Mark O’Connor began his creative journey at the feet of American fiddling legend Benny Thomasson and the iconic French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. He has melded these influences into a new American classical music and is advancing his vision of an American school of string playing.
O’Connor has won three Grammys, seven Country Music Association Awards and several national fiddle, guitar and mandolin champion titles. His career includes representing the United States Information Agency in cultural diplomacy to six continents and performing for several U.S. presidents, including being invited as a teen to perform at the White House by President Ronald Reagan.
After he recorded a series of albums for Rounder and Warner Bros., including his multiple Grammy-winning “New Nashville Cats,” his recordings for Sony Classical with Yo-Yo Ma, “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” sold a million CDs and gained O’Connor worldwide recognition as a leading proponent of a new American musical idiom.
His Fiddle Concerto, released by Warner Bros., has become the most-performed violin concerto composed in the last 50 years. Through his own OMAC Records label, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra recorded his sweeping Americana Symphony, while his groundbreaking ninth concerto, “The Improvised Violin Concerto,” was recorded in Boston Symphony Hall. His touring group, the Mark O’Connor Band, consisting of family members (wife, son and daughter-in-law), debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s bluegrass album chart and the band's first album, “Coming Home,” won a Grammy Award in 2017.
He has authored a series of educational books on the O’Connor Method, now regarded as the fastest growing violin method in the country. The O’Connor Method features American music styles, creativity, cultural diversity and Western classical technical training.
O’Connor tours nationally as the Mark O’Connor Duo with his wife, Maggie, and with his “An Appalachian Christmas” revue. He also performs his original concertos with symphony orchestras. In addition, O’Connor hosts the online streaming series “Mondays with Mark and Maggie O’Connor,” broadcast from their home in Charlotte, N.C.