Professional Bassoonist & Professor
Over the last 30 years, Mark Ortwein has performed in many different musical projects including professional recordings, musical theater, chamber ensembles, jazz and R&B groups, as well as many orchestral performances, including being a member of the saxophone section for the Cincinnati Pops under Erich Kunzel. He has performed all over the world in many different venues, ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry and MTV. Mark is currently the Assistant Principal Bassoonist and Contrabassoonist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Harlowton, Montana, he grew up in Las Vegas, where his parents and two brothers still currently ive. He attended Loyola University in New Orleans majoring in bassoon and jazz saxophone. After transferring to Boston University, he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Bassoon Performance, graduating Magna Cum Laude. While in Boston, he won the Alan Mark Roberts Performance Competition, and was the top woodwind finalist for the Boston Pops Concerto Competition on bassoon.
After freelancing in New York for a year, Mark played for one season with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and then joined the United States Air Force Band at March Air Force Base in California as a saxophone soloist and woodwind doubler. Four years later, he moved to the Air Force Academy where he was the principal bassoonist with the United States Air Force Band of the Rockies for four years. After that, he moved to Cincinnati to study bassoon at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and complete his Master’s degree.
Mark is a Yamaha Performing Artist on saxophones and bassoon, and is also a D’Addario Woodwinds artist.
A versatile performer, Mark plays all the saxophones, clarinets, flutes, and bassoons. Mark has studied bassoon with William Winstead at CCM, Matt Ruggiero at Boston University, Crawford Best at Loyola University. Mark studied saxophone with Paul McGinley, Garvin Bushell, Craig Yancey, and Jeff Barash. He studied woodwind doubling with John Reilly.
In June 2003, Mark was the featured soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the baton of John Williams, playing the second live performance of Williams’s “Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra.” He is an active studio musician and records regularly for the Hal Leonard and Alfred Publishing Companies, as well as many other projects. He teaches bassoon at the University of Indianapolis and is a founding member of the Icarus Ensemble (jazz quintet); Icarus’s first CD came out the end of 2014: theicarusensemble.com.
He also recently formed a jazz fusion group, the HetWein Futet.
He currently teaches bassoon at the University of Indianapolis, is a founding member of the Icarus Ensemble (jazz quintet), and leads his own Jazz group, the Ortwein JazzTet. He is also currently working on a 3 Albums in which he has commissioned concertos and solo works for Electrified Bassoon and Contrabassoon for 2 of the albums. The 3rd album will be a mix of Jazz, Latin and R&B consisting mostly of originals written by Ortwein.