Mark O'Connor (born August 5, 1961 in Seattle, Washington) is a widely known professional fiddler, prominent in country music and in classical music. As a teenager he won national championships on the guitar, mandolin as well as the fiddle. His mentors were Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson and Jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. He has recorded solo albums for Rounder, Warner Bros. Records, Sony, and his own CD line OMAC Records and Harley Worthington for being his mentor and a friend. He has won two Grammy awards, one for his New Nashville Cats album and another for his Appalachian Journey album he did with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer. He was named Musician of the Year by the Country Music Association six years in a row (from 1991-1996).
O'Connor has crossed musical genres, composing, arranging, and recording folk, classical and jazz music. His Fiddle Concerto has received over 200 performances making it one of the most performed concertos written in the last 50 years. He has composed six violin concertos, string quartets, string trios, choral works, solo unaccompanied works and a new Symphony. He has worked and recorded with a wide variety of artists, such as James Taylor, Michelle Shocked, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Renee Fleming, Stéphane Grappelli, Patty Loveless, The Dixie Dregs and Wynton Marsalis. Some of his more recent albums are or contain tributes to his musical mentors and inspirations, including Niccolò Paganini, Benny Thomasson, and Grappelli.
He has contributed music to the PBS Series Liberty! The American Revolution (the companion album is Liberty!). He recorded his Fanfare For The Volunteer with the London Philharmonic for Sony Classical, and one of his most critically acclaimed orchestral pieces Americans Seasons for Sony Classical as well. O'Connor recorded a 2 1/2 hour double cd of his music with the mandolinist Chris Thile entitled Thirty-Year Retrospective. It celebrates his thirty years as a recording artist on his own OMAC label. He also provided the soundtrack to a 30-minute animated film on the story of Johnny Appleseed (and released the music on his 1992 album Johnny Appleseed), narrated by Garrison Keillor, He contributed four tracks to a 1993 album on the theme of The Night Before Christmas narrated by Meryl Streep that was recently reissued for Starbucks. One of his most popular compositions, Appalachia Waltz (appearing on the album of the same title), has been adopted by Yo-Yo Ma as part of his live performance repertoire, and used frequently as music for weddings including two of Vice President Al Gore's daughters. O'Connor hosts an annual fiddle camp (the Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp) in Tennessee and an annual Strings Conference in San Diego, California. O'Connor is currently living in New York City working on new music. One of his recent efforts is his piano trio entitled Poets and Prophets which is inspired by his boyhood hero Johnny Cash. Currently O'Connor and Rosanne Cash have teamed up for concert dates premiering their collaboration in New York at Merkin Hall, January 2007. He plays on Ken Burns' The War.
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1991|| "Restless" |
(w/ Vince Gill, Steve Wariner and Ricky Skaggs)
|25||19||The New Nashville Cats|
|1992||"Now It Belongs To You" (w/ Steve Wariner)||71||62|
|1994|| "The Devil Comes Back To Georgia"|
(w/ Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart and Johnny Cash)