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Mark Davenport: Bio

Mark Davenport was born in New York City to musical parents. He spent most of his early childhood growing up in an experimental artist's community in Rockland County, New York, living among painters, potters, dancers, avante garde film makers, performers and composers (John Cage among them). His extensive musical training began at age three, studying recorder with his father, LaNoue Davenport, a prominent name in the Early Music field. He has been performing professionally on renaissance and baroque woodwinds since first touring with the internationally acclaimed New York Pro Music in the late 1970s, including sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.


At age eight Mark began studies on the cello, working for seven years under the tutelage of the renowned cellist Laurence Lessor, and later with Judith Davidoff. He began lessons in both jazz and classical piano at age 15. Mark attended Sarah Lawrence College, on a cello scholarship, where he also studied composition with David Maslanka and Meyer Kupferman before taking a “leave of absence” to go on tour as a keyboardist and vocalist with the Saturday Night Band. The group toured the U.S. for nine months in the late 70s, appearing at such venues as the historic Apollo Theater in New York City.


At the piano, Mark discovered his passion for both singing and songwriting, a creative path that spanned more than two decades. During this time Mark penned over 300 songs, composed music for television (WTBS), and was musical director for an off-Broadway Theater company in New York.


In 1992 Davenport took a hiatus from songwriting to raise a family and pursue a Ph.D., in musicology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His scholarly interests are in early music and American music. He is currently Professor and Director of Music at Regis University, in Denver, Colorado, where he teaches Music History and directs the early music ensemble (the Collegium Musicum).


In 2008, Mark returned to the recording studio and began work on "Full Circle: Songs on the Carousel of Time," released in the summer of 2009. The album is a retrospective of songs drawn from his imaginative catalogue. The variety of songs represents a cross section of popular styles, reworked and organized into a song cycle; Centered on his vocal and keyboard work the album also features noted jazz saxophonist Andy Snitzer and Davenport's son Miles Davenport on guitar. Mark's followup single, "I Love You More," was released in November, 2010.


Mark's most recent release "Joyful Sighs & Soulful Hymns" offers 11 new original songs presented in a song cycle and based on 16th-century renaissance hymns with lyrics that express the major themes of the Renaissance: love, death, rebirth, and devotion. The goal with this newest project was to fuse his multiple musical interests, combining contemporary art/popular songs and instrumentation with renaissance forms (motets and madrigals) and period instruments (recorders and viola da gambas).


The album features five single releases: "If I Were A Prince," with music based on a motet by Alonso Lobo (1555-1617); "The Sum of All Delight," with words based on an anonymous 17th-century poet; "Second Chance," with music based on a verse-anthem by William Byrd (1543-1623); "You Are A Rose," with lyrics based on a sonnet by Robert Herrick (1591-1674); and "When the Heart is Broken," based on a 16th-century madrigal by Jacques Arcadelt (c. 1504-c. 1567)


In 2015 Mark once again stepped away from songwriting and recording to concentrate more fully on his extensive history project - the largely untold story of the Gate Hill Cooperative, an intentional community founded in 1954 by some of the most influential creative figures in the mid-twentieth century avant-garde and where he grew up.