"If Dvorak had spent his American leisure time in Nashville instead of Spillville, Iowa, his New World Symphony might have sounded like this." [Mark O'Connor's 4th Concerto "American Seasons"]
- New York Times
"Mark O'Connor-he's not what you would call...human."
- Stephane Grappelli
"Mark is so facile with his instrument and so completely on top of it. He's really one in a million. We won't see a lot more like him in this generation."
- James Taylor
"Mark O'Connor has been astounding listeners with his genius since he was 13. I believe he and Itzhak Perlman are two of the greatest musicians on the planet today. He's one of the few people I pay to go see."
- Chet Atkins
"You are witnessing a musical as well as an orthopedic miracle." [describing Mark O'Connor's virtuosity, May 11th, 1992]
- John Williams
"A fiddler who fuses folk and classical...Mark O'Connor, also a composer, goes places Copland did not."
- David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer [11/16/08]
Mark O'Connor's Americana Symphony
"a monumental work...inevitably will be compared to Copland"
- Associated Press
"So he's very aware of what's going on. He can talk and follow a conversation. And yet the fingers are moving, figuring out different permutations and patterns. Usually, you have to go through a certain translation. It's, OK, I want this, therefore I must do that.' Right? So there's something that's in- between. But with Mark, there's so little impedance between what comes out and what he's actually thinking. That's one of the qualities that floors people. It's his pure thinking. It just comes out."
- Yo-Yo Ma [Baltimore Sun]
"You really are the best musician on the planet." [Written to O'Connor after his New Nashville Cats won 2 CMA Awards - October, 2nd, 1992]
- Vince Gill
February 2002 On Mark O'Connor's first masterclass at Juilliard School, making his the first non traditional masterclass on a string instrument in Juilliard's history:
"It was an inspiring class."
- Stephen Clapp, Dean of Juilliard School
"Gershwin once told Maurice Ravel that his dream was to become a second Ravel....to which Ravel replied that he should instead become the first Gershwin....which he did.....and you are already the first Mark O'Connor!”
- Jean-Luc Ponty
"...the rich Americana of Mark O'Connor's Symphony... met with considerable favor...”
- Baltimore Sun
"…Nobody in the history of jazz fiddle has ever played with the technical assurance of O'Connor, and he has been a brilliant, and soulful improviser since he was a teenager…with O'Connor's fire and heart-on-the-sleeve emotional involvement rendering this not only one of the finest discs of his career, but one of the greatest jazz violin albums ever. Grappelli, who died four years go, would have blushed with pride."
- David Royko, Chicago Tribune
"It was an honor and pleasure for us to play with you and experience the power and depth of your musical vision. I have the deepest respect for you and what you are trying to achieve on behalf of American Music. You are a national treasure."
- Wynton Marsalis
"[O'Connor's] Americana Symphony may well be regarded one day as one of this country's great gifts to the classical music canon, as well as being a pivotal moment in the rise of the new American classical music"
- David McGee [Spin, Rolling Stone, Barnesandnoble.com, BluegrassSpecial.com]
"I'm listening to Amazing Grace again for the first time in a while – and your playing is positively orchestral… so gorgeous – the audience at that point will want me to shut up so they can listen to you….we'll do the long version, where you play an entire verse first – and perhaps more….”
- Renee Fleming [comments in preparing their duet of Amazing Grace for a Carnegie Hall concert]
"Mark's arrangements are probably some of the most widely copied in all of string music."
- John Hartford
"Mark O'Connor's unfinished trajectory, from largely self-taught fiddle player to concert-hall virtuoso and classical composer, is already one of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music."
- New York Times
"I felt his presence that of a present-day Paganini, a virtuoso/composer in the greatest tradition of the 19th Century."
- Joel Smirnoff
"Mark O'Connor playing that bluegrass fiddle like that was just absolutely mind-blowing ."
- Tony Rice
"Congratulations on winning the CMA "Best Musician of the Year" award. Barbara and I were thrilled to hear about your great accomplishment and wished that we could have joined you in Nashville again this year." [October 2nd, 1992]
- President George H. W. Bush
Remark about Mark O'Connor's composition Appalachia Waltz at the White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy:
"...one of the most important pieces of American music in many, many years, uniting the strains of classical music with American hill country music, which is an important part of my heritage."
- President William Jefferson Clinton
"A hit!" [About O'Connor's Americana Symphony]
- Marin Alsop
"O'Connor's new approach is "an American-grown rival to the Suzuki Method." [On the O'Connor Method]
- The New Yorker
"Spectacular. I am so grateful for those who stand up and do it right."
- Twyla Tharp
"I have been listening to your discs...they're fantastic and inspiring. (As are you!) I can't wait to hear your additional string quartets."
- Jennifer Higdon, composer
"Mark is a musical genius."
- Zac Brown
"Love your Americana Symphony and your Concerto #6 CD- it's dynamite!"
- Joseph Schwantner, Pulitzer Prize Winning Composer
"It's just so moving. It's traditional. It is new. It comes from many different places, but it's authentic."
- Yo-Yo Ma
"O'Connor the composer has now created a work destined to rank among the greatest masterpieces of American music." [About O'Connor's 4th concerto American Seasons for violin and orchestra]
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
""[When playing violin] at his command is like anything...he played on all of these Nashville sessions and just sort of took over that scene and revitalized it, and now he got burned out on it. He plays everything. He is a phenomenal guitar player, or mandolin player. He's got more natural ability than anybody I have ever met.".
- David Grisman
"Mark, you play your ass off."
- Pete Fountain
"Never has an honour been more well deserved." [Upon winning his first CMA "Musician of the Year"]
- Peter Asher
"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
"The king of this music...no one has ever taken your place musically in this scene, and they never will."
- Bela Fleck
"We're at the tipping point! Hooray for the American School!" [On the O'Connor Method Teacher Training course:
- Teacher Trainer
"Mark is a supreme master at what he does. Between thought and execution there are no impediments, zero. But what really interests me is that this is a person in constant development, hungry to develop."
- Yo-Yo Ma
"...a young musician who absolutely astonished me. Among other things, he plays the mandolin, and also he accompanies the group on the guitar. But it is when he plays the violin that I feel the great musician that he is, despite his young age. I predict for him a great future and I hope to live long enough to see the fruition of his great talent. He is 17 years old and his name is Mark O'Connor."
- Stephane Grappelli
"There's something about that guy's touch. I think he is to music what Muhammad Ali is to boxing."
- James Taylor