Professor - Music Theory and Composition
Room 331, Swope Music Building
D.M.A., Temple University
B.M.C., The University of the Arts
It is a real pleasure to work with my distinguished faculty colleagues and to interact with wonderful and engaged students. The creative energy in the SOM is infectious, and my collaboration with faculty and students is a constant source of inspiration. As co-author of our new music theory textbook with Dr. Alexander Rozin, I have been enjoying seeing my students expand their study of music to encompass a much wider world of music than before, and I am constantly surprised and impressed with their accomplishments and applications of the ideas we explore in the classroom.
My contribution to the culture of SOM resides mainly in the opposite historical ends of Western music: music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, and music of the early 20th through the early 21st century. I feel it is my duty as a specialist in music of the distant past to champion Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music on campus in many environments, from the theory classroom to the concert hall. This interest has been a major part of my contribution to our new theory text. In addition, I have been fortunate to teach in the SOM Oxford program (in 2005 and 2008), where my focus has been the philosophical side of music in relation to the plays of William Shakespeare, and the literary/philosophical world of the lute song. As director of the Collegium Musicum, I try to find music that both educates the student about larger historical trends and styles of music and that reveals a bit of the hidden treasures of our past. As a composer, I strive to incorporate my first-hand contact with this music into my own compositional voice, which is an attempt to integrate many seemingly disparate historical musical realities. I try to bring ancient philosophical and theoretical concepts to bear on music that has a contemporary edge, while infusing my own, modern musical style with the sensual beauty found in the sound world of pre-Classic music. This bi-directional sense of history helps me to communicate with our composition majors in courses such as music theory seminars, composition lessons, and counterpoint, where I hope to teach them how to integrate the musical past into their compositional work.
Mark Rimple is an accomplished performer-composer whose original works incorporate the rhythmic and tonal aspects of early music and often include early instruments and techniques. His works have been performed by such groups as The League/ISCM and Parnassus in New York, and Network for New Music in Philadelphia, and Melomanie. His original music for West Chester University's production of "Love's Fire" was recognized by the Kennedy Center's American Music Theater Festival, and he is a recipient of the 2010 American Composers Foundation Subito Award (Philadelphia Chapter) for the recording of his Partita 622 by Mélomanie, which was released in 2011 (Meyer Media). Early music continues to be a major influence in his works: Steven Rickards praised the text setting and musical style of his Odes to Music for countertenor and archlute in A Guide to 20th Century Countertenor Repertoire (Indiana). In 2011 Choral Arts Philadelphia will perform his setting of a Goliard poem, Le Nouveau Chanson des Oiuseaux and Melomanie will premiere his Sonata Circumdederunt Me for viola da gamba and harpsichord; in the spring of 2012 the WCU Collegium Musicum will premiere one of his new compositions based on early polyphony from Gothic Aquitane and Notre Dame. As a singer and instrumentalist, he has championed new music, having performed and recorded new works with Network for New Music and Cygnus, with whom he recorded Jonathan Dawe's The Siren for Countertenor, Guitar and Viola (Furious Artisans Records), a demanding work based on the music and poetry of Thomas Morley. He has also collaborated with West Chester composers Van Stiefel and Larry Nelson on works for countertenor and computer technology. He has also performed and recorded on plucked instruments with Network for New Music.
Dr. Rimple has garnered critical praise for his lute playing and singing from national newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times) and early music journals (Early Music, Early Music America Magazine, The Lute Society of America Quarterly). A Philadelphia Inquirer critic wrote that his lute playing has "the specificity of a great vocal performance." He has appeared as countertenor and lutenist with his ensemble Trefoil, The Newberry Consort, The Folger Consort, Ex Umbris, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, Melomanie, The New York Collegium, and New York's Ensemble for Early Music. He can be heard on recordings of fourteenth century music by Trefoil (Christo e Nato and Monsters, Mazes and Masters, MSR Recordings) and the Newberry Consort (Puzzles and Perfect Beauty, Noyse Productions). In Fall 2010, he was a participating scholar at the British Museum Citole Confrence, and gave a concert for the attendees at St. Bartholomew the Less Church in London in fall 2010 was favorably reviewed in Early Music (Oxford). This year, he will be returning to Chicago to perform with the Newberry Consort, and he will be touring with his critically acclaimed ensemble Trefoil. He has established a new professional ensemble, the Musica Humana Vocal Consort with support from the WCU Trustees Award, an ensemble in residence at WCU beginning in the 2011-2012 season with two on-campus concerts of fifteenth and sixteenth century a capella vocal music.
As a music theorist, he has focused on early music theory, having written on the influence of Boethius on poetics, historical music composition, and modern analysis. He is currently writing a perceptually-driven music theory textbook that incorporates a wide cross-section of musical styles with theorist and West Chester University colleague Alexander Rozin. He contributed a chapter to A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages (Brill, Leiden) on Boethian harmony and modern analysis, and also recently published an article on the music of Machaut and Boethius (Carmina Philosophiae 19).