Instrument: Principal Timpani
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Member of the Saint Joseph Symphony: 35 years
*Mark is retiring this year from the Saint Joseph Symphony. Thank you, Mark, for your many years of music with us!*
Mark Lowry enjoys the variety of life as a percussionist. As an orchestral musician, he performed for over 30 years with the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He is also timpanist with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and Spire Ensemble, specializing in music of the Baroque and early Classical periods. In the theater, he has performed with the national touring companies of Wicked, The Producers, Motown, Little Shop of Horrors, Spamalot, A Chorus Line, Young Frankenstein, West Side Story, and several others. He has also performed numerous stage shows with show business legends such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennet, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynonna Judd, The Moody Blues, etc. As a teaching artist, his trio Tri-Percussion performs educational concerts throughout the Kansas City region and was awarded the 2009 Lighton Prize for Excellence as Teaching Artists. Mr. Lowry holds the Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a founding member of the group newEar.
Q&A with Mark Lowry
What music have you especially enjoyed performing over the years?
Well, music that really puts timpani in the spotlight! Beethoven, Brahms, & Mahler symphonies, big timpani parts like Fanfare for the Common Man and Carmina Burana, and (what a coincidence for this program) The Planets.
How did you get started playing music?
Somehow, I always wanted to play drums (there are pictures of me as a toddler banging on paint cans!) and took my first drum lesson on my 13th birthday.
What do you like best about playing timpani?
It’s hard to describe, but I love how the timpani can show great delicacy and great power. The timpani often provide some of the most memorable moments in a great piece of music.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Traveling somewhere in Europe with my wife.
How do you think we should keep symphony music alive for new generations?
When you participate in something it becomes part of your life, so give people a chance to participate in music, not just observe it or hear it. By all means stop cutting arts and music out of our educational curricula. At best the arts can teach complex thinking in a world where simplistic answers and slogans too often fail us.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am an accredited sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and yes, I can pair a wine with dark chocolate! (Skip the Cabernet Sauvignon, go for a ruby port or, better, a late-bottled vintage [LBV] port). And then invite me over!