Generations,” and Star Trek 9 “Nemisis” but only composed one episode of Star Trek Enterprise.  He is honored to have been part of the Star Trek Franchise and to have his music from that one episode chosen for performance.  The Horizon Episode in addition to the normal space battles had some very intimate moments and so the music reflects both the bombastic and the deeply tender humanity in the episode. A suite of Mark’s music from Star Trek Enterprise will play on the Star Trek News Page or the Star Trek Album page.  The composer of the iconic Star Trek Theme Alexander Courage retired as Jerry Goldsmith’s orchestrator and Mark McKenzie replaced him.  The music of Mark’s to be performed entitled UP YOUR ALLY is available on LA LA LAND Records CD “Star Trek Enterprise Collection” along with music from numerous other episodes and fine composers.

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Welcome to this newly revised Mark McKenzie website. It plays new music each time you visit and we invite you linger on the Home page, watch the beautiful nature pictures pass by and listen to endless music of Mark McKenzie. There is much to explore through the various pages thanks to designer Justin Durban and host Amélie Koran. Special thanks to New Hampshire artist Craig Pursley for this portrait painted for the “Circle of Inspiration” Art Exhibit in Pasadena California: 26 New pieces of art each inspired by different tracks from Mark’s movie scores.

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DRAGONHEART 3: SORCERER’S CURSE Pumping Adrenaline on iTunes and Varese Sarabande Records

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Varese Sarabande Records released a limited autographed Cd of Dragonheart 3: Sorcerer’s Curse. Universal’s Back Lot Music also released it digitally on iTunes so it is available most anywhere music is sold.  Over 77 minutes of music, epic battles, tense moments, action, triumph, thrills, humor, mystery, heart, magical happenings; it’s all there.

Thanks to J. Broxton at Movie Music UK who writes: “A new score by Mark McKenzie is always a special event…The score’s finale, comprising the cues “Clans Arrive For War,” “Battle to the Death” and “Final Victory and End Credits,” is a 20-minute action extravaganza, featuring some of the most brutal and complicated battle music …anyone used to his sweeping romance and lush religioso themes may be surprised to hear him pumping so much adrenaline…Dragonheart 3 is a great score, full of all the things we have come to expect from Mark McKenzie: moving themes, intellectually sound dramatic development, clever and creative orchestrations, and plenty of heart and passion.”
Thanks also to R. Larson who writes:  …brimming with sonic dimension and orchestral prowess…don’t let the fact that it’s a synth-and-samples performance dissuade you from experiencing an honestly thrilling and authentically-sounding fantasy-action score. The focus in this score is on motif-infused battle action, but McKenzie does find opportunities for eloquent reflection, as in the introspective “One Rejected Knight,” the renewing “Desires Can Spoil A Dream And A Heart,” and the tender “Goodbye My Friend.” There is also more emphasis on Celtic influences on this score from both pipes and chorus, which contrasts nicely with the traditional symphonic base of the music.  “Shadow Hopping” adopts the flavor of a Celtic dance. Mark McKenzie has been rightfully noted for his intimate, melodic drama scores like THE LOST CHILD, THE ULTIMATE GIFT, and THE ULTIMATE LIFE, but hopefully hisDRAGONHEART 3 score may remind filmmakers to bring him on board more action films as well.”

Below are some of the liner notes:

There’s nothing I know of more timeless or powerful than the live symphony orchestra with chorus and I believe that will always be true. That said, when asked to compose an electronic score, I found it full of opportunity, a fun challenge, and ultimately satisfying because electronic music grows in quality every day, and is a far cry from what it was just a few years ago. One nice perk; if I wanted 8 trombones, I just added them with no fuss. I dreamed of making the music as sonorous, powerful, symphonic, rhythmic, fun, colorful, thrilling and bold as possible for this fantastic Universal Studios action-adventure Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse …beautifully written I might add by Matthew Feitshans, and brilliantly directed by Colin Teague.

It is rewarding to freely use alternating complex and compound meters and rhythms with no concern about the time and expense it adds to live orchestral and choral recording. 17/8 is a first and composing the final 21-minute action sequence, (the final 3 tracks of this soundtrack) punctuated with choir chants, percussion and brass gave me a grander sense of scope than I’d experienced before. The action sequence Colin created in the final reel is thrilling to me as a composer. You’ll notice that the end credits include live orchestral music from Dragonheart: A New Beginning and you will undoubtedly enjoy Randy Edelman’s iconic “Dragonheart” theme sprinkled throughout.

Producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, director Colin Teague, production executives Hester Hargett-Aupetit, Jan Kikumoto, Patti Jackson, George Engel and Angela Leus allowed me great latitude, support and encouragement throughout the composing process. For those and others like Maria Frisen, Emily Chu, Stefan Henrix, and Jonathan Wales I am grateful. To learn more and hear more of my music, I invite you to join me at and on facebook at Mark McKenzie Music.

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Artist CRAIG PURSLEY writes: “I’m not sure I have ever been more inspired than the last eight months of 2014! In April I first heard a film score by Mark McKenzie and loved it; so melodic, embued with emotion without being saccarine and for me, SO visual! After hearing several of them, I was so impressed that I wrote him what amounted to a fan letter, And I was surprised when he wrote back. After several exchanged emails, I asked if he would be interested in a joint show- his music that inspired my paintings and he agreed. The result was 38 paintings in total…. I have been listening to soundtracks while I paint for more than 25 years, so I thought I knew all the great ones from Korngold to Zimmer so I was surprised when I first heard the score to “The Ultimate Gift”. So melodic and interesting. I bought a couple more and soon owned 17 of Mark’s scores. Quickly I felt like he was the Tchaikovsky of film score composers. While this may sound over the top, those who know me understand that I do NOT speak in hyperbole. Like Tchaikovsky, he is great at simple and beautiful melody like Romeo and Juliet (or Saving Sarah Cain for Mark) and great with power like the 1812 Overture (or The Greatest Miracle). He is capable of expressing the widest range of deep emotions of any composer alive now or ever! The fact that his films are lesser known than some for whom other film score composers have written does not diminish his personal excellence. Speaking as one who has a library of soundtracks building for decades, he should, in my opinion, have a row of Oscars on his mantel already. Hopefully, he will get his due and they will start lining up soon!” Thank you Craig!

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Thanks to award winning New Hampshire Artist Craig Pursley who has created an entire art show of 38 paintings, each inspired by a different piece of McKenzie movie music. That show will run from February 7th – March 7th at the Tirage Art Gallery in PASADENA. If you are around, plan to visit opening day, Saturday February 7th. Craig will paint a portrait from 2-5PM of Mark and discuss his work. The Open house that both Craig and Mark will attend is from 5-7PM.  To see each painting and the music piece that inspired it, visit “Circle of Inspiration.”

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10.14.13  Rochester Post Bulletin written by Tom Weber

“…McKenzie  is returning to Lake City, MN to perform, for the first time, a solo piano concert Sept. 25 at the Lincoln High School auditorium…But why now, after all these years? That answer came from one of McKenzie’s partners on a recent project: Paul McCartney. McKenzie and McCartney worked together recently at Abbey Road studios in London on McCartney’s “Music of the Spheres”symphonic suite for the new game “Destiny.”

During a break in recording, McCartney told McKenzie he likes nothing better than sharing his music with people.

Shortly afterward, McKenzie said, “I woke up with the thought that music is for sharing.I’ve never had a performer’s temperament, but you start to realize this isn’t about me. Hopefully, it will be an evening of sharing music.”

So now McKenzie is ready to get back to where he once belonged.

For the concert, McKenzie will play selections from his movies in their original piano-only form. Then, he’ll play a scene from the movie, with the same basic tune now in its orchestrated version.

The concert will open with music from “Dances with Wolves,” the first film on which the classically-music trained McKenzie worked. “It changed my mind about music in general,” he said of that experience. “I’ve tried to focus my career on writing beautiful music.”

McKenzie started piano lessons in Lake City, and also took lessons in Rochester. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, then did his master’s and doctorate at the University of Southern California.

As part of the concert, McKenzie wants to pay tribute to his music teachers in Lake City, share life lessons he’s learned and plans to end with a question-and-answer session.

“I’ll answer things like, ‘What was Paul McCartney like?'” he said.

Well, what was he like?

“You know,” McKenzie said, “I’ve worked with a lot of movie stars. My anticipation was that he would be aloof and guarded. But when he walked in the room it was like an old buddy walked in. There was not one iota of ‘Look at me, I’m a star.’ I came home so inspired by his humility, his love for people.”

That inspiration is what McKenzie hopes to draw upon for his first solo piano concert.”

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In a relatively short period of time, McKenzie has quietly established himself as a master symphonist with a profound sense of drama…His penchant for piquant melodies and the kaleidoscopic ways he dresses them sets this talented composer apart from his contemporaries. He is one of the best dramatists working today and an exemplar of the powerful force behind music in films. SCORE KEEPER ARTICLE  (Picture by Daniel Sanchez)

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Thank you to WGWG radio and Noel T. Manning for this in-depth discussion about “The Ultimate LIfe” music, Mark’s childhood in a small town (Lake City, MN) beginnings of a career, work process, Michael Landon Jr, John Barry, Paul McCartney, Jerry Goldsmith, and much more: WGWG RADIO

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