Culture Lust by Angela Carone
Friday, August 1, 2008
San Diego could once lay claim to Grammy-winning violinist and composer Mark O'Connor . He lived in Vista on an avocado farm, having left Nashville and a demanding schedule as a studio musician. O'Connor composed Vistas while there, inspired by the landscape around him. It seems inspiration is everywhere for O'Connor, but especially in the mountains and hollows of Appalachia. His album Appalachian Journey , on which he collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer, was a critical and popular success. Their effort led to O'Connor's Appalachia Waltz Trio , a chamber group that includes Mike Block on cello and Gillian Gallagher on viola.
For the last three years, O'Connor has been living in New York City, but San Diego is still home to his string camp , which takes place each summer at Point Loma. O'Connor and his Appalachia Waltz Trio performed on These Days and O'Connor talked about his passion for teaching and mentoring young musicians, his own mentors, like Stephane Grappelli and Benny Thomasson , and how he fuses his interests in roots, jazz, and classical music. Watching O'Connor play is really something -- kind of other-worldly. His skill and craft boggle the mind. You can see O'Connor and the Appalacian Waltz Trio this Saturday night at the Birch North Park Theater.