Cellist, music teacher, and outdoors-person, Mark Votapek, gained renown for combining his music with the outdoors: In 2013, he completed a 27- performance recital tour from Mexico to Canada, backpacking the entire 2700-mile Pacific Crest Trail from concert to concert. Then in 2015, he performed at the Moab Music Festival’s annual chamber music raft trip down the Colorado River, performing in natural amphitheaters and acoustic spaces through Canyonlands National Park. His musical interests stretch far beyond the standard classical repertoire making him an ideal candidate for New Harmony.
A cello professor for 8 years at University of Arizona, he joined the Hawaii Symphony in 2015. He has been a member of the Maui-based Ebb and Flow Arts contemporary ensemble and Pacific Concert Artists International in Oahu, HI. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, he can be heard performing with the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, Musica Marin, Ensemble San Francisco, and at UCSF. Mark has taught at the University of the Pacific and the Interlochen Arts Center, and continues private teaching and coaching for the San Francisco Academy Orchestra and summer teaching and performances with the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival.
His previous work as Principal Cellist of the Oregon Symphony and as Associate Principal Cello of the Saint Louis Symphony, as well as residencies at varied festivals, joined him with some of the world’s finest musicians and the natural lands that inspire him. No stranger to both the rigors of outdoor activities and the demands of a modern-day chamber musician, he once performed a duo with the renowned violinist Sarah Chang in Aspen, CO, then climbed Mt. Elbert (elev. 14,500 ft.) the following day, immediately followed by performances at the Olympic Music Festival and a climb of Mt. Rainier.
Votapek’s unique story and his concerts have been aired numerous times on NPR stations across the United States, and his performance of Ernest Bloch’s “Schelomo” was featured on Performance Today, hosted by festival friend and supporter, Fred Child. This is Mark’s first season as a teacher and performer for the music festival and school.