Mark Kovnatskiy is a widely traveled and highly acclaimed violinist, composer, lecturer and expert in Yiddish dances based in Hamburg, Germany.
He is at the head of a generation that has saved the sensitive playing style of the old Klezmorim for the present and developed it further. He has performed and taught at many music festivals around the world from the USA and Canada to Japan.
In addition to his projects such as the Semer Ensemble, Engel Ensemble, Torah Images, Hamburg Klezmer Band, Joel Rubin Ensemble, Fialke and Silja Mark has performed as a guest musician with Socalled, Dobranotch, Efim Chorny, Painted Bird and Forshpil, among others. He teaches Yiddish music and dance internationally.
Mark has worked with orchestras such as the Musica Viva (RU), Augsburger Philharmoniker (GER), Aurora Orchestra (UK), INSO Lviv (UA), Weimar Staatskapelle (GER) and Kölner Akademie (GER), as well as with the choir Schola Kantorum Weimar (GER).
His teachers were many famous Yiddish musicians from all over the world, such as Stas Rayko, Michael Alpert, Merlin Shepherd, Steven Greenman, Christian Dawid, Frank London, Deborah Strauss, a Lautari violinist Marin Bunea and many others, but it was Alan Bern who had the greatest influence on Mark’s personality, style, and creativity.
As part of various projects, in total, Mark participated in the recording of more than ten CDs.
2009-2016 Mark also was the artistic director of the international Yiddish Fest Moscow.
In 2009 he worked as artistic director of the festival KlezmerFest in Hamburg.
His own compositions are performed by various musical projects (both klezmer and classical) around the world, including musicians from the San Francisco Symphony (USA) and Neue Philharmonie Westfalen (GER).
In 2019, Mark released his first collection of tunes Di naye yidishe melodyes (New Yiddish melodies). The second compilation of Mark's compositions, Di naye yidishe melodyes Volume 2 was published in the summer of 2020. Currently Mark is working on his third volume.
Since 2018 Mark cooperates with the ACCORD CASE company (Croatia) making a carbon fiber violin case especially for him.
Since 2023 Mark is the ambassador of the MEZZO-FORTE company (Germany), producing bowed instruments made of carbon fiber.