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Mark Buchner

Mark Buchner (2015)

Bass, Principal
Website

What are your most important educational and musical moments?
My decision to major in music was the first important educational decision I made. This was a bit of a leap into a somewhat tricky professional environment to navigate, but it was the only thing I really saw myself doing at that point. I did my undergrad close to home at Chapman University in Orange, California. When it was time to graduate, I made a big decision to move out to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University for my Master’s degree, and it was there that I really learned how to play in professional orchestras.

Important musical moments include all my early piano lessons, playing double bass pieces with my mother on piano, playing bass in venues all over the country and Europe, and all the music I’ve made in Michigan since moving here in 2014. 

Tell us about your family.
My wife is also in the orchestra (Jenna Buchner). We are also lucky enough to both work for the Grand Rapids Symphony during the main season, so we get to see each other a lot and our schedules tend to align very well (an important thing to manage with musicians!). The rest of our family currently consists of our dog Norby, my ever-growing disc collection, and whatever beers are currently fermenting in buckets in our front room.

Why did you choose music?
I’ve always been a musician, starting piano lessons at age six. When I was in middle school, my friends wanted to start a rock band, so I started learning the bass guitar. In high school this led to an easy transition to double bass, where I quickly found my passion and even started playing some paid jazz gigs before I graduated. When it was time to go to college, I felt that a music performance major was the only thing that really interested me and luckily my parents were very supportive of that decision.

Why did you choose your instrument?
See question 1 about my early musical moments; I started on piano at age six, transitioned to bass guitar at 14 and then into double bass at age 15. I’ve always enjoyed being the fundamental core to an ensemble and the low frequencies that the bass can reach. Double bass is also very versatile; it is easy to switch between jazz and classical on double bass and the bass guitar lets me play rock and other styles as well.

What else are you currently doing?
I am a full-time section member of the Grand Rapids Symphony, where I have been playing since 2014. I also maintain a small private teaching studio at my house near downtown Grand Rapids. 

Any on-musical interests or hobbies?
My current hobbies include homebrewing (beer), cycling, and playing disc golf. I’ve been cycling since I was a teenager and brewing beer for about 5 years, but disc golf is my “pandemic hobby” that really stuck with me. I enjoy being outdoors and playing sports or games, so disc golf was a great way to get out to the city and state parks for a nice hike while playing a game at the same time.

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