Skip to page content

Mark O'Connor


About this Artist

Violinist/composer/fiddler 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. 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, Mark 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 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.

Viewing Mark O'Connor as a direct cultural descendant of America's 18th-century musicians, the producers of the six-part PBS documentary on the American Revolution approached him to contribute music. An album of the music he created, Liberty!, was released in 1997.

In April 2000, O'Connor premiered The American Seasons: Seasons of an American Life, at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, N.Y. Commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the hall's concert series, The American Seasons was recorded and released in Fall 2001.

In June 2001, O'Connor released Hot Swing!, a tribute to his great friend and mentor, the legendary French jazz master Stephane Grappelli. Released on his own OMAC label, the CD was recorded live with Jon Burr on bass and Frank Vignola on guitar. With featured guest artists Wynton Marsalis and Jane Monheit, the trio in January 2003 released In Full Swing on Sony's Odyssey imprint.

O'Connor was commissioned by the Academy of St. Martin the Fields to create a concerto for violin and orchestra that will be given its world premiere at BBC Proms in London this month; he will subsequently perform the work with the Academy on a tour of the U.S. in Fall 2004. Mark O'Connor also 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."

O'Connor regularly teaches master classes and has conducted symposia at many schools of music including Juilliard, Tanglewood, Aspen, Berklee, UCLA, Eastman, and the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. He generously donates his time in support of a number of organizations that promote music education and outreach, including Opus 118, Midori and Friends, Sphinx, Arts4All, and the Music For Life Alliance. He is founder of the internationally recognized Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp and Strings Conference.

Mark O'Connor now resides in San Diego with his wife and two children.