Mark Ferguson is a pianist from Adelaide.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Mark completed a Master of Music in 1999 at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide and in the same year he was a semi-finalist in the National Jazz Awards at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.
As a pianist Mark has worked with a wide variety of artists including US Jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy, New York latin jazz guru Ray Vega, Tito Puente Junior, Colombian star Wilson Saoko, Texan blues veteran Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, Australian singers Jon Stevens, Doug Parkinson, Paulini, Peter Cupples, Beccy Cole and Julie Anthony and he has supported artists such as Nina Simone, Jose Feliciano and Angelique Kidjo.
Mark has worked regularly as pianist and musical director for shows such as The Fabulous Singlettes, Amity Dry’s Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life (touring Australia in performing at the New York Music Theatre Festival), Trace Canini’s Gospel Groove and Andy Seymour’s The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley. He was pianist for Irish Cabaret star Camille O’Sullivan, performing at the Perth Festival, the Auckland Festival, and was musical director for her Sydney Opera House season in 2009. He is musical director for six different corporate shows for Ding! productions. He has also toured extensively with leading latin dance band ensemble Salcedo and children’s entertainer Peter Combe and works regularly and records with jazz singers Libby O’Donovan and Lee McAllistair and cabaret star Johanna Allen.
Mark leads latin/world jazz groups Marmalade Circus, Marmalade Jam and Marmalade Trio. Marmalade Circus performed at Carols by Candlelight in Elder Park in 2012, the Sydney Festival “Jazz In the Domain Concert” 2002, at the Manly and Thredbo Jazz Festivals 2001, the East End Jazz Festival 2005 and 2009, the Glenelg Jazz Festival 1998-2003 and have played to sold-out houses at the Adelaide Festival Fringe since 1999. Marmalade Circus broadcast live on Jim McLeod’s Jazz Track (ABC FM) in 1999 while Marmalade Trio also broadcast live on ABC FM in 2006.
Marmalade Jam has performed over 400 shows across Australia for Musica Viva in Schools including a six-week “Across The Top Tour” in 2004 (from Perth to Brisbane) which was funded by the Australia Council and an intensive tour of Singapore in 2008 performing to over 16, 000 children and young adults. In 1998 his then-group Mark Ferguson Quintet was invited to perform at theAdelaide Festival of Arts as part of the Emerging Artists series.
In 2007 Mark was commissioned to rewrite Handel’s Messiah in a Gospel style for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to feature James Morrison, Paulini and Doug Parkinson. In The Australian Graham Strahle wrote “It is a brilliantly swinging and uplifting take on Handel’s score… Ferguson has come up with an absolute winner” while Rodney Smith in The Advertiser described the work as “a kaleidoscope of strikingly crafted Gospel arrangements from Ferguson’s fertile pen.” He has also been commissioned to write songs, arrangements and song cycles for the SA Primary Schools Festival of Music, The SA Youth Jazz Superband, the Marryatville High School Big Band and the ASO.
Mark has recorded five albums with his own groups, has seven original compositions included in the SA Real Book, and three of his compositions feature in the ABC documentary Dale Chihuly: Masterworks In Glass. In 1998 he received seed funding from the Helpmann Academy to record his Marmalade Trio CD and in 1996 he received a PPCA grant to assist with studies in the US.
Mark has lectured in the Jazz department at the Elder Conservatorium since 1992, teaching subjects such as Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Piano, Jazz History and Latin Ensemble. Mark has also taught Jazz Improvisation at Marryatville High School since 2003.