Mark Dix gives orchestral music in the Valley an edgy twist. The violist for the Phoenix Symphony is the founder and director of The Downtown Chamber Series, which pairs orchestral performers with art gallery settings, for a transfixing aural and visual experience. The 43-year-old Phoenix resident won his Phoenix Symphony position in 1995, and then started Downtown Chamber Series in 2000. The Colorado native is also a talented violinist who teaches violin and viola and moderates the Phoenix Symphony String Ensemble Classroom Concerts.
Catch the next stunning Downtown Chamber Series concert Tuesday, June 10 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. The concert features Ben Sollee, a cellist/singer-songwriter, along with a string quartet and clarinet.
Learn how Dix hopes to contribute to the Valley through his music, and watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, below.
What brought you to Arizona?
Orchestral musicians don’t pick the city we want to live in and then move there, because there are so few jobs. We open the union newspaper, called the International Musician, and in the back are listings of job openings for orchestras. We then fly at our own expense to those cities and take a rigorous audition. If we win, we move.
The year I was auditioning, in ’95, there were openings in Buffalo (N.Y.), Phoenix and another city. I moved here from New York City after going to grad school at the Manhattan School of Music. I also have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Continue reading