Dennis Marks is a writer, broadcaster and film maker with a long and varied career in television, the performing arts and journalism. He is also a seasoned traveller with a particular interest in the culture and history of lands as diverse as Eastern Europe, Russia, West Africa and the Central America. As a film-maker, he has collaborated with some of the most distinguished figures in British and world culture, ranging from writers like Michael Frayn and directors such as Peter Brook to composers of the stature of Sir Michael Tippett. As a broadcast executive, he spent seven years in charge of BBC Television’s Music Department where his broad tastes and experience resulted in his producing and commissioning programmes on every aspect of the arts and history, from modern opera to African rock, from the social history of immigration in Britain to the roots of jazz.
In the 1990s he spent five years as General Director of one of the world’s great opera companies, English National Opera, where he worked with some of the finest directors, singers and composers in Britain, Europe and North America. In the past few years, his interest in world history has inspired him to develop a new career as an author and broadcaster. He has written and presented series on such subjects as the legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Italian South and the history of Sephardic Jews. He was also commissioned to present whole days on BBC Radio 3 on the composers Verdi, Berlioz, Walton and Janacek. His 2001 television series /All the Russias/ about Russia and her music has been seen across the globe from the UK to Australia. At present he is dividing his time between developing several new radio projects and three new books.
The first will be published this autumn in the new imprint Notting Hill Editions. This series of short books is dedicated to the revival of essay writing and its first six titles featured authors of many kinds, ranging from the critic and novelist John Berger to the poet Lavinia Greenlaw. You may have read about it in the Times and the Independent last month. The next selection will include Dennis’ new book on the great and still under-regarded Austrian novelist and journalist Joseph Roth. It is a psycho-geography of the author, concentrating on the two themes of displacement and lying and it reflects Dennis’ many visits to Roth’s homeland in Western Ukraine. He is also developing the first comprehensive biography of the great English composer Sir Michael Tippett and re-working his radio series The Search for Sepharad into a book dealing with the history of Jews in the former Ottoman Empire. News of all these will be regularly updated on this website.
In his spare time he is a regular contributor to international conferences and a fiercely eclectic amateur cook.