The Inside Voice

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mark Hayes

October 7, 2015

Known to be one of the most versatile composers and arrangers of our time, Mark Hayes is popular with both worship and secular choirs. He bridges the gap between style and content, making his music accessible to anyone who loves to sing. No doubt, his ability to write songs that appeal to the identities of many different choirs is what has made him one of the most widely performed contemporary composers.

Hayes started young, stepping into a career as an arranger soon after he graduated. Though he never thought of himself as a composer early on, he soon found he had a knack for creating new pieces. Te Deum, Hayes’ first major work, was commissioned by a friend for the Wayland Baptist College Choir. He would conduct this piece himself not long after the Wayland Baptist College performance, during his first appearance at Carnegie Hall.

While Hayes is widely loved for his compositions for full choir, he has also written beautiful pieces meant to showcase the solo voice. Songs of Celebration and Joy, for example, is one of his most popular collections and an exuberant ode to the solo voice. Lately, he has continued to explore the unbridled potential of solo performance. His latest addition to his best-selling vocal solo collections is 10 Inspirational Songs for Solo Voice. It brings together ten of the most beloved inspirational songs in one collection arranged by Hayes.

But in true Mark Hayes fashion, he identified another need and created music to fulfill it. As a frequent composer and performer of music used in worship services, Hayes recognized the occasional need for shorter pieces. Not all services are the same, but most need music to complete them. With this in mind, he has created Mark Hayes Miniatures for piano. This collection includes a number of hymns arranged for shorter playing time as well as five original pieces of his own. Each piece in the collection is between one and a half and two and a half minutes. They are ideal for smaller churches and include pieces for liturgies all year round.

Perhaps his most ambitious recent work, however, is Requiem. This six-movement work was originally written to be premiered at a concert at Lincoln Center. Later, however, Hayes was given the opportunity to perform Requiem at the historic St. Ignatius Basilica in Rome. Music lovers all over the world have been graced with hearing this lovely piece, and it has been received by the music community with open arms, but it holds a special place in Hayes’ heart for a very touching reason.

Hayes’ parents were an important influence in his life and, while neither were professional musicians, the family filled their home with music. To honor his parents, Hayes has dedicated his Requiem to their memory. This final proclamation of his love for his parents is a beautiful sentiment that will undoubtedly move the hearts of many.

Such is the power of Mark Hayes’ music. He has, for many years and hopefully many more, enriched the lives of all those touched by his music. What will come next for Mark Hayes, only he can guess – but the music world is certainly richer for his contributions.

Watch the full playlist of videos on J.W. Pepper’s YouTube channel and see more works by Mark Hayes here.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Joan Gast October 8, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Love this series! Would like to hear from Alice Parker, Ruth Elaine Schram, Linda Spevacek, Morten Lauridsen.
    Thank you!

    • Reply Jen Tolnay October 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Those are all great ideas, Joan – definitely on our wish list. Thank you!

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