Born in Sarasota, Florida in 1968, Mark Hetzler began playing his Dad’s trombone at the age of twelve. He went on to receive a B.M. from Boston University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music. Mark was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and completed a three-year fellowship with the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
As a member of the Empire Brass Quintet from 1996-2012, Mark performed in recital and as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Australia, Taiwan, Korea, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Austria, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, Bermuda, St. Bartholomew and across the United States. He has appeared with the group on live television and radio broadcasts in Asia and the United States. Mark appears on several Empire Brass CDs on the Telarc label, including Firedance, The Glory of Gabrieli, and a recording of Baroque music for Brass and Organ.
Mark has released ten recordings on the Summit Records label. His 8th recording They Said… came out in March 2015 and features his experimental jazz/rock quartet Sinister Resonance, with rock, modern classical and improv-based musical styles. Mark’s recording Blues, Ballads and Beyond: Influences Outside the Concert Hall features jazz and commercially influenced music by contemporary classical composers, and was released in November of 2015. His 10th Summit recording, titled Dig., features contemporary chamber music in classical and rock styles, and was released in November of 2016.
Active in the creation of new music, Mark has worked with composers in some of the leading new music research studios around the world. In 2004 he commissioned NYU Professor Dr. Robert Rowe to write a composition that utilizes a computer program that Dr. Rowe created, in which the computer listens and responds to the live performer. In another collaborative effort, University of Florida composer Chester Udell composed Brass Alchemist for Mr. Hetzler, a work that incorporates a variety of technological applications, including MAX software. After a successful premiere at the New York Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, the work went on to win the First Prize in Composition at the 2010 Society for Electro-Acoustic Music’s yearly festival in St. Cloud, MN. Recent commissions include two new works from composers David Vayo and Mark Engebretson, both writing for Mark’s former quartet Sinister Resonance. In addition, Mark is active as a composer and arranger, fusing classical styles with many non-classical influences.
Former principal trombone of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Mark has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Florida Orchestra. He is the professor of trombone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. Mark is a Getzen performing artist who plays the 4147-IB Custom Reserve tenor trombone.
Mark’s newest ensemble, Mr. Chair, is a multi-genre group that plays a mix of rock, jazz, modern classical and contemporary improv-based styles. Performing on acoustic and electronic instruments, Mr. Chair explores sounds, textures, and grooves in search of beauty and beasts. Started in 2016, the ensemble has performed in clubs, music and lecture halls, new music festivals, and at colleges and universities. The three other members of the ensemble are all UW-Madison alumni: Jason Kutz, piano; Ben Ferris, bass; and Mike Koszewski, drums.