Mark Quarmby gained his degree in Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying organ with Norman Johnston and piano with Marjorie Hesse. He has also studied and played in masterclasses with Dame Gillian Weir, Michael Radulescu, Hans Fagius and others. In 1995, he was elected President of the Organ Music Society of Sydney (in 2001 he retired after introducing fixed 3 year terms for presidents). He has also served on the committee of the Royal School of Church Music (NSW Branch) for several years and in 2002 was elected a Director of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
He was the Assistant Organist of St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, from 1989-2009, his duties being to accompany the choir and play the organ for all the Cathedral's main services and to organise the Friday lunchtime Organ Recital Series. He also teaches organ, piano and musicianship in the Cathedral Choir School; St Patrick's College, Strathfield, the Conservatorium High School and privately. At the Cathedral he has played for many important occasions which have included the funeral of Sir David Martin, the former Governor of NSW; two services before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh; the Sydney welcome to the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Sydney Memorial Service for Diana, Princess of Wales; and the funeral of international pop star, Michael Hutchance on national live television. In 2002 he played for the State Funeral of the longest serving Australian governor and war hero, Sir Roden Cutler.
He has recorded for CD, radio, television and film and regularly gives recitals in Sydney, having played at the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Town Hall, the University of Sydney, and St Mary's and St Andrew's Cathedrals. He has also given recitals in all states of Australia and New Zealand (including the Town Halls of Melbourne, Adelaide, Wellington and Auckland) being a guest soloist for the Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord in 1987, 1991 (when he performed a program of works by the Czech composer Petr Eben in the composer's presence), and again in 1994.
Overseas he has given recitals in New Zealand, England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and North America. In 1986 he accompanied the "Newington College Chapel Choir" on their tour of Europe, accompanying the choir in such places as St Margaret's, Westminster; St John's College, Cambridge; Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris; and Chârtres Cathedral. He has also accompanied the St Andrew's Cathedral Choir on their tours of Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
During May 1995 he toured Germany, playing recitals featuring Australian organ music. This included a recital in one of Bach's churches on the organ Bach designed. He also lectured on the history of the organ in Australia and Australian organ composition in Germany (in German), the Netherlands and England.
During August 1995 he returned to Europe with the choir of St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney; this time to play for over twenty services and concerts in famous English cathedrals. These included the cathedrals of St Paul's, London; Salisbury; Winchester; Oxford; Lichfield and St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
In May 1997 he toured France exploring four centuries of French organ building and playing 36 instruments. Later that year in October, he toured Germany and Switzerland, again giving organ recitals. In January, 1999 he played recitals in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as giving a masterclass and lecturing on the organ in Australia.
He was the accompanist of the Sydney University Graduate Choir for nine years and for several years was the repetiteur of the Collegium Musicum at the University of NSW where he also has been an organ tutor. A Licentiate of the Trinity College of Music in London, he was the first person to be awarded the Licentiate Diploma from the Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Ltd for whom he now examines music students throughout Australia and New Zealand.
During 2000 he gave recitals as part of the Olympic Arts Festival and also gave a live broadcast of Australian organ and choral music with the Cathedral choir for BBC Radio 3 throughout Great Britain during the Olympic Games.
For many years he played for the annual Easter Celebration in the Sydney Town Hall which was broadcast on television (7 Network and Optus Cable), FM radio and via satellite around the world. In July 2001 he performed recitals in Singapore, (also lecturing to the Church Music Students on hymn accompaniment), and Hamburg, Wangen and Wiesbaden in Germany. In August he recorded a CD of hymns, psalms and anthems with the St Andrew's Cathedral Choir.
In October 2002 he was appointed webmaster for the OHTA website in addition to his work as webmaster for the Organ Music Society of Sydney. In September 2003 he gave the opening recital of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia Conference in St Matthew's, Albury.
In March/April 2005 Mark accompanied the St Andrew's Cathedral Choir on a tour of Europe. There he accompanied the choir and played for services of Evensong in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral (including the Church of England memorial service for Pope John Paul II). He also accompanied them in All Souls, Langham Place and Brussels Anglican Cathedral. In June he was a tutor and recitalist for the Pipe Organ Encounter program in Singapore. Photo album of tour.
On March 13, 2006 he again played for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Windsor and Prince Edward in a live national television broadcast of the Annual Commonwealth Day Service held at St Andrew's Cathedral and later met the Queen and Duke.
In April 2009 Mark performed in St John's Cathedral, Brisbane and then in June 2009 Mark gave the opening recital of the American Guild of Organists Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, performing a program of "Organ Music from Down Under" and attended several organist conventions in the USA and Canada.
Mark took up the position of Director of Music at St Stephen's Uniting Church, Macquarie Street, Sydney in August 2009.
He is listed as a prominent Australian organist in the Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia (pub. 2003 p. 494).