Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1980, Mark Barden’s work as a composer is concerned with physical and perceptual thresholds, encompassing both concert music and live spatial installations. It represents a staging of the failures that occur just before and just beyond the limits of what the body can hear and what it can enact, but where the failure itself is always palpable. The sounds of this music are, by turns, dense, visceral, and febrile; the tangibility of the performer’s loss of precise physical control is mirrored in the listening experience. The listener senses, just barely, a loss of themselves in this moment of shared vulnerability.

Barden studied composition with Lewis Nielson and piano with Monique Duphil at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and composition with Mathias Spahlinger and Jörg Widmann at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik, following an extensive period of private study with Rebecca Saunders in Berlin. He is currently completing a PhD in composition at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating the role of physical experience in the performance and audition of live sound.

He has received commissions from, amongst others, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Recherche and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the Witten Festival for New Chamber Music, the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Darmstadt New Music Courses, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, and Radio France. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation Fellowship, the Stipendienpreis of the Darmstadt New Music Courses, and an Aufenthaltstipendium at the Akademie der Künste Berlin. He won the international composition competition ‘concertare’ in 2010. His music has been performed in Europe, North America, and Israel by Collegium Novum Zürich, Ensemble Nikel, hand werk, ELISION, Ensemble Mosaik, KNM Berlin, Wet Ink, ekmeles, Zafraan Ensemble, the Mivos Quartet, and others. Current projects include new works for Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Mosaik, the No Borders Orchestra, Ensemble Interface, and the 2015 Donaueschingen Festival. He lives and works as a freelance composer in Berlin.