Mark Applebaum is an American pianist, composer, and instrument designer. His activities cover four widely different fields: contemporary acoustic composition, electro-acoustic composition, sound sculpture, and jazz. As a composer, Applebaum has had works commissioned and performed by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and Zeitgeist. The pièce de résistance is the "Janus Cycle" (1992 to 1996, still unrecorded). Other than instrumental music, he also writes for fixed support and The Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering (1999, Innova) remains his most ambitious work in that particular field. As an extension of his electro-acoustic activities, Applebaum also devises percussion instruments he calls "mousetraps" out of junk and hardware. They represent a hybrid of Hugh Davies and Tom Nunn's contraptions and can be heard on Mousetrap Music (1996, Innova). Finally, he is also an active jazz pianist with the Mark Applebaum Trio and the Applebaum Jazz Piano Duo (with his father Robert).
Mark Applebaum was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. His father, a high school teacher, has always kept a sideline as a jazz pianist and the love for the instrument fostered early in the child. Mark took his first lessons at age seven and after the inevitable high school rock bands, he went to Carleton College and to the University of California at San Diego, where he obtained his M.A. and his Ph.D. in music composition (1996). His principal teachers were Brian Ferneyhough, Joji Yuasa, and Rand Steiger. He also studied with Roger Reynolds. Since the completion of his Ph.D., he taught a year at Carleton College before moving to Mississippi State University (1997 to 2000) and Stanford University, where he is an assistant professor.
Applebaum began building instruments in 1990 and this activity was the first to be documented. In 1994, he received the jazz prize of the Southern California Jazz Society. The duo with his father came in the late '90s. Their first CD, The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree, was released in early 2002. ~ François Couture