Concertos With Orchestra Press
July 14, 2011
AMERICAN SEASONS (SEASONS OF AN AMERICAN LIFE) FOR VIOLIN STRING ORCHESTRA AND GUITAR CONTINUO
"If Dvorak had spent his American leisure time in Nashville instead of Spillville, Iowa, his New World Symphony might have sounded like this."
-The New York Times
"As a composer, O'Connor is inventive, and as a performer-indeed, as his own virtuoso protagonist-he holds the listeners interest firmly. And he does so with great insouciance and even stoicism."
-The Los Angeles Times
"The seasonal sequence is an explicit nod to Vivaldi, wedding to the Shakespearean notion to the seven stages of man bring[ing] folk, jazz, and
blues into the classical environment, not contrasting them but mixing them in a completely unique and logical way."
-All Music Guide
"O'Connor the composer has now created a work destined to rank among the greatest masterpieces of American music."
-The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"If you've grown tired of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and Glazunov's Seasons don't appeal, you might want to give Mark O'Connor's American Seasons a
try. He has created a vibrant set of picture postcards whose scenery is unmistakably American."
-Barnes & Noble
"Calling Mark O'Connor an American Haydn may belabor the point."
-The Newark Star-Ledger
"Concise, lyrical and irresistibly rhythmic. (O'Connor) used his fabulous instrumental mastery of articulation and intonation to create character,
setting, story, and emotion."
-The Boston Globe
"It's [The American Seasons] the most complicated concert work yet by country fiddler O'Connor, who has achieved something resembling folk-hero
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Mark O'Connor met Antonio Vivaldi in Dallas on Sunday evening, and the two found common ground across 260 years."
-The Dallas Morning News
"Mark, this is a wonderful album. I'm so impressed by the inspired quality of writing and incredible playing-BRAVO!"
-Steve Epstein, producer, Sony Music Studios
Just this evening heard your American Seasons concerto on the radio. Beautiful stuff! Bravo! I enjoyed the hell out of it. Sounds like new directions for you.
(principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic)
"...the development of thematic ideas is imaginative, and each of the four movements is constructed with a strong sense of balance and timing. There's no denying the pull of the music...His technical bravura and expressive richness proved arresting; the long, eventful cadenza in the finale was delivered with remarkable flair."
THE FIDDLE CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA
-Martha Carpenter (Portrait Artist)
"Performing the Fiddle Concerto by Mark O'Connor was an unforgettable experience. It had a special meaning for me, both personally and professionally. When I heard Mr. O'Connor's recording of the concerto when I was 12 years old, I set a goal to play it on my last concert as a member of the public school orchestra program that got me started with the violin in Saline, Michigan. I site Mark O'Connor is my biggest hero in the music business today, and closing this chapter in my music career with one of his compositions was a very special moment in my life.
Practicing the concerto was a very rewarding experience. Most of my playing background is in old-time, bluegrass, and country fiddle playing and this matched up well with O'Connor's writing style both melodically and rhythmically. The concerto has a very folk-like "groove" unlike the traditional violin concerto. The orchestra, which was a public school orchestra, also enjoyed working on the piece. I would be walking to my next class after rehearsal and hear several people from the orchestra singing the theme of the concerto as they walk through the halls! The bottom line is that it was a blast to play especially perform!
On May 23, 2003, the moment had arrived. This was my last performance in my hometown and I knew it had to be great. From the downbeat, I poured everything I had into the music and before I knew it, I looked up to see that I was at the top of the last page. With the release of the last note came a release of emotion -- both from myself, and the audience. The audience immediately rose to their feet with a thunderous applause completely blowing me away! I couldn't hold back the tears as I bowed one last time for my hometown crowd. It was a long-anticipated moment and well worth the effort, the dreams and the inspiration brought to me by Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Concerto."
"Dear Mark, I think it [The Fiddle Concerto] is a great piece that will live on in the repertoire forever.
-Bob Phillips (Alfred Publishing-Author/String Clinician)”
DOUBLE CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, CELLO AND ORCHESTRA (FOR THE HEROES)
"He demonstrated...his ability to craft a uniquely, undeniably American form of concert music. It's also one amazingly virtuosic piece of music that O'Connor and Beiser --one of the most physically active cellists we've seen -- tore into with great joy."
-James D. Watts Jr. - World Scene”
DOUBLE VIOLIN CONCERTO FOR TWO VIOLINS AND ORCHESTRA
Thanks for your lovely letter. My in-laws loved your double concerto.
They raved to me about the concert. I hope you are having a
great year, and I hope that your musical life is as rich and fulfilling as
ever. I look forward to catching up sometime soon.
With warmest wishes,"
Wow! All of us at The Nashville Symphony are still basking in the afterglow of the most successful venture in our history, and we all owe you a huge debt of gratitude of the significant role you played in that success. You are simply amazing!
You, Nadja, and the new concerto were a smash hit, and provided just exactly the right magic to make our tour such a success.
-Alan Valentine, executive director (The Nashville Symphony)
"Exceptional artist Mark O'Connor has written a superb double concerto for
him and Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg"
-Marin Alsop (conductor)
"One of O'Connor's most important recent projects has been a collaboration with stellar violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, known for her impassioned
playing (and the subject of the recent award- winning film biography,"Speaking in Strings"). O'Connor wrote a double concerto for the two of
them, taking off in what he calls "a slightly different direction."
-Melinda Bargreen (Seattle Times ,July 15, 2001)
THREE PIECE FOR VIOLIN AND LARGE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: CALL OF THE MOCKINGBIRD, TRAIL OF TEARS, FANFARE FOR THE VOLUNTEER
"Fanfare for the Volunteer proves Mark O'Connor is a fiddling prodigy grown into a composer with no fear of melody. Vastness and intensity alight on Bizet, Nashville and Mussorgsky with a seriousness, vaunting great work. Conceived of as a symphony, these three individual pieces combine humble rhythms, motifs, driving triplets, bouncing jigs and brass swooning over pulsating strings. At times grandiose as only Americans can be, other times O'Connor accents the longing and confusion of the New World. His bluegrass cadenzas lead you to wonder: How is it such delicate souls walk the Earth and perform such beauty?"
– Mary J. Martin
CONCERTO NO. 6 FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA (OLD BRASS)
"I was privileged to see your performance of "Old Brass" and wanted to express my sincere admiration for your artistry. I consider the concerto to be a work of indisputable genius, and I look forward to purchasing the CD when it becomes available. As a former violinist and an admirer of all the famous violin concerti, I want to thank you for breathing life into a noble tradition."
"Once again, it was an absolute thrill to work with you! You are extraordinary. I got a chance to look at Old Brass and love it. --Look forward to our next collaboration! Warmest Wishes, Joanne Falletta" (conductor)
"We just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed your new concerto and performance last night at the Royal Albert Hall....we were there for you and it was a privilege. Thank you for choosing London for your premiere. Stunning. Hope to see 'Old Brass' released on CD before too long."
-Hilary du Cane”