ABOUT

Mark Damisch is an American concert pianist who began studying organ at the Evanston Conservatory of Music at the age of four. He performed his first piano concert at seven. As a teen in 1974, he toured Europe both as a pianist and also in a vocal group alongside the Vienna Boys Choir.  In Salzburg’s Mirabel Gardens, he first considered the idea of touring on his own.

MarkPianoCathedral_0004The following year, Mr. Damisch arranged, promoted and performed concerts in Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the Soviet Union in furtherance of goodwill and international relations.  In 1976, he performed in Moscow and Leningrad, and in 1977, he performed a 7-week tour around the world.  In 1980-81, while attending law school, Mr. Damisch played fundraising concerts to raise money for students wishing to work in Chicago legal aid clinics.

After a 19-year hiatus, Mr. Damisch returned to the concert stage in the summer of 2000, continuing his mission of performing for charitable causes worldwide.  To date, he has raised over $1 million for local and national organizations.

Mark Damisch’s piano concerts have taken him to more than 40 countries, including Japan, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt, the Netherlands, Africa, China, the Greek Islands, Iceland, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, India and more.  He has performed in the Shuvalov Palace, raising funds for local orphanages; in Klin, at Tchaikovsky’s House; in Iskra, at the New Jerusalem Monastery; in Warsaw in the Museum of Jan Paderewski; and in Kyiv, Ukraine, at the National Philharmonic Hall to raise funds for local orphanages and in the Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, the “White House” of Russia

He has performed at the Houses of Friendship in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad, Soviet Union; in Hiroshima, Japan, sponsored by Mayors for Peace, an organization devoted to the elimination of nuclear weapons; in Shenyang, China, where over $150,000 was raised for the Red Cross in a concert broadcast live to a city of 8 million people.  He has appeared on Swiss National Radio and Voice of America.

Mr. Damisch’s concert tour for peace in the Middle East included concerts sponsored by the United States Embassy, Egypt; the Ein Gedi Kibbutz; and the Ticho House, Jerusalem.  Throughout his many tours each year, he has performed numerous times in coordination with U.S. Embassies and the U.S.O.

Mr. Damisch, who also appears in numerous domestic performances every  year, has been joined on tour by his daughters Kristina, Katherine and Alexandra, who sing and play the piano.

Mr. Damisch makes his career in Chicago as a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney, and is a former criminal prosecutor with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.  He holds an undergraduate, a master’s degree in business administration, and a law degree from Northwestern University.  He is also a Certified Public Accountant.  An active community member, Mark Damisch was elected to three consecutive terms as President of Northbrook, Illinois, where he makes his home with wife Patty and their three daughters.

2017 Tour Repertoire

April, 2017

Mark Damisch has unveiled his 2017 concert tour repertoire as follows:

 

 

BARTOK: SIX ROMANIAN DANCES (1915)

This is a suite of six short pieces.. It is based on Romanian tunes from Transylvania, originally played on fiddle or shepherd’s flute recorded by Bartok and taken back to his studio.

I. Bot tánc / Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance) First heard when Bartok heard two
Gypsy violinists playing it
II. Brâul (Sash Dance)
III. Topogó / Pe loc (In One Spot) Middle Eastern sounding
IV. Bucsumí tánc / Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum)
V. Román polka / Poarga Româneasca (Romanian Polka)
VI. Aprózó / Marutel (Fast Dance)

DOHNANYI: RHAPSODY IN C MAJOR, OPUS 11, No. 3 (1910)

Dohnanyi’s rhapsodies are demanding both technically and emotionally, expecting pianists to show drastic changes in emotion, changing between moods as the music requires.

BARTOK: TWO ROMANIAN DANCES, OPUS 8A and 8B (1910)

The first dance is rhapsodic. It has a recurrent main theme and provides the foundations of the work. The middle section has a simple melody, fades away, and, after a long and increasingly frenzied crescendo, the main theme returns in triumphant fortissimo octaves.

The second dance begins with a brief introductory passage, which sets the mood of the piece — a strange mix of humour and severity. The main theme is based loosely on a Romanian jeering song. After a violent transition, the the main theme returns, yet more frantic; after another brief interlude, it returns again, with “more motion and feverishly”.

The remainder of the piece is a mishmash of cheerful motifs, contrasting from amusing to disconcerting.

DEBUSSY: CLAIR DE LUNE (1890)

Originally named “Prominade Sentimentale” this piece is Impressionistic in nature. It is part of a larger piece named Suite Bergamasque. It comes from
a poem. (“Moonlight”)

COPLAND: APPALACHIAN SPRING (1944)

A composition by Aaron Copland that premiered at the Library of Congress and has achieved widespread popularity.

Near the end is the famousShaker theme. The theme was taken from a collection of Shaker melodies and published under the title “It is a Gift to Be Simple.”

COPLAND: EL SALON MEXICO (1936)

This one movement piece uses Mexican Folk music extensively. The work is a musical depiction of an imaginary dance hall in Mexico City. The subtitle was “A Popular Type Dance Hall in Mexico City.”

Spotlight on Damisch Daughters

“These tours have been truly life-transforming experiences.  They have forever altered the way I look at the world.”
Alexandra Damisch

If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — no wonder Northbrook’s three Damisch daughters stay close to the piano bench.

Their father, concert pianist and former Northbrook village president Mark Damisch, began playing the organ when he was 4 at the Evanston Conservatory of Music, switching to piano at age 7.

“When I look at this summer’s tour, I don’t know how many more we will be able to do as a family,” Mark Damisch lamented.  I’m trying to hang on tightly to every rehearsal — every memory.”

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Tour Dates

06 Jul 2017 Washington D.C., USA Russian Cultural Center Russian Cultural Center
07 Jul 2017 Washington, D.C., USA Austrian Embassy Austrian Embassy
09 Jul 2017 Lisbon, POR Centro Cultural de Cascais Centro Cultural de Cascais
10 Jul 2017 Lisbon, POR Centro Cultural de Cascais Centro Cultural de Cascais
10 Jul 2017 Madrid, SP The American Space The American Space

 

More Tour Dates

Philanthropy

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“All I want to do is leave the world a little better than I found it.”
Mark Damisch

2015 will be an historic 40th year of piano performance for Mark Damisch…a year of looking back on the abundance of memories of people and places across the globe where his family and their music have been welcomed so warmly.  So too the year brings fresh and exciting new experiences and venues…one-of-a-kind places like the stunning Konstantinov Palace, home of Vladimir Putin, and many other venues, each special in its own way.

One thing will not change, and that is that the Damisches will continue to donate all benefits from both domestic and international performances to local charitable causes.  Through their music, Mark and his daughters Alexandra and Katherine have, to date, raised over $1 million for non-profit organizations worldwide.  In partnership with these groups, the family – which sponsors its own travel and does not accept performance fees – will honor its tradition of performing to audiences comprised of the charity’s constituents, with all ticket proceeds going to the charity.

To discuss an opportunity to host a concert that benefits a non-profit organization in your region, please contact us using the form provided.

A partial list of charitable recipients:

American Cancer Society

Care Austria, Vienna

Cedarhurst Center for the Performing Arts, Mt. Vernon, IL

Chicago-Amman Sister Cities Program

Chicago-Osaka Sister Cities Program

Chicago-Petach Tikva Sister Cities Program

Chicago-Warsaw Sister Cities Program

Childline, CLIC – Juvenile Leukemia

Chinese People’s Association for Friendship, Shanhai/Beijing

Chinese Red Cross

Christoffel Blindenmission, Austria

Council for Jewish Elderly

Ein Gedi Kibbutz, Jerusalem

Fairygodmother Foundation

Garden of Hope / Human Trafficking, Taipei City, Taiwan

Goldman Philanthropic Partnerships, Chicago

Habitat for Humanity, Lake County, IL

Hanbit School for the Blind

Hands of Peace

Hermitage Theater Benefit for Young Boy’s Urgent Medical Needs

Homeless Shelters, Copenhagen, Denmark

Hook Norton Cathedral, Windsor, UK

Illinois State Bar Association

International Centre for the Delhi Music Society

Island of Paros, Greece, Parthenon Marbles Initiative

Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami Victims, Osaka, Japan

Jewish United Fund

Lemon Creek Correctional Facility Prison Ministry

Local Orphanages, St. Petersburg, Russia

Mayors for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan

National Academy of Music, Hanoi

National Music Conservatory, Egypt

Northern Light Church Replacement Project

Parkinson’s Disease Society, London, UK

Peace in the Middle East: Israel, Egypt, Jordan

Sharing and Happiness Hospital, Busan, South Korea

Siem Reap, Cambodia, Educational System

Social Concerns Committee, Paris

South Africa Hospital Benefit

Special Olympics Korea

St. Petersburg International Society for Cooperation

Sue Ryder Foundation, Czech Republic

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk for the Cure

Ticho House, Jerusalem

U.S. Consulate, Russia

U.S.O., Troops in Iraq

YWCA Week Without Violence

 

Press

Chicago Tribune, “Northbrook Pianist Mark Damisch to Kick Off International Tour”   Read more

The Washington Post:  “Chicago Lawyer’s Second Act”  Read more

Chicago SunTimes, “His Next Campaign:  Village President Plans Tour As Concert Pianist”  Read more

Chicago Tribune, “Northbrook Leader Juggles Varied Roles”  Read more

Northwestern University Alumni Life:  “Mark Damisch: Peaceful Pianist”    Read more

Northbrook Arts Commission, “Spotlight on Mark W. Damisch”   Read more

Chicago Trib Local, “Damisch Family Takes Music Overseas”   Read more

AARP The Magazine, “A Pianist Who Plays for Charity”  Read more

Chicago Tribune, “Suburban Leader Finds Ways to Mix Politics, Piano”  Read more

The Phenom Penh Post, “Peace Pianist to Play in Sofitel”  Read more

Russian Cultural Center, “The Concert of Russian and American Concert Music”  Read more 

Thanhnien News, “American Father-Daughter Combo to Give Piano Recital in Hanoi”     Read more

Embassy of the United States, “Peaceful Pianist Mark Damisch and his two daughters visited Mongolia as part of his 2012 Asia Tour”  Read more

Forest & Bluff Magazine, “An Afternoon of American Classical Music”  Read more

Pravda Ru, “Pianist and Northbrook Village President Mark W. Damisch Announces Plans for Eastern European Concert Tour and Chicago Theater Concert”   Read more

Voice of America.com, “Chicago Musician Travels to Mideast, Plays in Israel, West Bank”  Read more

Daily News Egypt, “An American Pianist in Egypt”  Read more

Contact Mark