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The Mark Wood Experience

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Mark Wood Experience


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The Mark Wood Experience

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Bios



Photo by Mark Weiss
Mark Wood, award winning composer, international recording artist, and electric violinist, is widely acknowledged as the premier electric rock violinist of his generation. Mark studied under maestro Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood and attended the Juilliard School of Music on full scholarship, which he left to pursue his vision of bringing rock violin into the mainstream. His first release, "Voodoo Violince," is widely hailed as the quintessential rock violin record. He is an original member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, receiving two platinum and three gold records from his work with them, and has toured and performed with Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Dee Snider’s Van Helsing’s Curse, Lenny Kravitz, Steve Vai, Roger Daltry of the Who and Jewel. Mark has been a featured guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and has had articles written about him in the New York Times, USA Today, and Time Magazine, among others. Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarnari String Quartet said in his new book Violin Dreams that “…Mark Wood is the future of violins.”

In the capacity of composer, Mark won an Emmy award for music he composed for the Tour De France bike race on CBS-TV and has received three additional Emmy nominations for a variety of film and television projects, most notably for the music for the 1999 Winter Olympics opening show. As an inventor, Mark established Wood Violins, a company whose mission is to make Mark's incredible instruments available to the general public.

In early 2008, Mark was elected to serve on the board of the prestigious American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and will bring his knowledge and expertise in the field of progressive string education to a much wider audience in the US. As educators across the country are quickly catching on to the importance of incorporating “American styles” teaching methods into their curriculum, Mark’s Electrify Your Strings!™ series of music education programs have become enormously successful and in demand. In 2007 alone, EYS reached over 20,000 string students.

With the release of Mark's first method book, aptly entitled "Electrify Your Strings" (published by Cherry Lane and distributed by Hal Leonard), Mark's methods are now accessible to the general public.

Mark is currently starring in a national TV ad campaign for Pepsi. The music track is a Kanye West produced hip hop version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (featuring the rapper Nas).

Mark was a featured performer with rock icon Billy Joel for the historic "Last Play at Shea" concerts at Shea Stadium in New York in July 2008.

Photo by Wayne Dennon
Laura Kaye is Vice President and co-owner of Mark Wood Music Productions, Wood Violins, and the Electrify Your Strings™! (EYS) series of music education programs and is Mark's wife. Along with their son Elijah (who frequently joins them onstage to play drums), Laura and Mark tour extensively with the EYS program throughout each year. Laura's role with EYS involves working with choir students during the course of these all-inclusive workshops, preparing them for the performance and auditioning soloists to be featured during the event.

As a vocalist, Laura — the rock and roll chanteuse whose take-no-prisoners voice invokes the likes of Steven Tyler and Aretha Franklin, but with a lyricism and musicality all her own — is currently promoting her latest CD “Shake Off the Gravity.” Produced by award-winning composer and international recording artist Mark Wood (who co-wrote several of the tracks and plays his 7-string fretted Viper electric violin throughout), the CD features eight innovative, original songs that range from driving rock & roll to the intensely personal, and includes covers from Aerosmith, Humble Pie and Led Zeppelin.

Over the course of a career that began when she was a teenager, Laura has toured extensively as lead vocalist and songwriter for “The Laura Kaye Band” (which was featured on WAPP-FM’s “New York’s Best Bands Album” - the same series that helped discover Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister). She was a featured soloist for the 20-piece rock-and-roll choir “New Voices of Freedom,” has worked with James Brown and Aretha Franklin, and has contributed to soundtracks and videos for U2, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Lennon, and the aforementioned Mark Wood. She sang on the Emmy-nominated composition “Dare to Dream,” which was featured by CBS Television during the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Winter Olympics broadcast, and her voice can be heard on many jingles on TV and radio. Her previous CD, “Sanctuary,” a collaboration with Mark Wood, was released in 2001. Laura is currently working on material for her next CD release.

Photo by Wayne Dennon
Jeff Plate was born and raised in Horseheads, NY (upstate Finger Lakes Region). He attended and graduated Horseheads High School in 1980. Jeff began playing drums in 1974.

Watching a television special on the band Chicago when he was a child, Jeff became very interested in music. Chicago 7 was his first music purchase ever, and soon after that came a snare drum. His true passion at the time was baseball, and was an aspiring young talent with a 'country boy fastball'.

After a hip injury which sidelined any athletic activity for 2-3 years, and seeing KISS on television, Jeff determined that music was now the way to go!

He took private lessons from 1976-78, and also participated in the school band; played in local cover bands from 1979-1981; moved to Florida for a year, played in cover/original bands, and returned to NY. Jeff moved to the Boston area in 1984, where he played in several cover bands, original bands, and did some recording.

After 10 years of hard work and limited success, he returned to NY and in 1994, he joined the progressive rock/metal band Savatage, with whom he recorded and toured extensively across the US, Europe, Japan and South America. In 1995, Jeff recorded his first major studio release with Savatage, 'Dead Winter Dead'. This CD contained the hit song 'Christmas Eve Sarejevo 12/24'. This song launched the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), which has become a multi-platinum-selling act, and one of the top grossing live acts in the country. TSO has just completed it's 10th year of touring, and there is no end in sight. With two touring groups, TSO plays 140 shows a year from November to January selling out arenas across the US and Canada. His involvement with TSO has led to many other projects that Jeff is involved in now.

Mark Wood approached Jeff several years ago about his Electrify Your Strings! program. After several years of touring with Mark in TSO, and becoming a good friend along the way, it seemed like a very good opportunity. "The MWE [Mark Wood Experience] has become one of my favorite, if not my favorite, projects that I am involved in now. The performances and interaction with the kids is nothing short of rewarding, not to mention entertaining. It is promising to see how much young musical talent there is out there and this program brings this out in these kids. Mark is a pioneer, and it is great being involved with someone who is making a difference in the lives of these kids. He is the only person that I know of, with his stature and experience, that is doing a program like this."

Aside from Mark Wood and The MWE, Jeff has recorded and performed with Chris Caffery, John West and Metal Church. His latest project, 'Machines Of Grace', is set for release in early July.

Photo by Wayne Dennon
Jon Bivona is considered by many in the industry to be one of the premier guitarists in New York City. His talents and presence in the industry are diverse and exceptional. His work can be heard on the radio, television, CDs and during live performances.

His playing has been featured on numerous television programs and networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC, USA, ESPN, ESPN International, Animal Planet and Outdoor Life Network. Jon has done all the guitar tracks for the Tour de France for the last three years, including the Emmy Award winning 2002 theme. Jon’s work has also been featured on ESPN Sportscenter, the PGA Tour on USA Network, the US Open Tennis in 2003 and 2004 and the theme song for the Phil Simms All-Iron Man Show.

Jon currently performs with a multitude of bands and artists with ranging genres and influences. These bands are Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Mark Wood Band, The Sign, Lyza Wilson and the Shannon Breeze.

Jon has been teaching guitar in the New York area for over 12 years to hundreds of students, teaching all styles and levels. Some of Jon's students have gone on to become successful recording artists as well as graduates from some of the top music schools in the country. World-renowned guitarist Al Pitrelli from Megadeth and Trans-Siberian Orchestra trained him.

Photo by Wayne Dennon
Sean Meagher, born and raised in New York, was introduced to classical piano at an early age. After seeing “Yes” perform in concert, Sean’s eyes were opened to the role of keyboards in a rock setting. In 1998 Sean went to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music where he studied electronic composition and sound design with Dr. Richard Boulanger, and piano and organ with Greg Wardson and Dave Limina. While in Boston he performed and recorded with guitar virtuoso German Schauss, and Van Zant guitarist Matt Hauer.

In 2000 Sean joined New York progressive metal band “October Thorns” where he played with Trans-Siberian Orchestra bassist Dave Z. Sean was reunited with Dave in 2004 while appearing with electric violinist Mark Wood, whom he continues to perform with. Moving back to New York after college Sean performed with “Incidental Bliss” until 2006, in which time they recorded the EP “The View Inside My Mind”. Recently Sean recorded on his brother’s 2006 debut solo CD “No Flies On Frank”, released by Locust Media, which received 4 stars from “Time Out New York” magazine.

Photo by Travis Louie
Paul Ranieri, born in New York City and raised in a musical and artistic environment, started studying music and playing bass at age 11. Influenced early on by the music from cartoons, science fiction and monster movies; and then later by all the greatest rock, funk, and jazz bass players, Paul is now involved in many diverse musical projects and has developed a melodically ferocious and powerful playing style all his own. With a degree in Jazz Performance from New York’s New School University and Mannes College of Music, Paul’s talents encompass a high level of technical expertise and professionalism. Paul is currently the bassist for producer, inventor, Emmy Award-winning composer, and highly acclaimed international recording artist Mark Wood, and has been touring the United States with Mark’s "Electrify Your Strings" series of music education programs; working alongside Mark to participate in the creation of rock orchestras with student musicians at schools and universities across the nation.

Teacher and music educator since 1990, having taught at San Diego’s only professional bass shop and music school; Bass Alone and at Sam Ash Music University and also has a successful private teaching practice.

Paul is also leader of the band Dangered Ace who's debut CD "GoTenGo" is being released this summer.

The Mark Wood Experience
has performed with the following
Symphony Orchestras:
  • TBA Your Symphony Orchestra!

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Reviews / Comments


Celine Dion -“It’s amazing what he can do with a violin and a bow!”

Jay Leno - “Itzhak Perlman pulling his hair out, ladies and gentlemen!”

CBS News - “You gotta see this guy to believe it!”

Entertainment Tonight - “Incredible musician!”

CBS Sunday Morning - “Moving violin into the future”

Time Magazine - “Funk metal violin at its very best”

Yngwie Malmsteen - “This music is totally different from anything else I’ve heard! Totally different . . . something no one else has done. MARK WOOD’s done that! It’s great!”

USA Networks - “We use his music all the time and LOVE IT!”

The Professor - WFBG - Altoona, PA - "Not only are his CDs curious listening, they are astounding listening, as Wood breaks acres of new ground . . . I need not say more - listen and discover Mark Wood for yourself . . . [It] is THAT impressive."

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