Mark Irchai, a solo pianist, chamber musician, and conductor from Gainesville, Florida, is the first prize winner of the XIV International Orfeo Music Competition in Sterzing/Vipiteno, Italy. He is currently pursuing a B.M. in Piano Performance under Anna Balakerskaia at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. As a pianist, he has also studied with Read Gainsford and Ruth Lewis. As a conductor, he has studied with Anthony Maiello, Stan Engebretson, Mark Camphouse, Scott Woodard, Dennis Layendecker, and Oleg Proskurnya. Masterclasses have included appearances under George Li, Awadagin Pratt, Leon Schelhase, and Faina Lushtak. Mark was also honored to play for the former rector of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, violinist Mikhail Gantvarg.
He has received numerous awards, not limited to: the Padarewski Gold Medal, the John Phillip Sousa Band Award, and the Alma Fennel Award. In 2015, he won the George Mason University School of Music Concerto competition, and performed in May of the same year Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Mason Symphony Orchestra. Other recent orchestral appearances include a performance with the Piedmont Symphony of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, and a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23.
As a chamber musician, Mark has made numerous appearances with both vocalists and instrumentalists, including Jamie Reimer, Eric Tucker, Janet Hopkins, Jessica Sherer, and Vasilisa Berzhanskaya of the Bolshoi Young Artist Program. He also regularly performs with his father, former principal bassoonist of the Moscow Philharmonic Arnold Irchai, in their “Father and Son” duo, which has included performances of Isaac Mikhnovsky’s Sonata for Bassoon and Piano (1978), originally written for Dr. Irchai. The duo was most recently seen in August of 2016 at The Lyceum in Alexandria, VA, as part of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic’s Chamber Music Series.
As a conductor, Mark has led a diversity of programs, ranging from working as an assistant conductor in multiple church settings to musical productions such as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and led his first musical as a conductor, 13, at the age of 17. He was the assistant conductor for the University Chamber Singers of George Mason University, with whom he has led works in concert including Berlioz’s L’adieu des bergers and Uusberg’s Õhtul, and has prepared them for programs of cantati from Bach’s B minor Mass and other major choral works. He also attended the International Academy of Advanced Conducting after Ilya Musin, where he led performances of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39. Most recently, he led a conducting recital that featured Mark performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, conducted from the piano, as well as J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 1 and Poulenc's Duex Marches et Intermede.
Additionally, Mark has worked as an educator for over 5 years, and currently holds a faculty position at Potomac Arts Academy at GMU teaching piano. For the last two years, he has served as an adjudicator for the Robert Frances & Allen Young Artist Competition at Music & Arts at Providence.
Mark is honored to be a SHADD pianos performing artist.