Conductor, educator, and cellist Mark Churchill is the Dean and Artistic Director of Preparatory and Continuing Education and the Director of El Sistema USA at New England Conservatory where he develops and oversees programs emphasizing serious, professional training for pre-college students and adults in addition to numerous community based programs and local, national, and international partnerships.
As a conductor Churchill is widely known in New England and abroad. He has been Associate Conductor of the Boston Ballet since 1992, and is the founder and Music Director of Symphony Pro Musica, Worcester's Salisbury Lyric Opera, and the Salisbury Chamber Orchestra. For eleven years he served as Resident Conductor and Faculty Chairman of the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong, a pan-Asian organization founded by the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin. He recently led the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra in its annual gala concert. As a cellist he has appeared as soloist, recitalist and chamber music player throughout the United States and on tours of South America and Asia. Most recently he performed in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with the Trio Pro Musica. Much sought after as a teacher of talented teenage cellists, he is on the cello faculty of the NEC Preparatory School and the Heifetz International Institute.
Churchill is an active advocate for the improvement and expansion of music education programs in American schools through NEC’s Center for Music-in-Education, which features the development of new music education curricula and music teacher training programs. Along with Venezuela’s José Antonio Abreu, he is the founder and vice president of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, established in 2002, which draws gifted young musicians from throughout North and South America. In 2005 he spearheaded the signing of a "Friendship Agreement" between New England Conservatory and Venezuela's massive youth orchestral training program, El Sistema. He serves on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations including Project STEP, a pre-professional support program for string students of color; the Conservatory Lab Charter School, a K-5 public inner-city elementary school offering a music based curriculum; the Walnut Hill School, an independent school for serious high school age art students; the Berkshire Institute for Theology and the Arts; and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.
Churchill holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Hartford and the B.M. and M.M. degrees from New England Conservatory. His principal teacher include Herbert Blomstedt and Charles Bruck (conducting); Rudolf Kolisch (chamber music); and Raya Garbousova, Laurence Lesser and David Soyer (cello). He resides in Newton, Massachusetts, with his thirteen-year-old twin daughters, Emma and Julia.