Detroit Free Press Arts Reporter / Critic
A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Mark Stryker graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana, followed by a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.
His career began at the South Bend Tribune in 1989. He worked at the Dayton Daily News for two years before joining the Detroit Free Press in 1995. During more than 20 years at the Free Press, Stryker earned a reputation as a top-flight critic – particularly in the worlds of jazz and classical music – who married literary flair and deep knowledge of his subject areas with the sensibility of a dogged reporter. Initially assigned primarily to the music beat, Stryker added coverage of the visual arts – including the Detroit Institute of Arts – and became the key voice covering the city’s arts.
He covered the philanthropic rescue of the Detroit Jazz Festival, the tumultuous Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike of 2010-11, the Detroit Institute of Arts’ entanglement in the City of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and the arts’ ongoing role in the city’s revitalization.
His work was regularly recognized with national awards and in 2012, he was named a literary arts fellow by Kresge Arts in Detroit.
Since leaving the Free Press, he’s completed two books: “Destiny: 100 Years of Music, Magic, and Community at Orchestra Hall in Detroit” and “Jazz from Detroit.” The latter profiles iconic figures from the city’s jazz scene and was named Book of The Year by Jazz Times magazine.