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Saxophonist and multi-woodwind player Mark Allen has been an active member of the Philadelphia music scene for over a decade. A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Allen was asked to join the faculty upon graduating from University of the Arts with his master’s degree. He currently serves as the head of UArts’ Saxophone/Woodwind department and teaches the history of jazz and music theory.
Allen has had the privilege of studying with Chris Farr, Joel Frahm, Ron Kerber, Ben Schachter and Joe Temperley. Though often seen and heard performing regularly on several woodwind instruments, he specializes in the baritone saxophone, an instrument he has focused on mastering since the first time he heard Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams as a boy. Allen’s unique take on this underappreciated instrument has allowed him to share the stage and/or record with luminaries including Marcus Belgrave, Tony Bennett, Orrin Evans, George Garzone, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Lady Gaga and Dick Oatts, among others.
Allen has taught at the University of the Arts for nine years. His primary goal as an instructor of the saxophone is to teach the sort of versatility required to succeed in the ever-evolving 21st century music industry, while always paying respect to tradition.
In addition to co-leading several ensembles, Allen is an active member of the Philly Pops (bass clarinet/woodwind fifth chair), the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and several other Philadelphia/New York ensembles.
His classical performance credits include performances on piccolo, clarinets and saxophones with the Pennsylvania Ballet orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Orchestra 2001 and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
Allen is also active in the Philadelphia theater scene as a woodwind player, performing on saxophones, flutes and clarinets and regularly playing at Philadelphia’s storied Academy of Music in touring Broadway productions.