Mark O'Connor -- win a CD!

October 20, 2008 at 05:35 AM · Yes, I'm talking about Mark O'Connor, with his wonderful crossover projects, fiddle camps and overall innovative approach to our instrument. I'll be going to UCLA this week to watch him play and then to watch him give a lecture. I also plan to interview him, if not this week, sometime in the next few months. So I'd love your questions for Mark O'Connor!

Replies (26)

October 20, 2008 at 06:13 AM · I'm wondering why he decided not to continue the strings camp in San Diego. Could it be because he moved to NY?

October 20, 2008 at 11:07 AM · Now that you are an Artist in Residence in the LA region, when will you be offering workshops for students and teachers?

What aspects of music and string playing would you like to spend your energy and time teaching?

Great interview on NPR.

October 20, 2008 at 11:20 AM · Who influenced you in your decision to start playing and who were your greatest inspirations?

What correlations do you find between classical music and traditional music, or jazz and crossover styles.

What is your opinion of the 5 string violin? It's usefulness and possible future?

October 20, 2008 at 04:27 PM · You might want to check an interview my wife did with him in the Dec 2007 American Music Teacher (MTNA). It is available on line.

October 20, 2008 at 05:53 PM · I am unaware (but I could be wrong, I don't know that much about him) of him having recorded pieces from the classical repertoire. I know that's not his "style," but it would be interesting to hear his take.

October 20, 2008 at 06:13 PM · since his style is not exactly classical but highly respected by fellow classical musicians,,,i would like to hear his opinions on performers like andre reus and vanessa mae...

October 20, 2008 at 09:06 PM · I'm curious about what pattern and make fiddle he uses; Guarneri, Amati, Stadivari, modern, etc.

October 20, 2008 at 11:13 PM · Greetings,

could he talk a little about the (Adams)double conerto he recvorded with Lelia Josethingamyjig?

Hw does his work in other genres influence his playing in classical works and vice versa?

Doe sit require a similar practice routine to `stay in shape@ for his studio work in the same way classical music tends to?

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

If you had to choose five discs for s desert island sojourn what would they be?

Has he ever suffered from stagefright?

Dopes he eat prunes on a regular basis?

He has already composed a work for solo violin available for the Strad donload. Is composing going to be a big thig in the future? Does he feel this is a logical step forward from improvization?

How would a square classicla player get into blue grass, Jazz or whatever?



October 21, 2008 at 01:21 AM · How can a classical violin player learn to improvise?

October 21, 2008 at 02:31 AM · Is there any specific point in your development where you decided to 'do it all', instead of focus on violin or fiddle? What helped you make that decision (if it were a conscious decision)?

October 21, 2008 at 06:53 AM · What was his favorite piece from the 4 CDs he collaborated on with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Mayer?

October 22, 2008 at 03:48 AM · OK I can't resist.... I have seen Mark O'conner in concert twice over a ten year period....I would ask you to ask him: Why does he not play the Orange Blossom Special???

The American Symphony etc is nice (in fact what other player is actually writing any new music at this point?) but one cannot forget one's Weiser roots and the OBS is not tiring even after hearing it for the thousandth time.


October 22, 2008 at 03:05 PM · About 10 years ago I heard Mark say of his unconventional bowhold something like, "I know I don't do it right, but there it is." Could you ask him if he still feels his bowhold is unconventional, and if he finds any advantages or drawbacks to not having developed a more-conventional one? Thanks! Sue

October 22, 2008 at 03:27 PM · For those of us who are classically trained but interested in jazz, does he have any suggestions of how to approach it?

October 22, 2008 at 04:25 PM · Not for me, but on behalf of a friend:

Is he single?

October 22, 2008 at 04:56 PM · Laurie! You're getting all my favorite people! :D

That said, I can't think of a good question to ask him. Haha.

October 22, 2008 at 06:42 PM ·

A clip of Mark doing Orange Blossom Special.

and another with the Boston Pops

October 22, 2008 at 10:44 PM · Mark,

Just wanted to know if you were you going to write any more concertos for either one or two violins (& orch.), and also if you have plans to make any more collaborative guest appearances (Like you did with Natalie MacMaster, Bela Fleck, etc.). I love the music, thus far! :)

October 23, 2008 at 01:43 AM · What's up with his lovely family - are his boys still playing musical instruments.

October 24, 2008 at 04:57 PM · I hope it's not too late to chip in!

Please ask Mark to describe how technique and expression play off one another.

I've heard it said that classical violinists and contest fiddlers often play with technical brilliance but when playing traditional pieces something is missing.

1) If this is a fair observation, what is missing?

2) What technical skills would be useful for fiddlers who play bluegrass, Celtic, etc?

3) What do technical players have to change in order to be good fiddlers?



October 24, 2008 at 05:38 PM · Hello everyone! Just spoke to him yesterday and probably will post the interview next week. He has a lot coming up in the spring as well, so we'll be checking in with him again in about six months!

November 21, 2008 at 04:29 AM ·

Everyone, my apologies, but it's taken me longer than I expected to post this interview with Mark O'Connor! But just to let you know, I'll be posting it next Monday, and on every day of next week we'll have a new opportunity for someone to win his recording of his Double Violin Concerto, which he plays with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. A celebration of American music for Thanksgiving week!

November 25, 2008 at 06:44 PM ·

Congratulations to Patricia Baser, of Macon, Georgia, who won the Mark O'Connor CD by answering that Kentucky fiddler William Stepp originally wrote the hoedown used by Copland in "Rodeo"!

Jealous? Do you want a free Mark O'Connor CD too? Well answer today's question and we'll enter you to win, you still have four more chances!

Here's today's question about alternate tunings...if you don't know the answer there's a BIG HINT, too!

November 27, 2008 at 12:02 AM ·

Congrats to Maurice Ivan Saraza of Bronx, New York, who won yesterday's CD contest by correctly answering that "scordatura" the name for tuning the violin differently than EADG. He won Mark O'Connor's recording with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg of his Double Concerto.

It's not too late to win, we still have three to give out! Enter by answering today's question!


November 29, 2008 at 01:20 AM ·

Congratulations to Daniel Jenkins of Peachtree City, Georgia, for winning the Day 3 CD by correctly answering that  the string crossing technique used in both Baroque music and fiddle playing is officially called "bariolage."

You can still enter....

December 1, 2008 at 06:57 PM ·

I got just a little behind here, on the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend! So to catch up:

We have two more winners who will receive the Mark O'Connor CD:

Sydney Menees of Kansas City, Kansas, who correctly answered that yes, a fiddle and a violin are the same instrument, if used a bit differently!

Clare Chu of Fremont, California, who correctly answered that Mark O'Connor used his composition, "Appalachia Waltz" as inspiriation for his recently-recorded symphony. Congratulations!

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