Mark Landson is a violinist, violist, composer, and the founder and Director of Open Classical. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he studied with noted professors Bruce Plumb, George Taylor, and James Dunham, violist of the Cleveland Quartet.
Mr. Landson has performed throughout the United States and Europe as a member of various orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Rochester Philharmonic, the New American Chamber Orchestra, and La Orquesta de Granada (the Orchestra of Granada, Spain).
During his four years with La Orquesta de Granada he toured throughout Europe and Morocco, recorded several compact discs, and appeared on television and Spanish national radio in both orchestral and chamber music groups. At this time he was also a member of the Boccherini String Quartet, which toured in Spain and Morroco, playing 15-20 concerts per year and performed in festivals with some of Europe's well-known chamber ensembles. During this time, he began to develop a new type of classical composition melding classical motivic development with rock and pop sensibilities of harmony and pacing, and also was hired to create orchestral arrangements for the Orchestra of Granada.
Upon returning to the United States, Tom Sime of The Dallas Morning News wrote of Mark Landson, “a talented young composer...reminiscient of Stravinsky at his most lyrical”. Soon after, he formed Neo Camerata, a group dedicated to performing his classical chamber music works in a variety of settings, including rock clubs and classical concert halls. The focus for Neo Camerata was to prove that new classical music could be received well in all manner of venues and in front of very diverse audiences.
Neo Camerata performed on programs with both classical orchestras (Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Irving Symphony) in large concert halls (Kennedy Center in Washington, DC) and also small to medium sized rock clubs with rock and pop artists, both of local and international acclaim (Ben Jelen and Rejane Magloire from Technotronic). In 2005, Neo Camerata released recordings of Mark Landson’s chamber music (“Travels”, on New Roads Records/Well-Tempered), and also collaborated with Ms. Magloire on the recording of her hip-hopera “Forbidden Opera”, which was released on EMI.
Neo Camerata performed at the Cannes Film Festival and also in Vienna, Austria with Ms Magloire. As with all rock/pop collaborations the group took part in, these concerts featured Neo Camerata both as support to Ms Magloire’s hip-hop music and also as a featured performer of Landson’s classical chamber music on the same programs.
In 2011, Landson discovered that a doctoral piano student had begun an open mic for classical music at a local coffeeshop/restaurant. He saw great potential in the idea, and when the people running it decided to call it quits soon after, Landson eagerly accepted the challenge of developing the concept into a series of programs which would attempt to create a ground-up community of support for alternative presentations of classical music.
The organization soon after became known as Open Classical, to reflect not only the origins as the classical open mic, but also to showcase the welcoming spirit of opening classical music to a broader spectrum of music lovers.
Now in its third year of existence, Open Classical produces a variety of innovative classical music programming, including costumed variety shows, amplified chamber music concerts and dinner concerts as well as the signature Classical Open Mic, both in Dallas and surounding areas.