“One of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music.”—The New York Times
Violinist and composer Mark O’Connor is widely recognized as one of the most gifted contemporary composers in America. A product of America’s rich aural folk tradition and also trained in the classical and flamenco music traditions during his formative years, O’Connor began his creative journey at the feet of Benny Thomasson, who ushered in the modern era of American fiddling in the 1940s, and Stéphane Grappelli, a French jazz violinist who was one of the greatest improvisers in the history of the instrument. Along the way, O’Connor absorbed knowledge and influence from the multitude of musical styles and genres he studied. He has melded and shaped these influences into a new American classical music and is perpetuating his vision of an American school of string playing. His first recording, Appalachia Waltz (Sony Classical), was a collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and composer-bassist Edgar Meyer, which gave him worldwide recognition 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. Made up of some of the most talented and exciting string players on the scene, this quartet offers an unforgettable evening of explorations in new musical territory. Also featured are high- flying, virtuoso duets with each possible pairing of the group members. All of these celebrated works draw on O’Connor’s own well-documented (and uniquely American) musical history.
Join us for a conversation between Mark O’Connor and Joel Smirnoff, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, at 6:00 p.m. in Gartner Auditorium.
String Quartet No. 2 “Bluegrass”
String Quartet No. 3 “Old-Time”
Additional solo and duo pieces will be announced from stage.