Stu Markus: Singer-Songwriter-Performer Arranger-Music Historian
A fixture on Long Island’s folk and acoustic scene since the mid-1990s, Stuart Markus has been writing songs since middle school and has played professionally for nearly three decades.
Listed in Newsday as one of “Long Island’s Best” and sometimes called the Island’s “hardest-working man in folk music,” Stuart actually grew up in Rochester, NY, where he studied at the Eastman School of Music while in high school. While at the University of Pennsylvania he played French horn in the marching band and wind ensemble, sang in the University Choir and several a-cappella groups, and eventually became president, musical director and arranger (all at the same time) of the nine-voice Chord-On-Blues.
His classical training notwithstanding, Stuart found himself gravitating towards modern folk music out of a love of acoustic guitars and deep, honest songwriting. A full-time musician after years as an ad man and journalist, Stuart has also organized a number of community folk concerts, most notably the annual “Just Wild About Harry” Chapin tribute concerts by top Long Island songwriters since 2004. (To date the concerts have raised nearly seven tons of food.) He currently serves on the board of the Folk Music Society of Huntington, the Island’s premier folk music organization, where he chairs the community outreach committee, bringing the many local folk scenes into contact and cooperation.
Stuart is perhaps best known outside of Long Island as a member of the folk-rock harmony trio Gathering Time, along with fellow Long Islanders Gerry McKeveny and since last summer, Christine Sweeney. Described alternately as a rocked-up Peter, Paul & Mary or a co-ed Crosby,
Stills & Nash, the trio has been turning heads with their stunning vocal blend, strong
songwriting, and creative yet faithful interpretations of traditional folk, ’60s classics and songs by other local songwriters. The trio has been touring primarily on the northeastern folk circuit since 2009.
A lover of history and all things maritime, Stuart is also half of the sea chantey duo The Royal Yard, with fellow folkie Robin Greenstein. A lifelong small boat sailor, he made his first voyage on a tall ship in OpSail ’92 as a trainee on the HMS Rose – a replica of a 1757 British frigate (which appeared as Russell Crowe’s ship in the movie Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World).
Listen to one of Stu Markus’ original compositions “Too Far to Turn Back Now”: