19-Year Old Gilbert, AZ Native Joins Arizona Opera Orchestra; Youngest Member of Orchestra in Company History

Double Bassist Michael Marks wins Principal Bass chair for Arizona Opera to Become Youngest Member of the Orchestra in Company History

[Phoenix, Arizona] (June 20, 2013) –Michael Marks just graduated from Highland High School in Gilbert in 2012, but he’s already making his mark in the professional world of classical music. Marks was chosen to join Arizona Opera’s Orchestra during the blind auditions held in April. “The vote from our esteemed panel of seven orchestral musicians and three administrators was unanimous,” says Ryan Taylor, Interim General Director of Arizona Opera. “Michael offered an extremely nuanced, beautiful performance that stood out in quite a competitive field of his colleagues.”

Bill Bitter, Gilbert High School Orchestra Director says, “As his previous teachers, both Amy Bennett and I are very proud of Michael. He’s helped to establish a culture of strong bass players at Highland High School. I’m not surprised he won the spot— he’s off to a terrific start to his career. During his time at Highland he was one of the strongest contributors to the program. He’s one of the best kids I’ve had the pleasure to teach.”

Mr. Marks is an alumnus of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, where he played for two years under Keitaro Harada, Arizona Opera’s current Assistant Conductor. As a member of the American Festival Orchestra, he toured 11 different Chinese cities as part of a New Year celebratory music festival in 2011. Marks is currently a member of the Colburn Orchestra and the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles, where he is in his second year of undergraduate studies.

Marks has already had the opportunity to work with many respected musicians such as Gustavo Dudamel, Placido Domingo, Ludovic Morlot, Edgar Meyer, Yehuda Gilad, Dietrich Paredes, Giancarlo Guerrero, and the Canadian Fiddle Group.

Info: Call 520.293.4336 to purchase tickets. Tickets are only available to full and mini-subscribers at this time and will be offered to the general public later in the summer if space permits. Subscribers can purchase additional tickets for friends, family members, and colleagues at their discounted rate before single tickets go on sale later this year. New subscribers can begin the purchase process a  # # #



Kate Crowley | Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Christine Slomski | Marketing Manager