Mark Christopher Brandt was born on February 2, 1961 in San Diego, California. At age 6, Mark's family relocated to Northern Virginia, where he began to develop his musical talent and ability. His first professional club gig was at a piano bar in McClean, Virginia when he was just 16 years old. By the age of 18 Mark was playing jazz, fusion, and pop music for a living.
In 1979, Mark graduated from high school and attended Catholic University as a classical piano performance/traditional composition major, working nights and weekends as a professional keyboardist with a local jazz and pop group. After three years at CU, he entered the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where he completed his formal education studying jazz composition and arranging.
From 1977 to the present moment Mark has continued to compose, perform, record, and teach music of every style while collaborating with musicians, visual artists, dancers, and educators from every genre and every aspect of the music industry.
Mark has operated a successful private instruction studio, built solely on word-of-mouth advertising, for over 20 years. He is the recent recipient of a Virginia Governor's School award for exemplary service and dedication to education, and his students continually achieve high honors and scholarships at both the high school and the collegiate level. Many of Mark's former students have successful careers in the music industry as performers, educators, producers, and engineers. Since 2008, Mark has been a sponsor for the annual Chantilly High School Invitational Jazz Festival. The festival, which for over 30 years has taken place at Chantilly High School in Virginia, is the largest of its kind on the East Coast.
Although Mark's playing displays his own unique approach towards improvisation and composition, a broad range of musical influences from Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, along with countless Rock, R&B, and Fusion artists, pour forth through him at any given time. He is known in the District of Columbia as a creative and empowering force for musicians, young and old alike.
"We are given one life and it goes by quickly," reflects Mark. "I thank God that each new day, I am still doing the same job I was doing when I was 15 years old. I do what I love, and I love what I do. I pray that more people my age, along with those who are just starting out on their path, will find joy in their created being, that their lives will offer value, dignity, and hope, not only for themselves, but for those who find our footprints after we have gone."
To learn more about this eclectic composer and improvising pianist visit any or all of the following locations.
No Explanations Band Website
Eclectic, Folk, Funk, Fusion, Jazz Group
Mark Brandt Trio Website
Mark Christopher Brandt Website
Solo Works, Piano Improvisations and Group Projects