Based in Madison, WI, Mr. Chair is a multi-genre group that plays a mix of rock, jazz, modern classical and contemporary improv-based styles. Performing on acoustic and electronic instruments, Mr. Chair explores sounds, textures, and grooves in search of beauty and beasts. Started in 2016, the ensemble has performed in clubs, music and lecture halls, new music festivals, and at colleges and universities.
Born in Sarasota, Florida in 1968, Mark Hetzler began playing his father's trombone at the age of twelve. He went on to receive degrees in Music from Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Trained as a classical musician, Mark spent 16 seasons as the trombonist of the Empire Brass Quintet, a world renown brass chamber ensemble. He was also the Principal Trombone of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Florida Orchestra. Mark has concertized as a soloist and chamber player on five continents, including appearances in 15 countries and throughout the United States. He has released eleven solo recordings on the Summit record label, featuring classical works, avante-garde, modern and electro-acoustic music, and his own original compositions. His solo recordings feature collaborations with a variety of instrumental combinations, including piano, strings, percussion and brass. Active in the creation of new music, Mark has worked with composers in some of the leading new music studios around the world, commissioning music which uses interactive computer software, hardware effects processing and other experimental approaches to sound creation. He has appeared at numerous new music festivals, including the New York Electro-Acoustic Music Festival and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS). Mark's lifelong fascination with rock and jazz styles eventually found its way into his curiosity for music technology and has led him to use his electro-acoustic skills in many classical, non-classical and improvised settings. Out of this interest, Mr. Chair was born. Joining a group of friends whose musical skills are varied and impressive, Mark helped form The Mr. Chair Quartet in 2016, and has been helping the group to forge a path into a place where classical, rock and jazz styles merge. When he isn't writing and arranging tunes or exploring performance opportunities for the MC Quartet, Mark is teaching music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Professor of Trombone and a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet.
Visit Mark's website here: markhetzler.com
Jason Kutz grew up in a highly musical family in Kiel, Wisconsin, a small town in the countryside. He studied piano and percussion at a young age, and eventually went on to receive his B.M. in Recording Technology/Music Industry from UW Oshkosh and M.M. in Piano Performance from UW Madison, studying both classical and jazz.
He still resides in Madison where he works as a pianist, composer, teacher, arranger, artist, graphic designer, and sound engineer. He tours regularly around the Midwest with Opera for the Young, a professional outreach opera company that performs abridged operas for elementary schools. He is a three-time concerto competition winner, and has recently travelled to Beijing, China to teach a summer program at the Magic Piano Arts Academy.
His musical interests lie wholly within and between the classical and jazz worlds. All music is constructed with the same building blocks, and it's only with small changes in formula that genre and affect differ. His greatest interest is discovering and blending these borders, and using them as fuel for each musical project.
Jason's passion abounds outside of music, in soccer, yoga, interactive media, cleaning, painting, drawing, traveling, and discovery.
Ben Ferris is an upright and electric bassist, composer, bandleader and educator in Madison, WI. A student of NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis, Ben received his Bachelor of Music, focus in Education, from the UW-Madison School of Music in 2013. As a leader, Ben recently released an album of original music, “Home," with the Ben Ferris Quintet. He also leads the Ben Ferris Octet, a 5-horn ensemble focusing on jazz music from across the decades. As a sideman, Ben performs with Nuggernaut, The Gabe Burdulis Band, The Darren Sterud Orchestra, The Neophonic Jazz Orchestra, Edi Rey y Su Salsera, the Jon Hoel Trio, the Big Payback and many other ensembles in a variety of genres. As an educator, Ben teaches at Winnequah Elementary School, Madison Music Makers, Madison Suzuki, Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, private Bass students and various clinics/workshops. More information and current bookings can be found at www.bferrisbass.com
Mike Koszewski is an experienced musician from Madison with a diverse background in percussive arts. As a chamber musician he has performed and held masterclasses throughout the midwest and east coast and was recently a featured guest percussionist with Oakwood Chamber Players for their 2016/17 season. He is an versatile drum kit player and pit orchestra musician, regularly performing with Four Seasons Theater and Capital City Theater, as well as experimental jazz/rock combo Lovely Socialite and the Ben Ferris Jazz Octet.