About Mark Lortz

Learn More about Mark:

Mark Lortz

Mark Lortz

Composer, Arranger, Percussionist, Educator

Mark Lortz has earned accolades in every facet of his music career as a composer, arranger, percussionist and educator.

In a review of one of his live performances, The Washington Post declared, “The percussionist, Mark Lortz, raised a splendid clatter.”  Citing his drumming skills, The Oregonian praised Lortz as “the man who really stopped the show.”  He has performed as principal or adjunct timpanist and/or percussionist with such leading ensembles as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Opera, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.  He has also appeared as a guest soloist with the New York Pops Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Cedar Rapids Symphony and others in concert halls throughout the country, including Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.  Versed in all styles of music, he served as associate music director and principal percussionist for the North American tour of “Phantom of the Opera,” and has nearly a dozen recordings to his credit, including four with the Baltimore Symphony under the baton of David Zinman.

Lortz earned a University Fellowship at the Boyer College of Music and Dance of Temple University, where he is pursuing a doctorate of music education. He earned his degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in percussion and timpani performance studying in the studio of renowned timpanist and percussionist, Jonathan Haas, earned a minor in composition and piano and earned double Masters degrees in music composition and music education.  His primary composition teachers were Dr. Christopher Theofanidis, Morris Cotel and Judah Adashi.  He studied commercial arranging with John Wasson and wind conducting with Dr. Harlan Parker.  Additionally, Lortz earned Maryland State Music Education Teacher’s Certification, with an emphasis in conducting and composition, from Peabody, and is skilled in state-of-the art digital music sequencing, musical notation and audio editing computer programs.

The prolific composer and arranger – whose works include pieces for concert band marching band, choir, chamber and symphonic orchestra – describes his music as “driving, intense and passionate.”  In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, he was awarded The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Plus Composition Award. In 2008, his music was performed by the Columbia Orchestra, The Washington All State Band  (Yakima, WA) the Cecil All County High School Band (Cecil County, MD) and The Bel Air Concert Band (Bel Air, MD). His music is published by FJH Music Publications, Northeastern Music Publications, TRN Music Publishers and he has been a J.W. Pepper Editor’s Choice Selected Composer. He was named a 2007 finalist in the prestigious Columbia Orchestra American Composer Competition and won top honors at the 2006 Alabama Orchestra Association National Composition Competition for his original orchestral work, Deus Ex Machina (God and the Machine), based on his personal experience in a near fatal car accident.  The Alabama Orchestra Association premiered the piece in February 2007.

Lortz’s orchestra composition American Overture received its world premiere in February 2007 by the Kislovodsk Symphony Orchestra (Kislovodsk, Russia) conducted by Dr. Brenda Leach.  In addition, Lortz, who, in his youth, gained valuable experience performing with the multi-world champion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, which he later instructed, has arranged dozens of works for the United States Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps and the world champion Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps, among others.  His considerable body of work also includes the transcription for symphonic band of Philip Glass’s Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, jointly commissioned by the Peabody Conservatory of Music, University of Arizona, University of Florida, University of Alabama and Kutztown University.  In April 2007, Lortz was the Executive Producer for the University of Arizona Wind Ensemble’s recording of the piece with noted timpanists Jonathan Hass and Gary Cook.  His original music and arrangements are recorded on Albany Records, Dallas Brass Records, Mark Custom Recordings and Moulin D’Or Recordings. The New York Times described the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble’s Carnegie Hall premiere of this work as, “The playing was equally exacting and enthusiastic in the concert’s opening work of Mark Lortz’s effective arrangement.”

In 2011, Lortz was appointed Director of Bands at Stevenson University where he started the inaugural Stevenson University Marching Band and Music Technology program. He also performs as principal percussionist and timpanist with the university’s orchestra, the Greenspring Valley Orchestra.

In 1996, Lortz was appointed orchestra and band director at Westminster High School in Westminster, Maryland.  He was named one of “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” in 2006 by School Band and Orchestra, a national music industry publication, and was subsequently recognized by the Maryland House of Delegates as the only music teacher from Maryland to win this prestigious honor.  During his tenure, he has developed curriculum for a variety of music programs for the Carroll County Public Schools, which nominated him as a finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2002.

Lortz, in addition to serving as the Festival Coordinator for Carroll County Public Schools, oversaw the high school’s orchestra, concert and marching bands, percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, colorguard and music technology programs.  The bands and orchestra regularly sweep regional and national music festivals and, during his tenure, the school has received awards for its exemplary music programs from both the Music Educators National Conference and the Maryland Music Educators Association.  Among his numerous accomplishments, Lortz led the marching band to unprecedented first place wins in the 2003, 2008 and 2009 Bands of America Regional Championships and the 2002 Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships, and consistent finalist placements in the Bands of America Marching Band Organization, making it the first and only school in Maryland ever to garner top honors at these highly regarded competitions.

A passionate and dedicated teacher, Lortz produces an annual recording, featuring each of the school’s music ensembles.  To expose students to music, he takes them to see the Baltimore Symphony and other ensembles in concert and arranges for leading professional musicians to present special clinics in the classroom.  His considerable accomplishments and personal commitment, coupled with Westminster High School’s selection as a Grammy Signature School national finalist for seven consecutive years (2005-2011), have secured Lortz’s reputation as a renowned educator.

Lortz is an adjunct music professor at McDaniel and Carroll Community Colleges. He frequently adjudicates at music competitions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.  He is also in demand as a clinician, having guest conducted and presented master classes in performance and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Indiana University Purdue-Fort Wayne, Southern Oregon State University, University of Alabama and University of Arizona, among other collegiate institutions.

In 2006, Lortz was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honorary music society, which includes such luminaries as Nadia Boulanger, Elliott Carter and Eugene Ormandy.  Other awards include a Peabody Career Development Grant, a Peabody Institute Merit scholarship and an Ashcraft & Gerel AFL-CIO Union scholarship for graduate and post-graduate studies.  He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Maryland Band Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference and the Maryland Orchestra Director’s Association.

A self-professed Internet and e-mail junkie, Lortz, who lives in Westminster, Maryland, is an avid Simpson’s fan and enjoys boating on the Chesapeake Bay.

Mark Lortz: The Composer & Arranger

Mr. Lortz’s original music and arrangements have been premiered at Carnegie Hall, the prestigious Mid West Band and Orchestra Clinic, Bands of America National Percussion Festival, College Band Directors National Association, universities, music schools, conservatories and high schools throughout the nation.The FJH Music Publisher, Northeastern Music Publisher and TRN Music Publisher publish his music. His compositions have appeared on Band world magazine’s Top 100 list of band compositions, The Instrumentalist magazine has printed favorable reviews of his band music and the sheet music company JW Pepper has selected his music for their prestigious Editor’s Choice list.

Currently, he is the brass arranger for the world champion Drum Corps Associates Drum & Bugle Corps, The Reading Buccaneers, and has arranged marching band music for high schools and colleges throughout the country. Mr. Lortz is a Marching Percussion Specialist and Scholastic Educator for the Vic Firth Percussion Education Program, has been recognized as one of the “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” by School Band & Orchestra magazine and has received composition awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Mark Lortz: The Percussionist

Versed in all styles of music, Mr. Lortz earned degrees from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, majoring in percussion performance, music education and composition. He served as Associate Music Director and Principal Percussionist for the North American tour of “Phantom of the Opera,” and was the Principal Percussionist with The Dallas Brass. He has performed and recorded both as a member and soloist with many of the country’s preeminent orchestras and frequently performs with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Currently, he is a freelance percussionists and drumset player ion the Baltimore Metropolitan area.

Mark Lortz: The Educator & Conductor

Mr. Lortz earned degrees from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, majoring in percussion performance, music education and composition. He is the Director of Bands at Stevenson University (Stevenson, MD). Prior to his appointment Mr. Lortz was the Fine Arts Department Chair and Band and Orchestra director at Westminster high school (Westminster, Maryland) from 1996-2011.

In addition to his Stevenson University appointment, he is an adjunct music education professor at McDaniel and Carroll Community Colleges. Under his leadership, the Westminster high school music department received awards from the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) for exemplary music programs. The Westminster high school marching band won several Bands of America (BOA) Regional Marching Band Championship titles and the music department was selected as a national semi finalist Grammy Signature School.