Dr. Mark Wolbers
Mark Wolbers is Professor of Music at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) where he is the Wind and Percussion Studies Division Head, Professor of Clarinet, and Conductor of the University Wind Ensemble. He began his clarinet studies with the late Evelyn Angerman, and later with Fred Ormand and John Mohler. His doctoral degree in Clarinet Performance (1990), and MM Degree in Woodwind Instrument Performance (1985) were earned at the University of Michigan where he was the Associate Conductor of the U of M Youth Band & Wind Ensemble and recipient of both Rackham and School of Music Fellowships. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education, with honor, from Michigan State University in 1981.
As a chamber musician Wolbers has performed with the Fontana Ensemble, Sitka Music Festival, CrossSound, Anchorage Symphony and the DeVere, Southwest and Madison String Quartets. He is a founding member of the UAA faculty trio Alaska Pro Musica (violin, clarinet, and piano). With Alaska Pro Musica, Dr. Wolbers has performed on three acclaimed concert tours to South America, released a CD on the MSR label (2008) titled Stravinsky: l”Histoire du Soldat and commissioned a major addition to the trio repertoire by Seattle composer Ken Benshoof. The trio has also premiered works by Alaska composers Craig Coray, Garth Hangartner, Philip Munger, and George Belden.
Wolbers serves as music director for the UAA Clarinet Ensemble. An ensemble of clarinet music majors at UAA, they annually present 10-20 performances. The ensemble has been the recipient of two UAA Undergraduate Research Grants and has presented concerts in Sitka, Juneau, Homer, Palmer and Anchorage. In spring of 2008, the ensemble had the honor of being coached by Lincoln Center clarinetist David Shifrin. The ensemble is a frequent winner of the annual Symphony of Sounds auditions and concerts, and in 2008 was selected as a winner for UAA Student Showcase.
As an orchestral clarinetist, Mark Wolbers has performed with the San Jose, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Flint, and Plymouth Symphonies. He performed as principal clarinet with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra for the 2008-09 season. An Anchorage Daily News review commented that “the places where the spotlight went to his instrument . . . were so meticulously and soulfully played as to rank among the high points of the evening.” His concerto performances include the West Coast premiere of James Curnow's Concertpiece for Clarinet, Winds and Percussion with the San Jose Wind Ensemble in 1992, C.M. von Weber's Concerto No. 1, Op. 73 with the Anchorage Youth Symphony in 1993, Mozart's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622 in 1997, and the Bruch Concerto for Clarinet and Viola in 2004 with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra. In the fall of 2008, he was the featured soloist in five performances with the UAA Wind Ensemble performing Black Dog by Scott McAllister. Wolbers currently serves as the State of Alaska Chair for the International Clarinet Association.
Dr. Wolbers has served as Conductor of the UAA Wind Ensemble since 1992. Under his leadership the ensemble has grown to become one of the leading wind bands of Alaska. The Wind Ensemble has performed with the Anchorage Concert Chorus in Atwood Hall and has presented international performing artists such as pianist Timothy Smith, clarinetist Bradley Wong, and saxophonist Lynn Klock as soloists. In the Spring of 2001, the Wind Ensemble presented a concert of recent compositions and premieres by composers Stephen Gryc, George Belden, and Philip Munger. The Anchorage Daily News review of that concert stated that the ensemble performed “with great energy and commendable precision.” Wolbers is a frequent conductor, adjudicator and clinician for honor bands and festivals. He is an active member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and is currently the State of Alaska Chair for the National Band Association (NBA).
His service contributions to the University of Alaska Anchorage include authoring and successfully guiding the UAA Department of Music through its first National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accreditation self-study and review in 1995. Wolbers has served as UAA campus Grievance Chair for United Academics. He has chaired and authored two Program Reviews, chaired 5 faculty searches, authored a survey on graduate study in music, and is the chair and originator of the annual Symphony of Sounds collage scholarship concerts that established the first Departmental scholarship fund. Wolbers has been instrumental in the development of the music holdings in the Consortium Library. He successfully requested the position and training of a reference librarian in music, lobbied for a dedicated music listening room, and laid acquisition groundwork that included audio/visual materials, performance scores, journals, books, and musical monuments.
Prior to his current position at UAA, Dr. Wolbers taught at San Jose State University, San Jose City College, and as a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan. He began his teaching career as a public school band director in Stockbridge, Michigan. Active in the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), Wolbers served as MSBOA State Chair of the Youth Arts Festival and as Vice-President of MSBOA Region VIII.
His compositions, recordings and published works include Alaska Pro Music CD Stravinsky: l”Histoire du Soldat (MSR), Arirang Fanfare for brass and percussion, Singing in the Band Rehearsal (Music Educators Journal), the UAA Fight Song, Mozart Duo K. 423 arranged for two clarinets, UAA Alma Mater, Alaska Pro Musica CD Contrasts, and numerous articles for the Alaska Music Educator Journal.