Mark Rowan-Hull is an artist, performer, speaker and educator. After graduating from his training in Fine Art at University in 1992, Mark started a career in psychiatry, resettling severely mentally ill people back into the community. Mark quickly became fascinated in the powerful effect music and art could play on the mind, a subject that continues in his work to this day. Throughout this formative time he became fascinated with the interrelationship between the senses, visual art, music and poetry.
In this quest he became acquainted with and befriended the librettist and art critic Myfanwy Piper known principally for her contribution to Benjamin Britten’s seminal Operas, who became a mentor to him. Rowan-Hull quickly became an arts coordinator and a freelance artist and using his experience of working in a healthcare setting, he went on to work in schools, day centres and hospitals, to facilitate and orchestrate workshops creating artwork and music and collaborating with Orchestras, composers and musicians. Mark then embarked on an intellectual understanding of Colour in music and visualising music, later leading to a fascination with the music of the French composer Olivier Messiaen. This led to performances with commissioned work at the South Bank in 2001 and throughout Britain, and collaborating with Scientists, musicologists and musicians most notably at the Music and the Mind festival at the University of London in 2003, also leading to broadcasts and interviews on BBC Radio 3.
Along the way Rowan-Hull exhibited and conducted a series of highly acclaimed exhibitions called “Seeing Music, Hearing Colour” his work being collected by numerous international collections and institutions as well as notable individuals such as Professor Martin Kemp, the Poet and Critic Tom Paulin, who has remarked on Rowan-Hull that “RH understands all that Baudelaire meant by Correspondence” (Studio International 2004) and world Virtuoso musician Dame Gillian Weir whom Rowan-Hull designed artwork for her comprehensive releases of Messiaen’s Organ Music and with whom he has performed with since.
In order to publicise his ideas of visualising music Mark embarked on a series of exciting performances and events involving painting live on stage responding to music by composers such as Messiaen, Scriabin, Debussy, Shostakovich and George Crumb together with Jazz and improvisation. These performances took place in a wide variety of settings including the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Festival Hall, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club.
More recently in 2007 Rowan-Hull contributed to the touring exhibition “Eye Music” an exhibition, which included work by artists who responded to music in the last two centuries such as Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrain and Paolozzi. This involved performances with the Coull and Allegri Quartets at both the Pallant House Art Gallery in Chichester and the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich. The work produced during these events then being shown throughout 2008, culminating in a show in London in 2008/9.
In 2008 Rowan-Hull was also commissioned to take part in the South Bank’s “Canyon to the Stars” Messiaen Centenary celebrations, where he performed to pieces of Messiaen’s music at the Royal Academy and Westminster Cathedral. He has developed the relationship with the Royal Academy of Music, now working with improvisation, microtonal music and evolving this into graphic scores with Roger Redgate (Head of Composition at Goldsmiths College).
Rowan-Hull is also now collaborating on a series of exciting performances with the Hindustani singer and writer Amit Chaudhuri whose work concentrates on where cultural influences Join and divide in music. Rowan-Hull is now appointed as Creative Arts Fellow at the Wolfson College at University of Oxford where he continues to explore the invigorating ephemeral qualities of visual art and the encapsulating of time in Music via performance.