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Music Theory, History, and Composition

Mark Rimple

Contact Music Theory, History, and Composition  

Music Theory, History, and Composition

Swope Music Building 
817 S. High Street 
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2739 
Fax: 610-436-2873 

Faculty Contact Information




331, Swope Music Building



  • D.M.A., Temple University
  • M.M., Temple University
  • B.M.C., University of the Arts

Thoughts on SOM

It is a real pleasure to work with my distinguished faculty colleagues and to interact with wonderful and engaged students. The creative energy in the SOM is infectious, and my collaboration with faculty and students is a constant source of inspiration. As co-author of our new music theory textbook with Dr. Alexander Rozin, I have been enjoying seeing my students expand their study of music to encompass a much wider world of music than before, and I am constantly surprised and impressed with their accomplishments and applications of the ideas we explore in the classroom.

Mission at SOM

My contribution to the culture of SOM resides mainly in the opposite historical ends of Western music: music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, and music of the early 20th through the early 21st century. I feel it is my duty as a specialist in music of the distant past to champion Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music on campus in many environments, from the theory classroom to the concert hall. This interest has been a major part of my contribution to our new theory text. In addition, I have been fortunate to teach in the SOM Oxford program (in 2005 and 2008), where my focus has been the philosophical side of music in relation to the plays of William Shakespeare, and the literary/philosophical world of the lute song. As director of the Collegium Musicum, I try to find music that both educates the student about larger historical trends and styles of music and that reveals a bit of the hidden treasures of our past. As a composer, I strive to incorporate my first-hand contact with this music into my own compositional voice, which is an attempt to integrate many seemingly disparate historical musical realities. I try to bring ancient philosophical and theoretical concepts to bear on music that has a contemporary edge, while infusing my own, modern musical style with the sensual beauty found in the sound world of pre-Classic music. This bi-directional sense of history helps me to communicate with our composition majors in courses such as music theory seminars, composition lessons, and counterpoint, where I hope to teach them how to integrate the musical past into their compositional work.

Curriculum Vitae

Mark Rimple is an accomplished composer-performer whose original works incorporate the rhythmic and tonal aspects of early music and often include early instruments and techniques.

Mark has received support for his composition from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Foundation and the Roger Shapiro Fund. His works have been performed and presented by The League/ISCM Chamber Players, Parnassus, Network for New Music, Choral Arts Philadelphia, and Mélomanie, among others. He is about to release a disc of his own compositions, January (Furious Artisans), which features countertenor Drew Minter, pianist David Alpher, and WCU Faculty Van Stiefel (electric guitar), Randall Scarlata (baritone), and Carl Cranmer (piano); he also performs as countertenor and lutenist for the disc. During his fall 2014 sabbatical, he composed a new work for Cygnus Ensemble: Triple Duo: At Sixes and Sevens, soon to be premiered by the ensemble. In December 2015, Choral Arts Philadelphia will perform his O Sapientia as part of their O Antiphoncommissioning project. Of their performance of Rimple’s Nouvelle Chant des Oiseaux, one critic wrote that "Rimple captivates with an obvious complete understanding of early musical structures." Similarly, Steven Rickards praised the text setting and musical style of his Odes to Music for countertenor and archlute in A Guide to 20th Century Countertenor Repertoire (Indiana). His original music for West Chester University's production of "Love's Fire" was recognized by the Kennedy Center's American Music Theater Festival (Philadelphia Chapter) His works have also been recorded by Mélomanie and Duo del Sol (Henry Grabb and Karen Dannessa).

Dr. Rimple has garnered critical praise for his lute playing and singing with early music ensembles from national newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times) and early music journals (Early Music, Early Music America Magazine, The Lute Society of America Quarterly). A Philadelphia Inquirer critic wrote that his lute playing has "the specificity of a great vocal performance." He has appeared as countertenor and lutenist with his ensemble Trefoil, The Newberry Consort, The Folger Consort, Ex Umbris (at the Clinton White House), Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, Mélomanie, The New York Collegium, and New York's Ensemble for Early Music. During the 2015-16 year he will also appear with The Folger Consort and La Fiocco. He is a regular guest artist with the Newberry Consort and the Folger Consort, and has appeared with Network for New Music, Cygnus Ensemble, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band and Mélomanie, among others. He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed ensemble Trefoil, with which he has performed late medieval music of the ars subtilior since 2000, often working directly from mensural notation. Mark sings with and directs the The Musica Humana Vocal Consort, which has been in residence at the CVPA since 2011, giving two concerts of Renaissance polyphony a year; he has received a University Research Fund grant to record a CD, De Profundis, with the ensemble in the 2015-16 year for release on Olde Focus Recordings. Mark can be heard on recordings of fourteenth century music on three recordings with Trefoil, and appears on the critically acclaimed CD Puzzles and Perfect Beauty with The Newberry Consort. He also appears on A Renaissance Christmas with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music.

As a singer and instrumentalist, he has also championed new music, having performed and recorded new works with Network for New Music and Cygnus, with whom he recorded Jonathan Dawe's The Siren for Countertenor, Guitar and Viola (Furious Artisans Records), a demanding work based on the music and poetry of Thomas Morley. He has also collaborated with West Chester composers Van Stiefel and Larry Nelson on works for countertenor and computer technology. Before his lute career took off, Mark was a classical guitarist and mandolinist specializing in new music; he appeared on guitar and mandolin with Network for New Music, The Curtis Orchestra (Don Giovanni), and the PA Ballet Orchestra (Agon).

As a music theorist, Mark has focused on early music theory, having written on the influence of Boethius on poetics, historical music composition, and modern analysis. He contributed a chapter to A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages (Brill, Leiden) on Boethian harmony and modern analysis, and has published three articles on Boethius in Carmina Philosophiae, the Journal of the International Boethius Society. In Fall 2010, he was a participating scholar at the British Museum Citole Conference, and gave a concert for the attendees at St. Bartholomew the Less Church in London with Mary Springfels and Shira Kammen; that concert was favorably reviewed in Early Music (Oxford). He is currently revising and perfecting a perceptually driven music theory textbook that incorporates a wide cross-section of musical styles with theorist and West Chester University colleague Alexander Rozin.


Videos and Audio

Click to Play video

Austerity - a dramatic scene for soprano, 2 baritones and piano. Libretto by Lawrence Rosenwald, Story idea and music by Mark Rimple, Direction by Emily Bullock. Performed by Stephanie Scogna, DJ Matsko, Peter Christian, and Bette Halberg, piano. Composed and performed in November, 2012 at West Chester University of PA.


Click to Play 'Mark Rimple: Partita 622 (excerpt) for flute, violin, cello, viola da gamba and harpsichord'

Mark Rimple: Partita 622 (excerpt) for flute, violin, cello, viola da gamba and harpsichord - performed by Mélomanie (Flourescence, Meyer Media).


Click to Play 'Mark Rimple: Will you shrink from me?'

Mark Rimple: "Will you shrink from me?", To Golias for countertenor and electric guitar, live performance by the composer (countertenor) and Van Stiefel (guitar).


Click to Play 'Mark Rimple: intabulation (ornamented recomposition) of Anonymous, En la maison Dedalus (14th c.) for plectrum lute and harp'

Mark Rimple: intabulation (ornamented recomposition) of Anonymous, En la maison Dedalus (14th c.) for plectrum lute and harp, recorded by Mark Rimple (lute) and Drew Minter (harp) for Trefoil, Masters, Monsters and Mazes (MSR recordings)."


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