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Symphony Series: Mark & Maggie O'Connor - American Classics

  • Cordiner Hall 46 South Park Street Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States (map)

Symphony Series: Mark & Maggie O'Connor - American Classics


Free "Inside the Music" Pre-Concert Talk, 6pm, Cordiner Lobby

Mark O'Connor - Splendid Horizons (Appalachia Waltz)
                              Strings and Threads Suite
                              Double Concerto,
Movement 1 "Swing" 
                                    Mark and Maggie O'Connor, violins

Dvořák - Symphony No. 9,  Op. 95, E minor, "From the New World" 

Sponsored in part by:

Presented in collaboration with Whitman College, Walla Walla Public Schools, Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla University.

Mark solo profile - photo by Jason Goodman (web format).jpg

Mark O'Connor

A product of America's rich aural folk tradition as well as classical music, Mark O'Connor's creative journey began at the feet of a pair of musical giants. The first was the folk fiddler and innovator, Benny Thomasson and the secon was French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Working with classical violin icons Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Yehudi Menhuin and Pinchas Zukerman, he absorbed knowledge and influence from the multitude of musical styles and genres he studied and participated in. With his body of work including 45 feature albums of mostly his own compositions, Mark O'Connor has melded and shaped these influences into a new American Classical music, and a vision of an entirely American school of string playing. 

Among the highlights of Mr. O’Connor’s multiple Grammy-winning recordings are “Appalachia Waltz” with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer spending a year atop the Billboard classical musiccharts. With more than 250 performances, O’Connor’s "Fiddle Concerto" released on Warner Bros. has become the most-performed modern violin concerto composed in the last 50 years. The "Americana Symphony” recorded by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony is a first for a modern-day violinist. “The Improvised Violin Concerto” released in 2012 is the first of its kindin violin history.

At age 13, O’Connor was the youngest person ever to win national fiddling competitions competing against all ages, amateur and professional. He is still the only person to ever win national titles (open to all ages) on fiddle, guitar and mandolin and he won a record-breaking six CMA Musician Of The Year awards. Mr. O'Connor was a member of three important and influential bands; the David Grisman Quintet. The Dregs and Strength in Numbers. During his twenties, Mr. O'Connor became the most in-demand session musician in Nashville appearing on 500 albums. 

The O'Connor Method was released in 2009 as "an American grown rival to the Suzuki method"(The New Yorker). It takes an American Classical approach to modern violin playing, offering a technical foundation using American classics. The groundbreaking method is the first string method to feature all American music including the violin duos on this disc, found in the advanced level of Book IV and V of the series. Mr. O'Connor performs on a Jonathon Cooper violin and D’Addario Strings and resides in New York City with his wife Maggie.


Maggie O'Connor

Violinist and American fiddler Maggie O'Connor performs a variety of musical styles in concert halls throughout the U.S. and beyond.  Frequently performing with her husband, violinist and composer Mark O'Connor, together they have appeared as guest soloists with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony and many other symphony orchestras performing his composition Strings and Threads Suite.  Maggie is
also a frequent guest performer in her husband’s ensembles ranging from Hot Swing and An Evening of American Strings to An Appalachian Christmas, a hit concert tour taking place each holiday season.  Maggie is working as co-director along with Mark for the O'Connor Method Camp NYC featuring the lesson book series that is rising in popularity each year.

Growing up in a musical family in the suburbs of Atlanta GA, Maggie started playing the violin at age 7 in a family band with her father on guitar and brother on mandolin. Concurrently, her mother invested hours driving her to classical violin lessons with Larisa Morgulis, a distinguished graduate of the Odessa Conservatory in Ukraine. Playing music with her family band is where Maggie began to develop an ear for arranging, group playing, and improvisation; skills she has embraced throughout her musical life. In her early years, she was a member of numerous bluegrass and rock bands at the very same time she was a member and soloist with Atlanta's top three youth orchestras.

After growing up playing American and classical music styles, Maggie continued her professional training at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied with violinist Herbert Greenberg earning the Bachelor and the Master of Music degrees in violin performance.  She was also a finalist in the Marbury Prize Competition for Undergraduate Violinists while finishing up her Bachelor's degree with distinction and had the honor of being accepted into the Five Year Advanced Degree Program along with being awarded the Career Development Grant while at Peabody.  She was the recipient of full tuition scholarships while studying at the Aspen Music Festival and School for three years.  Maggie currently resides in New York City with her husband,plays a beautifully handcrafted 1996 violin made by Lukas Wronski and uses D'Addario Strings.