Mark Barden, born 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, composes concert music and sound installations with and without live performers.
Barden’s work understands sound as a fundamentally physical phenomenon. By emphasizing the violence of sound-making—with all its gripping, striking, and scraping—he invites the audience not just to listen, but to feel their own bodies listening and engaging with sound and, vicariously, with the musicians‘ bodies as their muscles and breath vibrate the air. Recent works marry virtuosic execution with noise-based sonic material, striving for an inward-turned complexity that, like microscopic views of cells or atoms, is both life-affirming and dizzying in detail.
Mark Barden has received numerous international awards including a Composers’ Prize from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, 1st Prize in Konzerthaus Berlin’s multidisciplinary “Interactive Composition” competition, a GEMA German Music Author’s Prize, a Scholarship Prize to the Darmstadt Summer Music Courses, the 2016 Composition Commission from the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, and artist residencies from the Berlin Academy of the Arts, the German Studies Center in Venice, and Künstlerhof Schreyahn. His works are performed frequently at leading European contemporary music festivals (Donaueschingen, Darmstadt, Witten, Wien Modern, Éclat, Acht Brücken, Ultraschall, Royaumont, Présences et al.) by musicians such as Klangforum Wien, ensemble intercontemporain, Nic Hodges, Ensemblekollektiv, ensemble recherche, the Mivos Quartet, KNM Berlin, ELISION, Ensemble Mosaik, and others. His first portrait CD was released by Col Legno in 2016 and a second portrait album appeared on Wergo in 2020. Mark Barden’s works are published by Edition Peters. He lives in Berlin & Detmold.