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Mark Arnest

Mark Arnest is a composer, pianist, writer, and music theorist living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mark has composed music for the theater since 1988, ranging from incidental music for Shakespeare’s "Pericles" and "A Winter’s Tale" to the 2010 electronic score for Theatreworks’ production of "I Am Nicola Tesla" and cheesy jingles for Springs Ensemble Theatre’s 2012 production of "The Land Southward." In 1997 he collaborated with Murray Ross and Lauren Krohn Arnest to create "All About Love," a musical based on Plato’s "Symposium." In 2006, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum commissioned him to write a short opera about the westward journeys of Zebulon Pike to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Pike’s “discovery” of the mountain in Colorado that today bears his name. That opera, "Pike’s Dream," earned an award from Colorado Springs’ Arts Business Education Consortium.
Instrumental works include "Towards the Garden," which was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Garden of the Gods being given to the city of Colorado Springs, and which received a 2009 Pikes Peak Arts Council award; "In Memoriam S.J.," a theater piece for string quartet premiered by the Da Vinci Quartet; and "Theme and Meditations," premiered by the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs.
Mark’s current project, with his wife Lauren, is "Iron & Gold," a hybrid opera/musical about railroads, robber barons, and labor in the late 19th century.
Several of these works can be heard online at
Mark and Lauren have also written numerous plays, ranging from the brief black comedies "Failing Consumption" and "YourArmy™ to the full-length farce "Maynard Dines In" and the 2012 drama, "Gest."
A historian of 19th Century piano performance practice, Mark has written liner notes for Marston Records' reissues of Leopold Godowsky (v. 2) and Josef Hofmann (v. 7), as well as the essay, "Why Couldn't They Play With Their Hands Together," available online at the University of Maryland library.
Mark is music director at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, and teaches composition and music theory at the Colorado Springs Conservatory. He was the arts writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette from 1993 to 2008, where his work was recognized three times by the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, including the 2002 first-place award for criticism. He also spent one year as communications director for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra. Mark holds B. Mus. in piano performance from the University of Colorado (1980), and studied for a Master’s degree at Hunter College in New York City.