Mark Morgan (22 October 1961) is an American score composer for video games, television and films. He is renowned for having scored the Planescape: Torment soundtrack, but is possibly most known for composing the Fallout series music.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Mark Morgan was born on October 22, 1961 in Los Angeles, California, to an architect, Mel Morgan (his father) and Betty Morgan, a classically trained pianist and sculptor. Mel Morgan was from Iowa and had come to California to pursue his career and started his own architectural firm, specializing in modern cutting edge design. This led to Mark, from a very early age, being influenced by both of his parents' diverse talents.

In 1968, with his mother's encouragement, Mark began taking piano lessons aged seven and immediately took to the instrument, he started to learn standard classical piano but Mark started to improvise even then. In around 1971 his family moved south of Los Angeles to a beach side community in Orange County, his classical piano studies continued but his interest in musical styles expanded when he discovered a local shop that catered to young artists. He was exposed to a wide variety of pop rock groups and his interest in Rock'n'roll was piqued by the fresh ways in which the good groups varied their music.

He then learnt how to play rock'n'roll guitar and drums while maintaining his training on the keyboard. But instead of music he began to swim and surf in competitions in the Pacific Ocean and became a top seeded surfer in the state of California, he attributed this change in interests in that he was given more surfboards than keyboards. He entered college and a professor in the music department became aware of Mark's musical talents and encouraged him to join the college jazz ensemble.

He became inspired to pursue a musical career and applied and was accepted at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts to study performance and composition. After moving to Boston he decided that he was more interested in performing music than in studying music in an academic setting and soon left Berklee School to go back to his hometown in Los Angeles.

Career[edit | edit source]

Mark soon became a freelance player and started playing in clubs with a variety of bands. He was working, by day, as a studio musician and attended many recording sessions and began adopting many different styles into his own. As Mark began to be noticed by an expanding network of musicians, so did the demand for his services which led to him traveling around concert circuits with major artists. He toured with Ricki Lee Jones twice, playing primarily acoustic piano.

He was then recruited by Chaka Khan, during which he was approached by members of the band Starship and joined the group, eager to explore a new genre of music. He became a permanent member of the band and moved to San Francisco. Starship created "Love Among the Cannibals" as an album which Mark co-produced with the band and co-wrote a number of songs. After breaking up from Starship, he returned to Los Angeles intent on writing music for film and television and started collaborating with established television and film composers.

He started as a programmer and sound designer but Mark's collaborators began asking him to write musical cues and ultimately entire shows. He started composing for "Prey", the primetime cult hit for ABC, he forged a stylistic integration of influences from Industrial and World music. He worked on The Prophets Game (starring Dennis Hopper) and Marc Rocco's Where the Day Takes You. Mark then became interested in the world of video games, where his "aggressive ambient" style was well-suited. The most innovative of these were Fallout and Planescape: Torment, both from Interplay.

After composing several video game pieces from 1995-2000, he moved back to television and started, in 2003 composing the soundtrack for One Tree Hill and continued to work on television series and films until 2008, when he went back to video games, and is currently composing Allods Online, which he started in 2009.

Credits[edit | edit source]

Video Games[edit | edit source]

  • Zork Nemesis (1995)
  • Dark Seed II (1995)
  • Shattered Steel (1996)
  • Descent II (1996)
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor (1997)
  • NetStorm: Islands At War (1997)
  • Fallout (1997)
  • Fallout 2 (1998)
  • Planescape: Torment (1999)
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto (2000)
  • Allods Online (2009, in progress)

Television and Film[edit | edit source]

  • One Tree Hill (2003–present)
  • Hawaii (2004)
  • Kojak (2005)
  • Killer Instinct (2005)
  • Shark (2006-2008)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Mark Morgan derives his inspiration from the most diverse places, such as music, art, architecture, science, any source that impacts the emotion of the human experience.
  • He feels that two of his works stand out as representative of his musical style: the Fallout and Planescape: Torment pieces.
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