Mark Ritzmann was born in Brecon and as a young boy studied Piano with Catherine Phillips and Organ with cathedral organist, Hazel Gedge. He was organist at his home church for some 10 years, and also accompanied a local choir where he gained experience from playing for their soloists.
When Mark moved to Neath in 1988, he continued his studies of the Organ with Colin Yeoman, passing Grade 8 with Distinction and going on to attain the Advanced Certificate. At this time he became increasingly interested in choral singing. He took up the role of Organist at St.David’s Church, Neath in 1991 and a year later became its Choir Director, a post which he has now held for over 22 years. He gained a Distinction at Grade 8 Singing and through the church’s affiliation with the Royal School of Church Music, he furthered his experience of choral training.
He has helped and encouraged many young choristers to gain awards including the now highly successful singer, Katherine Jenkins, a former Head Chorister at St.David’s. In 2006 he was awarded the Archbishop of Wales Certificate of Merit for services to Church music, and the following year received an award from the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan for ‘great and valuable services to the community’.
In 2010, he co-founded the Neath Polyphonic Choir which gave its inaugural concert on 2nd July 2010, to a rapturous reception and standing ovation from its audience. Neath Polyphonic has since become a very vibrant choir in the community and has gained a strong following of friends and devotees, who eagerly look forward to each concert. In July 2014, Mark was delighted to receive a Citizenship Award from Neath Town Council ‘in recognition for his service in the community’.
As well as his work as a Music Director, Mark also has his own music teaching business in Neath, where he presently has around 20 pupils.- all of which he says gives him a wide opportunity to share his love of music.