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Quotes & Highlights

“The audience was on its feet…. They were moved by Mr. O’Connor’s journey without maps, cheering for the only musician today who can reach so deeply first into the refined, then the vernacular, giving his listeners a complex, sophisticated piece of early 21st-century classical music and then knocking them dead with the brown-dirt whine of a Texas fiddle.” —New York Times

Description

Violinist-fiddler-composer Mark O’Connor is a six-time Country Music Association Musician of the Year award winner and a two-time Grammy Award winner. A virtual Renaissance man of the violin, he has “crossed over so many boundaries that his style is purely personal” (Los Angeles Times).

A product of America’s rich aural folk tradition, O’Connor’s journey began at the feet of violin masters Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson and French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Along the way, between these two marvelous musical extremes, O’Connor absorbed knowledge and influence from a multitude of musical styles and genres. Now, he has melded and shaped these influences into a new American classical music.

O’Connor has appeared at The White House, the Presidential Inauguration Celebration and the ceremonies of Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Games for which he composed “Olympic Reel.” He is often featured on major network television shows, and past appearances include “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Great Performances” on PBS, the “Kennedy Center Honors” and America’s celebration of Israel’s 50th birthday televised on CBS.

In recent years, as word of his considerable writing talents have spread, O’Connor’s compositions have been embraced by a variety of performers. Yo-Yo Ma has recorded the solo cello version of “Appalachia Waltz” and frequently performs it in recital. Dance troupes, including Twyla Tharp, the New York City Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, are also discovering O’Connor’s expressive American music.

O’Connor regularly teaches master classes and has conducted symposia at many schools of music including The Juilliard School of Music, Tanglewood, Aspen, the Berklee College of Music, UCLA, the Eastman School of Music and the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.

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