Opera Theater Dept.
Mark Janas began his piano studies at age of three, composed a sonatina at 5, and by high school was conducting the Hammond Area Youth Orchestra. At Indiana University he studied with pianist Karen Shaw, composer Bernhard Heiden, and conductors Jan Harrington and Tibor Kozma, among others. While a senior at Indiana, he was chosen by Leonard Bernstein to conduct at Bernstein festivals in Israel and Austria. He was twice Bernstein’s assistant, for concerts with the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony orchestras. After receiving a bachelor of music degree from Indiana University and a brief stint as associate conductor of Texas Opera Theatre, he acquired a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at Rice University, while simultaneously founding and conducting a professional group, Orchestra Texas.
In 1982, he was a conducting fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, studying with Bernstein, Tilson Thomas, Hogwood, and Blomstedt. In 1984, he jumped the fence to musical theater, composing a score for an historical drama The Lone Star, later recorded in London with members of the LSO, and later conducted the Houston Symphony in a performance of a Suite from the work. Janas music directed the world’s largest production of Hello, Dolly!, creating all-new arrangements for its star, Marilyn Maye. He performed all over the United States as associate conductor for two national tours of Les Misérables, as well as music directing for the Yale Repertory Theatre, Hippodrome State Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and New Dramatists, to name a few. He music directed the Chautauqua Opera Cabarets in 1998 and more recently has performed and released a CD with 2001 Best Debut BackStage Bistro and MAC award winner Julie Reyburn. Performances with Maree Johnson took him to Australia, and last summer two New York readings of his original musical, PoeSCrypt, were very well received; a recording of the work is currently in process. Mr. Janas won the 2002 BackStage Bistro Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction, and, having taught before at Yale, Barnard, Concordia, and NYU, as well as his Acting The Song class with colleague Andy Gale.