Before becoming a celebrated composer in his own right, Mark McKenzie built up a reputation as one of the finest orchestrators in Hollywood. Mentored by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman, McKenzie gradually built on his practical experience over the years, eventually emerging as one of the most sensitive voices in film music. Having graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters and Doctorate in Music Composition, McKenzie briefly enjoyed a spell teaching at USC. Yet he was ultimately drawn towards Hollywood itself – and his career path was set. McKenzie’s first credit as orchestrator was Bruce Broughton’s 1985 classic, Young Sherlock Holmes, and his working relationship with the composer was cemented, McKenzie working on the likes of The Boy Who Could Fly (1986), The Presidio (1988) and Narrow Margin (1990).
McKenzie had officially arrived in Hollywood and soon forged partnerships with some of its most noteworthy and celebrated composers. Among his collaborators have been the late John Barry (Dances with Wolves, 1990 et al); Danny Elfman (Spiderman, 2002 et al); Alan Silvestri (Volcano, 1997 et al) and Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek Nemesis; 2002 et al). In fact, McKenzie orchestrated Goldsmith’s last 7 films, even composing additional music for 2001’s The Last Castle when the composer was falling into ill health.
However, it was only a matter of time before McKenzie started composing for himself. The first of his (at present) nineteen scores arrived in 1991, Sons of Darkness: To Die For II. Since then, McKenzie’s career has encompassed critically acclaimed works such as The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1996), the TV movies Durango (1999) and The Lost Child (2000), Blizzard (2003) and his 2011 masterpiece, The Great Miracle, a sweeping, ecclesiastical marvel of a score of the kind they don’t make any more. McKenzie’s sensitivity in handling other people’s works as orchestrator clearly feeds into his own work: he is clearly a composer with a feel for the orchestra, with a feel for themes and melody.
Outside of film, McKenzie’s music has been used during the Olympics and the Academy Awards, and even at Disneyland Paris. Whatever this hugely talented composer’s next project, we anticipate it intensely. Those who wish to find out more are advised to check out McKenzie’s excellent website, where one can hear samples of his work at www.MarkMcKenzie.org.
Mark McKenzie has many credits as orchestrator and here we have listed a selected few, in addition to his films as composer.
With a bit of searching, one can find several of McKenzie’s movie scores (for both cinema and television) on Amazon. Many of these are available as a CD release while others (Blizzard, The Great Miracle) are available as in MP3 download format. And of course, the popular scores to which Mark contributed as orchestrator are easy to come across.