Sad news: Dennis Marks has died

Sad news: Dennis Marks has died


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2015

The music world in London and beyond has been shocked by the death last night of Dennis Marks, former head of music at BBC Television and subsequently general director of English National Opera. Dennis was 66.

At the BBC he was the last believer in serious music before the great Birtian dumbing down of the early 1990s. At ENO, he inherited the deficit aftermath of a successful regime and was unable to set a new direction for a company with a weak board and an ambivalent funding authority.

He went on to make some fascinating documentaries, mostly for radio.

He was a boundless enthusiast for new music and opera.

Our sympathies to his wife, Sally Groves, and the family.

dennis marks

UPDATE: First obit here and a more personal one here.



  • Guus Mostart says:

    Very sad and unexpected news. I will miss him deeply; a great pal and confidant.

  • Michelle Assay (and David Fanning) says:

    Thank you Dennis for making the world a better place.

  • Ralph & Jean Willett says:

    Saddened to hear of Dennis’ s death . We have fond memories of acting in THE HOSTAGE with him in the year before he went up to Cambridge . So he was precocious but great company !! A sweet and talented guy he stays with us in the form of a photograph of the cast (costumed) of THE SEAGULL hanging in Jean’s study . Like everyone else Dennis who played Kostia looked authentically Russian !!

    We offer our sincere condolences R & J

  • Gregor Tassie says:

    Very sad to hear this news, Dennis was a great Russophile, we made a film about Mravinsky in 2003, he will be sorely missed.

  • Ks. Cristopher Robson says:

    Very sad and rather shocking news. I’m speechless! 🙁 Heart goes out to Sally and all Dennis’s family.

  • Sandra Parr says:

    We missed Sally at the MacMillan premiere in Liverpool last weekend, knowing she was sitting beside Dennis in his last few days. Tragic loss and such sad news – everyone here sends their sympathy to Sally and family.

  • Tom Deveson says:

    Very sorry to hear this – we first met in October 1966.

    Dennis’s public achievements are well known. I’ve witnessed and received private kindnesses it would not be right to share here.

    ‘…And there was the ferryman …’

    RIP, Dennis.

  • Peter Rann says:

    Dennis was a great director to work with and brought me some wonderful programmes to work on. He was always good fun to work with and among the last of the BBC music and arts directors of quality. He will be greatly missed. I send my sympathy to his family

  • Peter Rann says:

    A great director loved working with him, brilliant programmes and fun to work with. He will be greatly missed. My sympathy to Sally and the family.

  • Hilary Davan Wetton says:

    Many condolences to Sally. Her father also died too young; I wish it were otherwise, but both Dennis and Charles have left behind a genuine artistic legacy of which to be proud.

  • Hilary Davan Wetton says:

    Many condolences to Sally. Her father also died too young, but both Charles and Dennis have left an artistic legacy of which to be proud; I hope that is some consolation.

  • Amanda Roocroft says:

    Such sad sad news!! What a good man and champion of our business! My heart goes out to Sally and his family!

  • Gabi says:

    Thank you Norman, and everyone who has posted here. It is lovely to see such warm and heartfelt responses to my fathers death. He would have been very touched to read your words.