- Media Library
- News & Events
- Producers Engineers Wing
- GRAMMY U
New York - Recording Academy Presents Up Close & Personal with Mark O'Connor (Boston)
On March 29th at the Berklee College of Music, we presented an Up Close & Personal event with two-time GRAMMY winning artist, musician, composer, music teacher and author, Mark O’Connor. He spoke to several GRAMMY U, voting and associate members, along with Berklee faculty and alumni, about his career spanning many years and various genres of music.
Mark has been playing violin, fiddle, mandolin and guitar since he was a young boy. His earnings from competition and performances helped with the family expenses and enabled him to pay for his music lessons. Signed to Rounder Records at the age of 13, he played with many legendary musicians such as country musician Roy Acuff, and the great jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. At the age of 19, Mark joined The Dregs (sometimes known as The Dixie Dregs) and played electric violin for this jazz/rock/fusion band. After they disbanded, Mark toured the world. He was signed to Warner Bros. Records as a musician and producer at the age of 24, the youngest on that label. After 13 years and 8-10 albums later, he left WB and signed with Sony Classical, where he created the world renowned CD “Appalachia Waltz”, his salute to American classical music, featuring YoYo Ma. The sequel “Appalachia Journey” gave Mark his first GRAMMY. Currently signed to Columbia Artists, he continues to perform around the world as a solo artist and with the newly formed O’Connor String Quartet.
During the Q&A portion of the evening (moderated by Scott Billington, VP A&R Rounder Records and Recording Academy NY Chapter Board Member), Mark provided insightful commentary about the emotional ups and downs of being a musician, the importance of practicing full songs as opposed to scales and his concern about the culture of instrumental music in today’s society. He ended the evening talking with the attendees about his internationally recognized Mark O’Connor String Camp and Fiddle Camp, as well as The O’Connor Method - A New American School of String Playing, for string teachers and students of the violin, which is designed to “guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces.” The O’Connor Method, which features American music, has overtaken the Suzuki method at many teaching studios and schools across the country.