Violinist and composer Mark O’Connor is widely recognized as one of the most gifted contemporary composers in America and surely one of the brightest talents of his generation. The New York Times calls his career “one of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music.”
A product of America’s rich aural folk tradition, Mr. 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, Mr. O’Connor absorbed knowledge and influence from a multitude of musical styles and genres.
His first recording for the Sony Classical record label, Appalachia Waltz, was a collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and doublebassist Edgar Meyer. The works Mr. O’Connor composed for the disc, including its title track, gained worldwide recognition for him as a leading proponent of a new American musical idiom. The tremendously successful follow-up release, Appalachian Journey, received a Grammy Award in February 2001.
Also in 2001, Mr. O’Connor was commissioned by the Academy of St. Martin the Fields to create a concerto for violin and orchestra. His Concerto No. 6, Old Brass, takes its inspiration from a Beaufort, South Carolina plantation designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.