Interim Director, Center for World Performance Studies
Dr. Mark Kirschenmann (Ph.D. University of Michigan) is a composer, trumpeter, improviser, electronicist and educator residing in Ann Arbor, MI. At U-M, he teaches courses in improvisation, composition, music theory and technology. Mark holds a joint appointment with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (Jazz) and the Residential College (LSA).
For decades, Mark's been electrifying the trumpet with pedals, plugins, and MIDI. His most recent solo recording is Cybersonic Outreach on New Focus Recordings (2021), available on Spotify and Bandcamp, with physical distribution through Naxos. Mark’s pioneering trumpet aesthetic draws from Miles Davis and Jon Hassell, the sound-worlds of guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Pete Cosey, and synthesizer pioneer Morton Subotnick. Mark composes in a variety of contexts-from solo to large ensemble works-which encompass the intersection of composition, improvisation, and technology. As an improviser, he embraces the Black American avant-garde, particularly stemming from Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, and the Chicago AACM. His current creative projects include solo recordings for trumpet fitted with a bamboo mouthpipe, and work with the no-input mixer.
Mark spent a decade on the road playing in funk, soul, R’n’B, jazz, rock, and casino pit bands, along with commercial studio work. He has performed with luminaries such as Nicole Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, William Hooker, Vinnie Golia, Myra Melford, Henry Grimes, Rob Mazurek, Kris Davis, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tony Malaby, and Oliver Lake. Mark is a founding member of the incendiary quartet Maschina, the Miles Davis “electric period” septet Big Fun, the liturgical jazz quartet Quartex, and the ever-adventurous trio E3Q.