Basel Sinfonietta’s first plan for Mark’s concerts with them on 22nd, 23rd and 24th January 1988 (Freibourg, Basel and Zürich) were programmes of music for rock band (Fusion, Transfusion) and symphony orchestra. This had to be abandoned due to the band’s double bookings. The idea of a Hoffnung concert had been with them for some time. On contacting Tom Bergmann (manager of ‘Allmusic’) and Annetta Hoffnung (Artistic Director) the suggested concert dates and schedule were fine. These were the first of many concerts which Mark still continues to conduct. The tickets for the Swiss performances sold out very fast. In Zürich Tom Bergmann asked if we could repeat the performance straight away afterwards as 500 people were still waiting outside, hoping to see the sold-out concert. Sadly it wasn’t possible. Tom and Annetta considered it essential that Mark conducted at least some pieces in their sold-out ‘Hoffnung Festival of Music’ at the RFH London a few weeks later (11th and 12th February) with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Almost the entire Hoffnung repertoire was played and recorded (still available on Decca). The cast list of over 30 VIP soloists ranged from politicians, presenters, singers, comedians etc and was full of outrageous surprises. The complete double CD was issued by Decca in 1989. Mark was included as one of the five conductors. Many more concerts then followed and still continue:- 2nd October 1990 a charity concert at the Barbican was attended by Diana, Princess of Wales. Mark’s conversation with her at the after-concert reception was more than memorable! (Manager Tom Bergmann died in 1992 and his position was then taken over by Robin Ashby.)
Further performances were:
1994 MDR (both at the Gewandhaus, Leipzig and the Schauspielhaus, Berlin, 14th & 15th February),
1995 Stuttgart Fasching concert 28th Feb with Stuttgart RSO with live TV broadcast produced by Claus Viller. In 1995 a tour of six performances had been planned for Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in November, but because of a major earthquake this had to be reduced to only one in Tokyo at the Bunkumara Concert Hall (Shinju-Ku), the same hall where Mark was to conduct again in 2005.
1996, 6th Feb Jena Philharmoniker, 1997 10th September Frankfurt RSO
1997, 11th to 13th September Limburgs Symphony Orchestra, Maastricht (den ‘Bosch, Maastricht and Eindhoven),
1999 15th January Munich, Prinzregententheater, Munich RSO (Sally Langford,Director of KOG, joined the Hoffnung team starting with this concert), 2nd and 3rd September Gasteig Munich 2 Tupperware ladies’ concerts with Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (prepared in Ludwigshafen).
2000 22nd February, Ludwighafen, Theater im Pfalzbau, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, 5th March Gasteig Munich RSO, ‘Let’s Fake an Opera’ etc with KOG chorus and soloists (rehearsed and produced with Sally Langford, including a try-out performance in England), 31st December Strasbourg Philharmonic Saint Sylvestre Concert
2003 1st April, Orchestra National Bordeaux Aquitane, Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, 29th June Staaatsorchester Kassel, 31st December Theatre Verdi, Trieste
2004, 31st December Lausanne Opera House, Lausanne Sinfonietta
2013/14 31st December / 1st January Bochumersymphoniker
2014 31st December, Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal (Grand, Grand Overture only plus 16 other items)