Mark John McEncroe


Born in Sydney Australia, Mark John McEncroe commenced music studies in his adulthood. He had a varied interest in many kinds of music, classical and beyond, which led him to working in the music/record business for EMI Records in his 20s and early 30s. For much of that time he was a Label Manager, first with EMI Australia and then with EMI Sweden.


At age 37, McEncroe commenced piano lessons in earnest, studying first with Will Scarlett in Sydney. Later he continued with Valerie Fawcett and then Helen Kennedy, after Will Scarlett’s death. During this time, he developed an interest in composition which eventually became his all-consuming passion and main focus. To this end, in 2003 he began music theory and composition study with Margaret Brandman in Sydney, which continued on and off until 2012.


In 2006, McEncroe began studying orchestration with Mark J Saliba, who orchestrated the piano reduction work for McEncroe’s Symphonic Poem, The Passing. This work was eventually recorded and performed by the Janáček  Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic. Since then, Saliba has worked in collaboration with McEncroe, orchestrating much of McEncroe’s material from his piano works and piano reductions.


To date, McEncroe has recorded and released two piano albums, Reflections & Recollections Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, with with pianist Helen Kennedy, a former teacher. Reflections & Recollections Vol.1 was also recorded in Sydney by Australian pianist John Martin and released on the Wirripang label, where it was titled Reflections.


He has also released his Fanfare Suite for orchestra; two Symphonic Poems: The Passing and A Celebration of The Natural World on the album Affirmations & Aspirations recorded in the Czech Republic with the Janáček Philharmonic, conducted by Anthony Armore.


Over the last few years McEncroe has recorded many works with The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Anthony Armore.


In 2016, McEncroe signed with PARMA Recordings in the United States. In March 2017, PARMA released his album DARK CLOUDS IN LIFE which features his work for piano and orchestra Natalie’s Suite - Three Faces of Addiction, and Symphonic Poem Echoes from A Haunted Past, together with related pieces from his piano volumes.


In August 2017, Navona Records released his SYMPHONIC SUITES NO. 1 AND 2 on a double album. The third movement of the first Symphonic Suite was picked up by Spotify on their Classical Picks list for new releases.


In September 2017, all the pieces from both volumes of REFLECTIONS & RECOLLECTIONS­— MUSICAL IMAGES FOR PIANO were recorded again in Rockport MA in the United States at the Shalin Liu Performance Center with Japanese /American pianist Yoko Hagino. The album was produced by Brad Michel.


This double album, MUSICAL IMAGES FOR PIANO, was released in 2018 by PARMA Recordings on the Navona label. The single Daybreak was picked up on the Spotify Classical Picks list.


Symphonic Suites No. 1 and The Passing have now been performed in the Czech Republic. Symphonic Suites No. 1 and No. 2 were performed in Ruse Bulgaria in October 2016, with the Ruse Philharmonic conducted by Nayden Todorov.


Symphonic Poem - The Passing was performed by the Janáček Philharmonic in January 2016 in Ostrava CZ, and conducted by Anthony Armore. The same orchestra also performed McEncroe’s Symphonic Suite No. 1 in October 2016, conducted by German conductor Heiko Mathias Förster, the current chief conductor for that orchestra.


The Gathering of Forces – A Call to Arms (Symphonic Suite No. 2) was also performed in February 2018 by the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra at a season concert in Zagreb Croatia.


A Double album MY SYMPHONIC POEMS comprising all McEncroe’s current Symphonic Poems to date was released on the Navona label on October 12 2018. There are 10 works in all.


McEncroe is currently working on a ballet project based on the music themes and story told in his Medieval Saga Symphonic Suites No. 1 & 2. The ballet is to be a co-written project from both McEncroe and Mark J Saliba.


The Fanfare Suite and Symphonic Poems The Passing and A Celebration Of The Natural World have been re-orchestrated for a 33-member wind ensemble. The original versions of these works with the Janáček Philharmonic are available on McEncroe’s Wirripang release AFFIRMATIONS & ASPIRATIONS.


McEncroe is currently working on his Symphonic Suites No. 3 & 4 along with a new collection of piano pieces, about 24 in all. All these are to be recorded in 2020-21. All of McEncroe’s compositions to date have been published by Wirripang - home of Australian Composers.


McEncroe would like to thank and acknowledge Margaret Brandman for her input and advice on some of his earlier material.


— Mark John McEncroe




Heiko Mathias Förster


Heiko Mathias Förster (b. 1966) is a German conductor. Most notable for conducting the Munich Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2006, since 2014, he has been the chief conductor of the Ostrava-based Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra.


At the age of 4, Förster had received his first piano lessons and was a student of the Schwerin Conservatory at the age of 6, and in 1976, was the laureate of a national piano competition. Fascinated by the theatre atmosphere, he changed his studies and devoted himself to conducting. Before completing his studies, he was first appointed as a Kapellmeister, and then, at the age of only 23, was principal conductor of the Brandenburg Theatre. In 1993, he was appointed General Music Director of the city of Brandenburg an der Havel. During his nine seasons, he conducted a total of 32 opera and operetta premieres at the Brandenburg Theatre in addition to about 500 concerts. Together with the Brandenburger Symphony, he undertook numerous national and international concert tours, which took him on tour to Japan, South Africa, and the United States.


In 1999, Förster became head conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra until the end of the 2005/2006 season. In addition to his work as chief conductor of the orchestra, he also established himself as an opera conductor with him conducting at the International Music Festival in the Chiemgau. He ended his seven-year work in Munich with a highly praised performance of a series of all Beethoven symphonies at the Prinzregententheater.


His knowledge of the works of Richard Wagner, in particular Der Ring des Nibelungen, helped produce the Vicco von Bülow film The Ring on a Single Night (German: Der Ring an einem Abend) and the production of an orchestral version of The Ring Without Words (German: Der Ring ohne Worte) in 2003.


Other engagements, some of them international, led to him performing with such names as José Cura, Angela Gheorghiu, and Rolando Villazón. During the 2004/2005 season, Förster accompanied the tenor Joseph Calleja in his Munich debut. In the spring of 2007, he conducted the Munich Symphony Orchestra during the first German tour of mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča.


Förster took over the musical direction of the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen (de) as the music director from 2007 to 2014 and also conducted concerts by the orchestra in Zurich, Basel, Munich, and Cologne. He also received praise for his conducting of La Bohème at the Musiktheater im Revier. Some other successful performances include that of Otello, Samson and Delilah, Die tote Stadt, and the German premiere of Merlin.


Förster has recently been and is primarily active in the Czech Republic, collaborating with the Prague Symphony Orchestra since 2009 and conducting the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. With the Prague State Opera, he created productions of Otello in 2009, Don Quichotte in 2010, and Die drei Pintos in 2011.


Förster has been a guest conductor all over the world, including for the Orquestra Sinfonica de Chile, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Halle, the Berliner Symphoniker, the Concerts Colonne, the orchestra of the Liceu in Barcelona, the orchestra of the National Theatre Mannheim, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hanover, the Bavarian State Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, the Macao Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He and the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra have also created CDs for Universal Music, Sony Music, Brilliant Classics, among others.


He is married to soprano singer Heike Maria Förster and has two children.


PHOTO: Cornelia Fischer




Anthony Armore


General manager and director of Blue Danube Musikimpresario, Anthony Armore, has a background as a symphonic and operatic conductor, professor, teacher and entrepreneur. Mr. Armore gained many of his impresario skills during his years as a conductor and music director in the United States, where he led a number of orchestras, including the Portland Chamber Orchestra, and was a founder and artistic director/conductor of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival at Newport. He later sharpened his impresario and business skills working with orchestras and opera companies in Europe (including three years as associate director and staff conductor for Opera Constanta in Romania), always keeping in mind the needs of a conductor in professional situations. Anthony Armore has been the conductor on all of McEncroe’s orchestral recording sessions with the Janacek Philharmonic.



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