Mark Hagerling’s upbringing was a bit unusual. He jokes that he spent the first two years of his life forced to crawl around on the floor of his parents house hemmed in by the two ominous stereo speakers on either end and incessantly bombarded with the sounds of his Mother’s large orchestral record collection. His mother was a music teacher, his father, an artist and an opera singer and they lived close to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Though he never attended a conservatory full-time himself, he studied with a number of private teachers around Oberlin concentrating on piano, oboe, trombone and musical theory.
As a teen he became involved in popular music and, at the age of 16, was signed as a recording artist through Terry Knight, the producer of the popular rock group, Grand Funk Railroad. Paul McCartney, of the Beatles, once commented about one of Mark’s songs, “Sounds like something I would have written”.
Mark continued as a songwriter and performing musician for the next 20 years. In 1992 his early interest in classical music was rekindled and he began to fill the gaps in his classical training which had been interrupted when he entered the popular music field. And so he began the transition from songwriter to composer. In the years that followed, Mark ventured into many interesting compositional situations including writing music for ballet, custom arranging for some of the top horses in the U.S. in the sport of dressage as well as free-standing music for orchestra and concert band.
In the 21st century Mark has become the emerging film composer scoring music for film, documentaries and TV commercials, his most notable works to date being his award-winning orchestral scores for the feature film, A Dance for Bethany and the newly released fantasy film, Magic in the Forest .