Mark graduated from Cambridge University in 1978 with a degree in English, and after working as an assistant on various opera productions, his association with festivals began in 1983 when he was invited to create the first Henley Festival, which he ran for nine seasons. He became director of Salisbury Festival in 1987, establishing a cycle of annual festivals based on the four elements, and in 1992 he was appointed artistic associate of the European Arts Festival, a national celebration to mark Britain’s presidency of the EC.
Mark’s association with Covent Garden began in 1989 when he was appointed Assistant to the General Director of the Royal Opera House, and in 1993 he became director of the first BOC Covent Garden Festival, a new festival of opera and musical theatre, which under the patronage of Diana Princess of Wales he ran for three seasons. As a consultant he worked on two major opera galas at the Royal Opera House: in 1991 the Mozart Bicentenary Gala, and in 2006 the Mozart 250th Anniversary Gala, both conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. From 2008 to 2018 he was the British representative on the jury of the annual singing competition Concours International de Chant des Châteaux en Médoc.
As a freelance producer, Mark has produced many events including the revived Chelsea Arts Balls at the Royal Albert Hall, and Britain’s largest nativity play, the Wintershall Nativity. As a response to his deep interest in the spiritual and psychological effects of music, Mark founded a new festival, Healing Sounds, an international celebration of the healing powers of music, which took place in Brighton from 1997–2002 and was part of the national Millennium Festival.
In 2013 he established and co-directed the London-wide festival, Wagner 200, which celebrated Wagner’s bi-centenary in association with some of London’s leading arts organisations including the Royal Opera House, Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place, British Library and Barbican Centre, with Philharmonia, BBC Symphony and London Symphony Orchestras.
Mark has been the director of Newbury Spring Festival since 1999 and established the associated Sheepdrove Piano Competition in 2009.