Mark McKenzie studied composition with renown composers Pierre Boulez, Witold Lutoslawski, and Morten Lauridsen among others. After becoming the first Composition graduate at the University of Wisconsin and earning his Masters and Doctorate in music composition at the University of Southern California, Mark was honored as “The Outstanding USC Doctoral Music Graduate.” He stayed on at USC teaching Music Theory while pursuing film and music. His first opportunities were orchestrations for Academy Award nominated composer Bruce Broughton on the Steven Spielberg / Barry Levinson film ”Young Sherlock Holmes.” That soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy Award and Mark quickly became the behind the scenes “go to” orchestrator for elite Hollywood composers such as Academy Award winning Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Danny Elfman, Randy Edelman, Alan Silvestri, John Powell and others. In addition to film, McKenzie has also worked with pop artists Sir Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. His credits include blockbuster films such as the Academy Award Winning Dances With Wolves, Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, Nightmare Before Christmas, Spiderman 1 & 2, Mr and Mrs Smith, Star Trek VI,VII and IX, The Patriot, A Few Good Men, Ice Age, Sleepless in Seattle and the hit Bungi electronic game Destiny. Legendary Academy Award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith called upon Mark to compose for him when time constraints and health issues required it like the “Prison Uprising” composed for Goldsmith’s score to The Last Castle. Goldsmith repeatedly said, “Mark is my godsend.” Paul McCartney called McKenzie “Brilliant” and director / actor LeVar Burton wrote: “Working with Mark was truly a highlight and one of the best experiences of my career.”
Mark is one of the very few composers who both composes and orchestrates every note himself. His latest original score (Max and Me) is about Polish priest Maxamilian Kolbe who died in the Auschwitz concentration camp starvation bunker. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with concert violinist Joshua Bell, large orchestra, choir and the London boys choir Libera and will be released on the Sony Classical International label.
Variety’s “Eye on the Oscars” wrote: “Mark McKenzie’s commanding orchestral prowess puts him among the foremost symphonists in Hollywood.“ The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and numerous film music periodicals call his music “strikingly original…soul-stirring…majestic…spiritual…deeply profound…filled with unfathomable beauty and power…some of the most beautiful, lyrical, and emotionally resonant music ever written for film.”
Variety writes: “McKenzie is finally grabbing the limelight thanks to an obscure indie Mexican 3D animated spiritual film called The Greatest Miracle (El GRAN MILAGRO).” THE GREATEST MIRACLE won the Hollywood Music in Media Award’s “Best Indie Score of the year.” It was doubly nominated as “Best Score of the Year” and “Best Animated Movie Score of the Year” by the International Film Music Critics Association. THE GREATEST MIRACLE was described by Movie Music UK as “some of the most beautiful lyrical, and emotionally resonant music ever written for film.” While the score did not get nominated for an Academy Award, Mark and the score were featured in Variety’s “Eye on the Oscars.” The Greatest Miracle was repeatedly on critics “Top Ten Scores of the Year” lists.
Mark’s original music has been heard in every corner of the globe. He composed the opening and closing theme music to the longest running and most honored television series in history “The Hallmark Hall of Fame.” His original scores such as THE GREATEST MIRACLE, THE ULTIMATE GIFT, BLIZZARD, SAVING SARAH CAIN, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF GARCIA LORCA, DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE, FRANK AND JESSE, numerous Hallmark Hall of Fame films are all available on compact disc and via digital download and streaming through most major soundtrack outlets. Mark’s original music has been featured repeatedly on the Academy Awards, underscored the Olympics, performed before the Pope, heard at Disney World, California Adventures, Wimbledon and in countless other venues. His choral work “Gloria,” first premiered at the 2000th Crystal Cathedral Hour of Power broadcast has become a perennial Christmas favorite.
Mark McKenzie is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars), A board member on The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL), a member of the American Society of Music arrangers and composers (ASMAC) and belongs to the BMI performing rights organization.