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Markdavin Obenza

Markdavin Obenza is a choral director, recording producer, singer, and composer. Markdavin is the director and co-founder of two Seattle-based vocal groups: the internationally acclaimed Byrd Ensemble (founded in 2004) and Radiance (founded in 2019), professional ensembles specializing in the performance of Renaissance vocal music and American choral music, respectively. He is the artistic director of the Byrd International Singers, a select group of singers from around the world who participate in an annual Renaissance course offered by the Byrd Ensemble. He is also the Director of Choral Activities at Trinity Parish Church in Seattle, WA.


As a producer for independent record label Scribe Records, Markdavin has produced CD recordings for over 40 choirs (professional and amateur) and soloists, several of which have been reviewed in GramophoneEarly Music AmericaEarly Music Review, and FanfareScribe Records’ catalog contains Byrd Ensemble’s recording Arvo Pärt (2013), which appeared in the French drama film L'apparition (2018), and a number of world-premiere recordings, including music by American composer Nico Muhly.


Markdavin has also produced and directed a number of virtual choirs, including Caroline Shaw's and the swallow, which was featured on Canada's choral broadcast of Modern Choral Masterworks on CBC. He has also produced concertmentaries, and musical broadcasts in collaboration with various music ensembles and artists during the pandemic, including Shaker Spirituals in Maine (2021) for the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, featuring composer Kevin Siegfried and Radiance. As a freelance video editor, Markdavin has worked on iNDIEFLIX film Envisioning Many Messiahs (2021).

"The singers collectively exploit a brighter part of the color palette, enabling perfect intonation and balance. This is clearly conductor Markdavin Obenza’s sound ideal."

"Mr. Obenza‘s choices of tempo, balance and phrasing were beyond cavil." - Oregon Arts Watch

"The direction of Markdavin Obenza is excellent, guiding the exquisite and expressive singers of the Byrd Ensemble." - Sonograma Magazine

"...this recording creates the illusion of hearing the music for the first time." - Gramophone

"The engineering is first-rate..." - Moore, Tom. “Recording Reviews.” Early Music America February 2012.

As a baritone and countertenor, Markdavin has performed with the Byrd Ensemble, Tudor Choir, members of the Tallis Scholars, Kronos Quartet, and Early Music Vancouver. He has also appeared on numerous films and video game soundtracks. 


Markdavin also composes choral music and hosts ThisChoirNerd podcast, which was recently included in UK-based Welp Magazine as one of the 20 Best Choral Podcasts of 2021He enjoys ultimate frisbee, tennis, hiking, and has recently become interested in meditation. 

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