Mark Bruckner, MFA, BM, BA
Mark is a lecturer in sound design and music theatre. Before coming to University of Iowa, Mark was based in New York, where he held guest artist residencies at the Gallatin School of Interdisciplinary Studies at New York University, Boston College, CUNY-Brooklyn College, CUNY-LaGuardia College, and Long Island University, Brookdale campus teaching composition and sound design for theatre, and engaging in the devising of new work and the revival of classic plays and musicals.
An Innovative Theater and Audelco Award-winning composer and music director, and a Henry Hewes American Theatre Wing sound design nominee, Mark is known for his work in intercultural theatre, new play development, and musical theatre adaptations. He has received commissions from off-Broadway, regional theaters, colleges, and producing organizations across the country. His scores are distinctive for their kinetic blending of original music, live Foley, and spatial, environmental soundscapes. His work with wearable technology is featured in a lead article he authored for the 2017 Spring Edition of Theatre, Design and Technology, entitled: Wearable Sound Technology: The Making of Magic in Caryl Churchill’s “Fen.”
Representative work includes music, sound, and live foley for The Service Road by Erin Courtney (Adhesive Theater Project, Brooklyn, New York); music for Court-Martial at Fort Devens by Jeffrey Sweet (The New Federal Theater in association with Castillo Theatre, New York); music and lyrics for Same Train, a spoken-word musical developed with playwright, Levy Lee Simon and director Mary Beth Easley (National Black Theater Festival); Krasang Tree, a chamber opera based on the writings of poet U Sam Ouer, developed through intergenerational outreach within the Cambodian refugee community of Minnesota (Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minnesota); God, the Crackhouse and the Devil (LaMama E.T.C., New York) by Levy Lee Simon, featuring original music for hip-hop jazz sextet; Original music and second-line brass arrangements for a Mardi-Gras adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, commissioned by University of Iowa. Recent work includes original music, sound, and wearable technology design for the premiere of Royal Jelly by Paul Cameron Hardy, and Fen by Caryl Churchill (Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts); music and sound design for The God Projekt by Kevin Augustine and the Lone Wolf Tribe (LaMama, ETC 50th anniversary season opening production); music and sound for the 2016 U.S. premiere of Privatopia by Maria Efsthatiadis (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center); original songs for the the 2015 premiere of Exposed by Robert Brustein (Boston Playwright’s Theater at the Boston Center for American Performance); and music direction for the Audelco-award winning revival of Martin Duberman’s In White America produced by the New Federal Theater and Castillo Theater. At the 2019 International Saison de Theatre Insolite in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, sponsored by Les Sage Fous Theatre, he recently presented the world premiere performance of Body Concert, featuring an electro-acoustic score and ambisonic sound design for the work of master puppeteer, Kevin Augustine of the Lone Wolf Tribe.
As a music director, Mark has directed contemporary musicals off-Broadway (Algonquin Theatre), at Regional Theatres (e.g. Capital Repertory, Albany NY, Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts) and at the university level. He recently music-directed and conducted the 2019 University of Iowa Production of Sunday in the Park by Stephen Sondheim.
In addition to his creative work and scholarship, Mark has been an engagement and outreach teaching artist for over 18 years, partnering with BAM, Roundabout Theatre, New York City Children’s Theatre, Arts Connection, Center for Arts Education, Brooklyn Arts Council, among other organizations. He has worked with K-12 students and seniors in the New York tri-state area to develop original musicals, songs, and theatre pieces based on their life experiences. From 2010 to 2016 he was the lead composer and music director for George Street Playhouse’s Summer Theatre Academy. He has received two NEA grants to teach song-writing, musical theatre, choral and percussive arts to cross-generational students throughout Brooklyn.
For the past seven summers, Mark has been a guest artist and teacher at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska where he has co-taught with Professor Mary Beth Easley the immersive workshop The Energized Space; and participated in the development of plays from the New American Theatre Movement. In the summer of 2019 he was commissioned to compose music and sound, and perform for the premiere production of Epic by Iowa alum Ellen Struve, directed by Michael Garcés of the renowned Cornerstone Theatre. Featuring an intergenerational cast of members from the Communidad Maya of Omaha, this work wove together a re-telling of the Popul Vuh with current stories of immigrants who have made the perilous trek from Guatemala to seek refuge in the United States.