About Mark

Photo: Kasia Jarosz

Mark Ford is a marimba artist and the Coordinator of Percussion at The University of North Texas College of Music in Denton, Texas.  As a Past-President of the Percussive Arts Society and the coordinator of one of the largest percussion programs in the United States at UNT, Ford is an active performer and composer.  Mark has been featured as a marimba soloist throughout the United States at universities, festivals and music conferences. He has performed internationally throughout Europe as well as in Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia and South America.  In addition to his duties at UNT, Ford is also the Artistic Director for the annual Drum Fest Marimba/Vibraphone Competition in Opole, Poland.

With over three decades of performing, teaching and composing to his credit, Mark’s recordings have established his dedication to excellence in music. Ford’s solo marimba CDs, Polaris, Motion Beyond and Stealing a Moment, have become standards in the percussion world.  His CDs have been described by PAS’ Percussive Notes as “beautiful, exceptional and virtuosic.”  Mark has also recorded numerous concertos with the UNT Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon.   These include two DVDs and a CD with Japanese virtuoso marimbist Keiko Abe as well as Contact, a compilation CD where Ford performs concertos by Jennifer Higdon, Daniel McCarthy, Keiko Abe and his own Stubernic Fantasy.

As a composer Mark Ford has written popular works for solo marimba and percussion ensemble including Moon ChasersHead Talk, Polaris, Stubernic, Afta-Stuba!, CABASA!, The Surface of Life and Coffee Break (co-composed with Ewelina Ford).  His Stubernic Fantasy Concerto has been recorded on 5 albums and performed on tour by the US Navy Band, the US Air Force Band and numerous university wind ensembles.  His compositions have been performed at universities and concert halls throughout the world and also featured on National Public Radio.  His most recent works include Renfro co-composed with UNT faculty comrade Paul Rennick, a new marimba solo Exile (2020) and a marimba/percussion duet, Desert Wood (2020)commissioned by Northern Iowa University.   Currently Mark is composing a new concerto for marimba for the Melbourne Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble in Australia.

Ford is also the author of two well-known marimba method books.   His first book Marimba: Technique Through Music (published by Innovative Percussion) is a four-mallet marimba method book used by conservatories and schools of music around the world.   His newest book, #MarimbaBaby (published by Musicon Publications in 2018) has been well received.  Mark is currently writing a two-mallet marimba sight-reading book including eight snare drum/marimba duets co-composed with Paul Rennick.

Ford has been recognized as a leading percussion educator, and his former students perform and teach throughout the country.  Under his direction the UNT Percussion Ensemble has toured in Poland, Croatia, France and Belgium and also won the PAS International Percussion Ensemble Competition.  Mark Ford is the Artistic Educational Director for Tama/Bergerault and also proudly represents Innovative Percussion, Sabian, Evans Drum Heads and Meinl Percussion as performing artist and clinician.