April 4: Mark O'Connor With the Augustana Orchestra
Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues and Augustana College will present award-winning violinist and composer Mark 'O Connor with the Augustana Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Stanichar, at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Sioux Falls.
Tickets are available online via Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues.
Dr. Christopher Stanichar, who is in his fifth year as director of Orchestras at Augustana College, is excited about this opportunity.
"It is a rare and wonderful treat for our Augustana Orchestra students to have the opportunity to make music with one of the foremost violinists on the American scene today. I am deeply honored and excited to work with Mark O'Connor, and to share this experience with young people and the music making with the greater community. This is one of the most exciting opportunities I have experienced at Augustana College," Stanichar said.
Equally as excited are Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues officials.
“The Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues partnerships with Augustana College go back to 2001, when we began holding our scholarship concerts and All City Jazz Ensemble concerts on campus. When we were approached to visit about a concert with the Augustana Orchestra, the only musician who came to mind was the amazing fiddle/violinist Mark O’Connor. No one can blend the styles of classical, blues and jazz into such a find thread as O’Connor. This performance will be one to remember for years to come!” said Rob Joyce, executive director of SFJ&B.
About Mark O'Connor
A product of America’s rich aural folk tradition as well as classical music, O’Connor began his creative journey at the feet of a pair of musical giants. The first was Benny Thomasson, the folk fiddler and innovator who created the modern era of American fiddling. The second was French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, considered one of the greatest improvisers in the history of the violin. Along the way, between these marvelous musical extremes, O’Connor absorbed knowledge and influence from the multitude of musical styles and genres he studied. Now, at age 49, he has melded and shaped these influences into "a new American classical music, and a vision of entirely American school of string playing." As The Los Angeles Times recently noted, he has “crossed over so many boundaries, that his style is purely personal."
O’Connor’s first recording for the Sony Classical record label, “Appalachia Waltz," was a collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer. The works O’Connor composed for the disc, including its title track, gained him worldwide recognition as a leading proponent of a new American musical idiom. The tremendously successful follow-up release, "Appalahian Journey," received a Grammy Award in February 2001.
With more than 200 performances, his first full length orchestral score, “Fiddle Concerto,” has become the most-performed modern violin concerto composed in the last 40 years. It was recorded for the Warner Bros label in 1995. O’Connor’s second concerto, “Fanfare for the Volunteer,” was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Steven Mercurio, released by Sony Classical in October 1999. The Neward Star Ledger notes: “As a composer, he understands the power of a thematic transfiguration and development throughout a 40-minute work.”
The Wall Street Journal calls O’Connor’s most recent recording, "Jam Session," “dazzling” with live acoustic recordings that combine bluegrass and gypsy jazz.
About the Augustana Orchestra
The Augustana Orchestra is a student ensemble of 60 musicians. Its repertoire consists of major works and overtures, as well as traditional, contemporary, and popular literature for the orchestra. Talented music majors and non-majors alike play an active role in the orchestra program while pursuing music as a major or in other academic disciplines. The orchestra is often featured in Recital Hour, Chapel Services, and to promote interest in Augustana’s music program by playing with high school orchestras throughout the region. In October of 2011, the Orchestra partnered with legendary rock band Kansas as part of the band’s 2011 Collegiate Symphony Tour to raise money for music tour programs. This sold out event took place in the Mary Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.