- Your Parents Hate Me (1989)
- Mousetrap Music (1996)
- “Triple Concerto”
- “Overture to a Catfish”
- “Scrape: Threaded Rods”
- “Bow: Tam Trees”
- “Strike: 3/2 + 5:2 Grove”
- “Pluck: Koto”
- “16 Things”
- “Stoke: Nails”
- “Strike: Dulcimer Groove”
- “Temporary Realities”
by Juli Hodgson (SHS)
Almost all people have some form of musical inclination, whether they are members of their high school band or simply take piano lessons. Music is commonly heard all around us. It is, however, quite uncommon that someone with extraordinary talent and extreme creativity graces the world with his presence. Fortunately, Starkville, Mississippi has been very lucky. Mark Applebaum, a talented musician, composer, and creative instrument inventor, has come to Starkville from San Diego, California. Citizens of Starkville are fortunate to have such a talented man living in their community.
Mark Stephen Applebaum was born on Friday, October 13, 1967. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Robert and Rosalie Applebaum. His musical interest was born when he was at the young age of seven years old (Holder). In high school, Applebaum describes himself as “a nerdy kid with cool aspirations” (Applebaum, Interview). After meeting his future wife, Joan Friedman, things got better. However, it was not until later in high school that Applebaum was even certain that he was college-bound. Nevertheless, Applebaum graduated from high school in 1985. He went on to attend Carleton College for undergraduate school where he received his bachelor’s degree in music.
After graduation from Carleton College in 1989, Applebaum attended the University of California at San Diego for graduate school where he studied with Brian Ferneyhough. Ferneyhough, a well-known musician and composer (UCSD Faculty), is greatly admired by Applebaum. Mark Applebaum’s “Triple Concerto” is dedicated to Ferneyhough. Applebaum received his master’s degree in 1992. Then, after writing Aesthetics and Methodology as Observed through Reactions of Composers to a Musical Control, his doctoral thesis, he received his Ph.D. in music composition in 1996, also from the University of California at San Diego. After leaving San Diego, Mark Applebaum moved to Starkville, Mississippi. He is currently an assistant professor in Mississippi State University’s Department of Music Education. He teaches music appreciation, music composition, music theory, and music technology.
Mark Applebaum’s work has three areas of focus. Formal experimental composition is the first. It emphasizes notated music. His sound sculptures, musical instruments created out of strange but ordinary everyday objects, are his second area of focus. Applebaum’s third area is jazz piano. Although his work tends not to be categorized, jazz piano is the most familiar reference. The area of sound sculptures is quite a shock to most audiences who have never seen Applebaum perform (Holder).
There are many key factors in being successful, including inspirations. Applebaum states that his favorite musicians are Miles Davis and John Cage, but many talented musicians have inspired him and his work. Bach represents “Applebaum’s historical source of inspiration” (Holder), while others, such as John Cage, Brian Ferneyhough (one of Applebaum’s professors), and Conlon Noncarrow have also greatly influenced has musical work. Applebaum also admires Harry Partch, an “American experimentalist” (Holder). Like Partch, Mark Applebaum builds his own instruments (his famous sound sculptures). In the area of jazz piano, Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane have all inspired Applebaum’s work. Perhaps in the near future, Mark Applebaum will be the source of inspiration for another talented musician.
Mark Applebaum is a very decorated artist. He has received honors and awards form many different groups and organizations. For his “innovative work as a jazz pianist” (MSU Faculty), Applebaum received the 1994 Jazz Prize of the Southern California Jazz Society. He received the 1997 Stephen Albert Award from the American Music Center for a promising young composer. In addition to these prestigious awards, he was also the recipient of 1989 Larson Award for distinction in arts (Hawkins). Mark Applebaum’s work has been heard all throughout the world. Mississippi is one of the most fortunate states in the country. The state has produced many talented musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis and the King himself, Elvis Presely. Now we have a new man to add to the list of famous Mississippi musicians. Although Mark Applebaum has an extremely different style from most musicians, he is rapidly gaining recognition around the globe with his creative sound sculptures, excellent jazz piano playing, and unique compositions. On September 14, 1999, the Mark Applebaum Trio presented a jazz concert at MSU and live on the web! All in all, Mark Applebaum is one of Mississippi’s most talented musicians.
- 1967 Mark Applebaum was born, October 13
- 1985 He graduated from Niles North High School
- 1989 Recorded the CD Your Parents Hate Me
- 1989 He was the recipient of the Larson Award for distinction in the arts
- 1989 He graduated from Carleton College
- 1991 He composed “S-tog”
- 1992 Received his master’s degree from the University of California at San Diego
- 1993 Selected to have “S-tog” played at the Minneapolis Flux-O-Rama
- 1994 Awarded the Jazz Prize of the Society of Southern California Jazz Society
- 1995 Married his wife, Joan Friedman
- 1995 Wrote Aesthetics and Methodology as Observed Through Reactions of Composers to a Musical Control, his doctoral thesis
- 1996 Recorded CD Mousetrap Music
- 1996 Wrote “Triple Concerto”
- 1996 Received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego
- 1996 Served as the Dayton-Hudson Visiting Artist at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
- 1997 Moved to Starkville, Mississippi, to teach at Mississippi State University
- 1997 Recipient of the American Music Center’s Stephen Albert Award as “the most promising young composer.”
- 1997 Participated in Ronald Rodman’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Carleton College
- 1997 He presented “Schizophrenia” at McComas Hall at Mississippi State University
- 1997 Performed “Overture to a Catfish” in Mississippi State University’s Traditional West African Dance Music Concert
- 1997 Ambitus for Symphonic Wind Ensemble–World Premier Performance, Carleton College, May 10
- 1998 Worked on a new piano work for Gloria Cheng and continued teaching music theory, composition, technology, and appreciation at Mississippi State University
- 1999 Mark Applebaum Trio presents jazz concert at MSU and on the web using Quicktime or RealPlayer.
by Julie Hodgson (SHS)
When and where were you born?
October 13, 1967, Chicago, IL. It was a Friday the 13th.
What are your parent’s names?
Robert and Rosalie Applebaum.
Where did you attend high school? What year did you graduate?
Niles North High School in Skokie, IL (a Chicago suburb); 1985
Who is your favorite musician?
Miles Davis. If I can name more than one I’ll add John Cage. Also the Spice Girls. No wait, scratch the Spice Girls.
When did you become first interested in music?
My father played piano and somehow, osmotically, I acquired his love of the piano. So at age 7 I asked if I could take piano lessons. This was just moments away form the age during which I through that anything my father was doing must be “uncool” so I guess I’m lucky that my interest was developed early on.
Playing Bach and Beethoven was satisfying for many years until high school, then I formed a rock band and did things like compose musicals for our theater program. High school transformed my focus from interpreting music to writing music. This was the time of my first compositions.
Even in college—even after becoming a music major—I was uncertain of my career destiny. It was specifically on the evening of November 1, 1987 after arriving back from Leningrad (to Copenhagen, I was living there at the time) that I had a kind of epiphany at a Miles Davis concert. I suddenly recognized who I was (a composer!) and, happily, I have never looked back since.
What kind of student were you in high school?
I was a nerdy kid with cool aspirations. I was a failure at sports so I did debate club and the speech team and the computer club (extraordinarily nerdy in 1982) and student congress and theater…a lot of theater. Being popular was critical to me and I was largely unsuccessful. (Although I found theater to be a clique-group of other cool-failures; there I was a cool king among less cool subjects.) After meeting Joan Friedman in algebra class, things got better. (She is my wife.) There was also the rock band which provided terrific authority and dignity.
Mark Applebaum, Ph.D.
Department of Music Education
- Applebaum biography and others related to live web concert on September 14, 1999 at MSU. http://concert.msstate.edu/bio.html
- News account of jazz concert connecting art and technology at MSU and over web using Quicktime or RealPlayer. http://www.ur.msstate.edu/news/stories/applebaum3.asp
- Applebaum, Mark. Aesthetics and Methodology as Observed through Reactions of Composers to a Musical Control. San Diego, CA: University of California at San Diego Department of Music (Mark Applebaum). 1995.
- Applebaum, Mark. E-mail interview. 25 Apr. 1998.
- Applebaum, Mark. Triple Concerto for Piano, Percussion, and Contrabass with Two Percussionists, Guitar, Harp, and Large Choir. San Diego, California: University of California at San Diego (Mark Applebaum). 1996. 1-5.
- “Applebaum, Mark: Mousetrap Music.” H&B Recordings Direct p. 1.
- Concert Features Applebaum music at Mississippi State University. http://msuinfo.ur.msstate.edu/msu_memo/1998/09-08-98/applebaum.htm
- A Mississippi composer and jazz pianist is being commissioned to write a major piece for the 1998 Piano Spheres, a Los Angeles concert series of 20th century music. http://msuinfo.ur.msstate.edu/msu_memo/1998/02-09-98/spheres.htm
- “Brian Ferneyhough-Composer.” University of California at San Diego Website pag. 1. Online.2 Apr. 1998 Available http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/dept.music/musicdept/ferneyhough.html.
- “Dr. Mark Applebaum.” Mississippi State University Website: College of Music Education n. p. Online. 31 Mar. 1998. Available http://www.msstate.edu/dept/musiced/faculty/applebaum.html.
- Hawkins, Brian. “Musician Wants to ‘Strike a Cord’.” Starkville Daily News 22 Feb. 1998, sec. E-2.
- Holder, Keri. “Out of the Ordinary.” The Reflector, 4-B. Mississippi State University Bulletin for the 1998-1999 School Year. Volume LXXIV #1. Mississippi State, MS: MSU Registrar’s Office, 1998. 429.
- Mark Applebaum has built the better mousetrap — several, in fact, and they’re all musical instruments! This CD offers a sampling of Applebaum’s electro-acoustic sound-sculpture improvisations performed on musical instruments of his own creation, including the mousetrap, mini-mouse, duplex mousphon, and midi-mouse, all mixed up with live electronics. http://www.composersforum.org/noframe/innova/mouse.html
- “MSU Ensemble Will Feature African Music.” The Clarion-Ledger 28 Oct. 1998, p. 1.
- Rodman, Ronald, director “Parents’ Weekend Concert.” Carleton College Web site: Music Department p. 1. Online. Netscape Navigator: Gold. 2 Apr. 1998. Available. http://www.carleton.edu/curricular/MUSC/program3.html.
- “Sonic Circuits V: Sounds Abroad.” Tuned In: TV Listings and Entertainment Guide 9-15 Feb. 1998, p 1.
- E-mail Interview with Mark Applebaum