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Mark Geslison

Adjunct Faculty
General Performance, Folk Music Ensembles

Mark Geslison began directing the folk music ensembles at BYU in September, 1992. Prior to directing the ensembles he was an undergraduate student in the ensembles. As a student he toured with the top-tier folk music ensemble, Mountain Strings, which accompanied the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble (IFDE) in performances throughout the western U.S., Europe, and South Korea. His travels took him Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Monaco, England, Russia, Poland, The Netherlands, Iceland, and Norway. He also participated with Mountain Strings and the IFDE in the 1988 Summer Olympic opening ceremonies in South Korea. As director, he has taken his students to many of the countries mentioned above plus, Serbia and North Macedonia. His students typically participate in folk music and dance festivals under the direction of CIOFF (Conseil International des Organisations de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels). CIOFF is structured under the United Nation’s UNESCO program. The letter C in UNESCO stands for Culture (UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). These international festival committees invite music and dance ensembles from around the world to attend their events. Those ensembles perform their own, unique cultural music and dance repertoire at each CIOFF festival.

Mark graduate from BYU with a BA degree in 1990. He subsequently received his MA degree from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. His works include 6 books published by Mel Bay Publication in St. Louis, MO. One of his published works is a 5-book series titled, 50 Tunes. This series contains 50 American and Celtic tunes for the five instruments typical to an American bluegrass band: fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo. His other work with Mel Bay is titled Guitar Trios which is designed for guitar ensembles or, as the title suggests, a guitar trio.

Mark has also published works through the Institute of American Music. These works include: Fiddling Trios, Fiddle Tunes for String Quartet, Fiddling for String Orchestra, Fiddle Tunes for Young Violinists, and two works for guitar: Favorite Fiddle Tunes for Flatpickers, and Technique, Theory, & Tunes for Guitar.

Between the years 1998 and 2020 Mark produced 14 albums of LDS hymns. These recordings sold over 100,000 copies. These albums are now available on digital media platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play. These albums were joint productions with Geoff Groberg. Mark and Geoff have a website with more information. See http://geslisongroberg.com/

Mark is a fourth cousin to Lindsay Davis (who is also an adjunct faculty instructor in the School of Music). Mark and Lindsay arrange, compose, record, and film various works of music. As a duo they are known as LittleJohn Duo. The name of the duo is derived from their 4th great grandfather, Reverend LittleJohn Utley, who was a religious leader in Wake, North Carolina at the turn of the 19th century. You can hear or watch LittleJohn Duo on digital media platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, etc.) or on YouTube (search for LittleJohn Duo).

Mark is marred to Jeanette Eilskov Karnil Geslison (a native of Odense, Denmark). They live in Provo, and have 3 children. Two of those children are BYU graduates. The third child is a current BYU student.

Education:

  • MA, Humanities, Latin American Literature, Brigham Young University
  • BA, Humanities, with a Minor in Music, Brigham Young University, 1990