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Mark Janello, PhD

Chair, Department of Music Theory

An active composer, performer, and scholar, Mark Janello was appointed chair of the Department of Music Theory at the Peabody Institute in 2015, having served on the theory faculty since 2002. His areas of specialization include counterpoint, temporality in music, and historical improvisation.

Mark’s scholarly paper “Unreasonably Melodious: The Grotesque and Bach's Inverse Augmentation Canon” was read at the Society for Music Theory National Convention in 2011 and his "Beyond Completion:  Transformation and Development in Three ‘Inventions’ of Bach" was read at the Society’s 2002 convention.

As a composer, Mark has received recent commissions from Marina Piccinini (flute quartet), the Aliénor Foundation (harpsichord duo), Andrew Arceci (viola da gamba), the Cima Ensemble (early instrument trio), Rebecca Peshefsky (harpsichord), and Laura Jordan (marimba). Recent performances of his works include the Sonata for Two for harpsichord duo at the Historical Keyboard Society of North America annual meeting  in May, 2015; the Harpsichord Mania! concert at Stonington, Connecticut’s LaGrua Center in June, 2015; and the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Concert “Works in Progress IV,” also in June, 2015. Sonata For Two will be recorded this fall by Rebecca Peshefsky and Elaine Funaro for release in 2017.

Mark has performed as a harpsichordist with the Baltimore Symphony, the Post-Classical Ensemble, Bach Sinfonia, and the Georgetown University Chamber Singers, and frequently performs duo recitals with soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani. An improviser and Baltimore Ravens fan, his organ improvisation on the Ravens’ Nation theme led to an interview on WYPR about the perceived incongruity of being both a classical musician and a football fan. A more traditional improvisation for clavichord can be heard on his web site, www.markjanello.com. In March 2016 he gave a concert of improvisation in baroque style on organ, harpsichord, and clavichord at the Historical Keyboard Society of North America's Annual meeting at Oberlin Conservatory.

Fellowships and awards Mark has won include Peabody Faculty Development Grants in 2014, 2012, 2011, and 2002; first place in the 2012 Aliénor Foundation Quadrennial Composition Competition for solo harpsichord composition for his work, Six Miniatures; the Best Student Presentation Award at New England Conference of Music Theorists, Harvard University in 1999; a Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Michigan in 1997; a University of Michigan Research Partnership in 1996; and selection among the Boston Globe’s “Best Compositions of 1990” for his Piano Trio.

Mark holds a PhD in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Michigan. His bachelor’s degree in Music is from Harvard University and his Master’s Degree in Music Composition is from Duke University, where he was awarded the Mary Duke Biddle Composition Fellowship. Prior to his appointment at Peabody, Mark served as a faculty lecturer at McGill University, visiting lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Music, faculty lecturer at the University of Michigan Department of Great Books, and graduate fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

Other papers, talks, and workshops include:

  • “Exploring Improvisation on a Bass Line” Workshop (May 2014, Capitol Early Music Society, Washington, DC)
  • “An Exploration of Renaissance Music Theory” Workshop (November 2013, Capitol Early Music Society , Washington, DC)
  • “Analyzing Bach's Cello Suites” (January 2013, Peabody Institute)
  • “New Directions in Bach Research” (February 2003, Musicology Colloquium Lecture Series, Peabody Institute)   
  • “Improvisation in Baroque Style” Lecture-recital with themes solicited from the audience. (February 2001, Faculty Colloquium, McGill University) 
  • “The  Avant-Garde” Art History seminar (November 2000, University of Michigan)
  • “Time, Memory, and Analytical Strategies for 'Clarinet and String Quartet' (1983) by Morton Feldman” (Presented at 3 regional Society for Music Theory conferences in 1999: New England Conference of Music Theorists, Harvard University (awarded Best Student Presentation Award); Music Theory Midwest, Butler University (honorable mention for the Komar Award for Outstanding Student Presentation); Joint Conference of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory and the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis, Stanford University.)
  • “Form, Pattern, and the Limits of Perception in the Music of Morton Feldman” (October 1998, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan, Brown Bag Series) 

Recent Compositions include:

  • Sonata for Two.  (two harpsichords) Commissioned by the Aliénor Foundation; premiered May 2015, Montreal.
  • Imaginary Voyage II. (flute quartet) Commissioned by Marina Piccinini; premiered April 2014, Baltimore.
  • Prelude.  (viola da gamba) Commissioned by Andrew Arceci;  premiered October 2013, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Toccata-Rondo. (harpsichord) Commissioned by Rebecca Peshevsky; premiered March 2013, Beesville, Texas.
  • The Shepherd's Journey. (soprano, harpsichord, viola da gamba) Commissioned by the Cima Ensemble; premiered January 2013, Göttingen, Germany.
  • certain dreams uncertain. (solo marimba) Commissioned by Laura Jordan; premiered May 2012, New York.
  • Six Miniatures. (harpsichord) Premiered March 2012, Cincinnati. Winner of the 2012 Aliénor Prize.

Courses Taught include:

  • Musical Puzzles, Games, and Machines (Fall 2016)
  • Renaissance Counterpoint (Fall 2016)
  • Baroque Counterpoint (Spring 2017)
  • Schenkerian Analysis (Spring 2017)
  • Large-scale Compositions of J.S. Bach
  • Solo and Chamber Music of J.S. Bach
  • Tonal Composition:  Classical
  • Improvisation for the Classical Musician

Personal website/contact information: www.markjanello.com.