Countertenor, Conductor and Director, Mark Crayton is hailed by critics and audiences for the pure beauty of his voice, his expressive and insightful interpretations, his natural musicality and his crowd-pleasing productions! Winner of the Classical Singer International Vocal Competition Professional Division, Mr. Crayton performs on concert stages and in opera houses throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Crayton created the role of a Minstrel in The Holland Festival's production of Peter Onnes opera/theatre piece Pantagruel et Gargantua. Mr. Crayton was invited by the composer Philip Glass and the Tony Award director Mary Zimmerman to sing in the world premiere performances of Glass' opera Galileo Galilei in Chicago, New York City and London. In addition, Mark was chosen by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb to sing the role of Louis Perch in their musical called The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Also, Mark has covered the role of Armindo in Handel’s Partenope with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other highlights include his debut with the Seattle Opera as Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and his San Diego Opera debut singing Nerone. He has sung with Handelweek in Oak Park, IL in Handel’s Rodelinda in the role of Unulfo. Other highlights from past seasons include his role as Bacchus in Alexandre Goehr’s critically acclaimed Arianna for the Opera Theatre of St Louis, performances as Amore in Monteverdi’sL’Incoronazione di Poppea and as Ericlea in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Music of the Baroque.
Past season’s concert highlights have included performances at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Equally at home on the recital and concert stage, Mr. Crayton has performed on Chicago's Jewel Box and Dame Myra Hess series several times as well as recitals with Ars Musica Chicago, several recitals at Washington, D.C.'s Phillip's Collection, at Weill Hall in New York City, as well as Amstelrande in Amsterdam and Grovesnor Chapel in London. He has appeared with the Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Sarasota Symphony, Fargo Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Choral Society of Durham, the Duke Chapel, and the Orchestra Pro Cantores, Chicago's Music of the Baroque, Chicago Baroque Ensemble, Ensemble Voltaire, La Pettite Bande, the Netherlands Kammerkoor, El Ayre Español, as well as many others. Mark Crayton has developed quite a reputation for his interpretation of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, which he has performed 178 times. This past November, Mark and his recital partner, keyboardist James Janssen, debuted a new lecture recital called An Oratorio Odyssey spotlighting the oratorios of Handel in the living room (Handel-Hendrix House, London, U.K.) where they were rehearsed. More performances followed around the U.S. This coming November they return to the Handel-Hendrix House (London, U.K.) to start another recital tour called Cantante which highlights the chamber cantatas written by Handel in his student days.
Mr. Crayton regularly conducts the CCPA Chorale, Choir, and One Voice (non-major choir) at Roosevelt University as well as the Choir and Orchestra of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL. As a conductor, Mr. Crayton has conducted performances of Wood’s St. Mark Passion, Keiser’s Markus Passion, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Britten’s Missa Brevis in D, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and Stainer’s The Crucifixion, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and C.B. Hawley’s The Christ Child, Sommervell’s The Passion of Christ, and Chilcott’s St. John Passion, and Mozart Requiem among others. He was honored to conduct one of the back-up choruses for the Chicago appearances of the Rolling Stones in 2013.
As a stage director, Mr. Crayton has directed Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, Bernstein’s Candide, Scarlatti’s The Triumph of Honor (for which he adapted a new English singing translation with his partner in that production, Elizabeth Parker) and Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne, Menotti’s The Medium, Offenbach’s RSVP, Britten’s realization of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, Duke’s Captain Lovelock, Barber’s Hand of Bridge, Wilder’s Sunday Excursion, Weill’s He who says yes, Cavalli’s La Calisto, Seymour Barab’s Passion in the Principal’s Office, The Ruined Maid, Not a Spanish Kiss, Everything Must Be Perfect, A Game of Chance, and Little Red Riding Hood. As part of the Tuscia Opera Festival, he directed Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. He also directed the award-winning production of Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard last spring at CCPA. This season he directs Daron Hagen’s Just for the Night, and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone for CCPA’s Opera Theatre.
As a voice teacher, Mr. Crayton has been a full-time faculty member at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts since 2009. He was adjunct faculty at CCPA between 2004 and 2009. He has taught masterclasses at Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, in Viterbo, Italy, Montecatinni Terme, Italy, London, U.K. at The Hap'ning Place, at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, as well as in Milwaukee, Wi, Iowa City, IA, and many venues around Chicago (many for the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing - NATS). Future masterclasses include a return for two days of classes in London in November, a presentation at the Classical Singer Convention in May as well as several area high school masterclasses. Mark is very happy to be asked to adjudicate many important competitions. This year he will adjudicate the Central Region NATS competition, the MNTA National Competition, and the semi-finals at the Classical Singer Competition. He maintains a full and active private voice studio as well.
Many of Mr. Crayton’s students are performing in opera houses, musical theater venues and concert venues around the world including Joseph London, Kelly Britt, Megan Cook, Thomas Aláan, Peter Morgan, Brittany Loewen, Jessica Coe, Gregory Peebles, Karlos Piñero-Mercado, Angela Torres-Kutkuhn, Hillary Esqueda, Jonathan Weyant, Andrea Caruso, Mark Haddad, Matthew Peckham, Omar Mulero, Shay Riopel, Alannah Spencer, Jeremiah Strickler, Bethany Brautigam, Kevin Washburn, Michael Coduto, Sarah Phillips, Stephanie Greene, Thomas Albanese, Jeremy Cairns, Alex Fruin, Anna Parks, Eeming Chua, Emily Rebecca Smith, Ian McGuffin, Grace Canfield, and Michael Bresnahan. He prides himself on helping each singer find their voice without putting them through a “cookie cutter” technique. While there are basics in technique, Mark stresses that we are all different and have differing backgrounds, therefore will feel or experience things differently. This way of teaching has made him a very successful and sought after vocal pedagogue.
Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Butler University and then continued his education at the University of Tennessee Knoxville as a mastoral candidate and completed a certificate at the Akademie voor Oude Muziek Amsterdam (Academy of Ancient Music Amsterdam). He has studied with Nina Bellavin Kor, Sharon Beckendorf Searles, George Bitzas, Judith Haddon, and currently studies with David Jones.
For more information concerning Mr. Crayton's career and current season, please visit www.markcrayton.com.?