Born in the Dutch town of Zevenaar in 1983, Mark Braafhart was given two drumsticks at the age of five by his father, a conductor, and started taking lessons. After playing in a number of drum, wind and fanfare bands, Braafhart enrolled at the conservatory in Amsterdam, where he studied with Jan Pustjens, Nick Woud, Gustavo Gimeno, Lorenzo Ferrandiz and Victor Oskam. While a student, he frequently worked as a substitute with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
After working as a member of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for three years, he joined the RCO in 2008, replacing his former teacher Jan Pustjens.
Braafhart also teaches at the conservatory in Amsterdam and plays as much chamber music as he can. The instruments he plays belong to the orchestra.
‘We have outstanding instruments in the orchestra. All the percussion instruments are the result of many years of collecting and critically searching for the right sound and colour for our orchestra. That’s why we have the most beautiful triangle in the world, for example,’ he says.