Born and raised in New York City, clarinetist Mark Friedman came to Venezuela in January of 1981 as a member of the Caracas Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1982, he has been principal clarinet and soloist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela (OSV), the oldest and most important of Venezuela's numerous symphony orchestras. Since then, he has been an active soloist and chamber musician performing with a variety of different ensembles, one in particular being the Academic Wind Octet of Caracas (Octeto Académico de Caracas) in which he is the clarinet soloist as well as its international representative. As a member of this group, he has recorded seven CD's and done more than twenty international tours around Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and the U.S.A. The Octeto is considered by many well-known critics and musicians, to be Venezuela's finest chamber music ensemble as well as the most important wind ensemble coming out of Latin America. Between 1992 and 1993 he was responsible for the creation of the first OSV Big Band JAZZ and later in 1993 he started his own Big Band Orchestra, which specializes in the interpretation of the original arrangements of the Big Bands from the swing era of the 1930's and 40's. His orchestra has performed at the most important theatres, museums, country clubs, universities, international festivals, hotels, inaugurations including the two international routes of Continental Airlines in 1997 Venezuela-Houston and Venezuela-New York in 1998 as well as for many prestigious civic and social events. In May of 2002, the Mark Friedman BIG BAND recorded their first CD.
As a clarinetist, his opening recital inaugurated the first Clarinet Festival for young Venezuelan clarinetists back in 1987. He has also premiered for the first time in Venezuela, some of the most important Concertos for clarinet and orchestra by such composers as G. Rossini, Max Bruch, Igor Stravinsky, Jean Francaix, Leonard Bernstein as well as works by Venezuelan composers like Ricardo Lorenz Abreu, Jorge Castillo, Juan Carlos Nunez, Alfredo Rugeles, Eduardo Marturret and Aldemaro Romero among others. As a teacher, he has taught clarinet, chamber music, music history, musical direction, jazz and English at various conservatories, schools, institutes and universities throughout Venezuela. His students can be found working in nearly all of the orchestras, bands and conservatories throughout most of Venezuela. In 1995 he was named artistic director of the first International Music Festival at El Morro-Lecheria in Puerto La Cruz where he was responsible for bringing together for the first time Arturo Sandoval and Eddie Daniels in two historic concerts. In 1997 he was appointed as the assistant musical director of the Asociación Humboldt and in 1998 he was named as the musical consultant for the then recently founded Municipal Orchestra of Valencia.
At present, Mr. Friedman is a senior professor of chamber music at the Emil Friedman College and is a founding teacher of clarinet and chamber music at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales (IUDEM) since 1985 and has been professor of clarinet since 1983 at the “Juan José Landaeta Conservatory of Music”. In Dec. of 2000, he was elected as board director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela and has been a collaborating writer for the Daily Journal, Venezuela's only English newspaper. In March of 2004, he made his Venezuelan screen debut as an actor in the mini-series “Hablo de Venezuela, mi querido país” by Edmundo Aray in which he portrayed the noted German scientist and writer Alexander von Humboldt.