Composer Mark Eliot Jacobs lives in southern Oregon’s Rogue River Valley and is a fixture of the music scene there. He is the trombonist in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2016 production of The Wiz. In previous seasons at OSF he has played for The Music Man (2009), Pirates of Penzance (2011), Animal Crackers (2012), and Guys and Dolls (2015). Mark is principal trombonist in the Rogue Valley Symphony, trombonist in the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, Rogue Valley Symphony Brass Quintet, and a sackbut & serpent player with the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, among other engagements.
Growing up in West-Central Illinois, Mark started studying piano and trombone in the early 1970's. Composition started for him as a kind of conversation with the etudes he was working on in these early lessons. His educational journey led him to a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition degree from Western Illinois University in 1982, then Master of Music (1983) and Doctor of Music (1986) degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Mark divides his time between composition, performance, and teaching in Ashland and Medford, Oregon. He is an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University where he teaches in the areas of music theory, composition, and low brass.
Mark has written a wide range of music, including works for orchestra, band, musical theater, and chamber music. His tone poem Las Ranas de Katanchel was premiered by the Rogue Valley Symphony in November 2010. It was recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013 for the Navona Records compact disc release Spellbound. The 2011 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle at Southern Oregon University featured Mark’s original musical score. The Medford Mail Tribune declared it an “amazing collection of original compositions." He has completed two commissions from the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon: The Orchard City in 2012 and Crater Lake Fantasy in 2015.
Mark completed a tour of concerts of his recent compositions for band in three cities in the vicinity of Basel, Switzerland. The world premiere of Five Chicago Scenes for Band took place at the St. Leodegar Church in Möhlin, Switzerland on November 23, 2014 with the Musikgesellschaft Möhlin Band. The Musikverein 1860 Rickenbach e.V. Band performed his The Orchard City: Medford, Oregon 1913 at the St. Gordian Church in Rickenbach, German on November 30, 2014. The Musikverein Karsau e.V. 1898 Band performed Exoplanet 42 on December 7, 2014 at the St. Michaelskirche in Karsau, Germany. All three bands are directed by Markus Tannenholz of Bad Säckingen, Germany.