Mark Abel

Mark Abel

1948 -

Mark Abel is a California composer who specializes in vocal music -- art songs in particular. He usually writes his own lyrics and his musical style occasionally displays a sublimated rock influence.


The audio selections in the player to the right are used with the permission of the composer. Please visit the entries for the individual songs for performer names. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

Photo credit: Erika Doria


Mark Abel was born in Hartford, Ct., in 1948 and grew up in the Midwest, Europe, Asia and the East Coast. He briefly attended Stanford University in the late 1960s, and spent the ‘70s and part of the ‘80s as a guitarist, bassist, songwriter and record producer on the New York rock scene. His return to California in 1983 was marked by a vocational shift into journalism for two decades and the gradual development of an approach to serious composition that incorporates certain elements of rock into a wide palette of classical influences that includes Debussy, Duparc, Berg and Janáček, among many others.

Abel’s idiom favors above all the expression of emotion and an untrammeled lyricism. He has produced five major song cycles: The Palm Trees are RestlessThe Dark-Eyed Chameleon, Rainbow Songs, and Five Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke (all soprano and piano); and the album-length The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits (for soloists and orchestra). Other important works include the opera Home Is a HarborThe True Believers, a meditation on terrorism (for soprano, baritone and orchestra) and One Long Peace (for soprano and orchestra), an elegy for the composer’s mother. Abel’s five song cycles have been recorded for the Delos label. The solo song “The Benediction” appeared in 2013 on a recording by New York tenor Kyle Bielfield.

Songs & Song Collections BY Abel (entered to date)
POETS & Writers Set BY Abel (entered to date)

Audio PLaylist


CD / DVD / MP3