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Discover the Maestro Behind the Melodies

Get to Know our Music Director

Maestro Mark Churchill posing against a black backdrop

Maestro Churchill's Conducting Philosophy

I bring to the conductor role a balance of musical knowledge, decades of experience as a performer and teacher, and a fervent belief in the power of orchestral music’s ability to uplift and ennoble our shared human experience.

Maestro Churchill's Bio & Background

Dr. Churchill is widely known as a conductor in New England and abroad. He has been the Music Director and Conductor of Symphony Pro Musica since its founding in 1982, and was Associate Conductor of the Boston Ballet (1990-2012), Resident Conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra (1990-2001), and Conductor of the Thayer Symphony Orchestra (1976-1983) and the Salisbury Lyric Opera and Chamber Orchestra (1986-2005).  Guest conducting engagements include Tokyo’s Komaki Ballet, the National Ballet of Mongolia, and the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra.

Maestro Churchill’s views about music and orchestras are a product of his long educational and performance career as conductor, cellist, and educator. He is Dean Emeritus of New England Conservatory’s Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education (now Expanded Education), which he led for 31 years. During his tenure, the Preparatory School became known as one of the best of its kind in the nation, emphasizing serious, professional training for the pre-college student. He established the School of Continuing Education and department of Community Collaborations in addition to numerous community-based programs and local, national, and international partnerships, most notably NEC at Walnut Hill, the Orchestra of the Americas, El Sistema USA, and the Abreu Fellows Program.

As a cellist, Maestro Churchill has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber music player throughout the United States and on tours of South America and Asia. He has performed as soloist with the NEC Symphony and Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartt Symphony Orchestra, Thayer Conservatory Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica and Merrimack Symphony among others.  He has also appeared in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with the Trio Pro Musica and on tours of New England and Brazil with the Trio Pan Americano.  In 2016 he was given the Cellist of the Year award by the Boston Cello Society and Harvard’s Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award in 2005.

Currently on the cello faculty of the NEC Preparatory School, Maestro Churchill has taught in a number of summer programs including the Heifetz Institute, Musicorda, Cremona International Music Festival, Foulger Institute and Greenwood Music Camp.

Maestro Churchill is the founder of El Sistema USA and the Abreu Fellows Program at NEC.  He also founded the Orchestra of the Americas and was a founding board member of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, Project STEP, and the Berkshire Institute of Theology and the Arts.  Throughout his career he has been an active advocate for the improvement and expansion of music education programs in American schools.

He was married to violinist/educator, Principal Second Violin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and NEC faculty member, the late Marylou Speaker Churchill. Their twin daughters, Emma and Julia were students of the NEC Preparatory School for 14 years before pursuing professional music studies in college and graduate school.

B.M., M.M., NEC; D.M.A., Hartt School of Music. Studies with Herbert Blomstedt and Charles Bruck (conducting); Rudolf Kolisch (chamber music); and Raya Garbousova, Laurence Lesser,  David Soyer and Benjamin Zander (cello).