Berklee and Mark O'Connor Join Forces for New String Program

By
Rob Hayes
October 12, 2010
Mark O'Connor
O'Connor performs with Berklee students at the December 2009 kickoff of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee.
O'Connor with Berklee students and faculty at the American Roots Music Program kickoff
Photo Phil Farnsworth
Photo Phil Farnsworth

Berklee and multiple Grammy-winning violinist, composer, and educator Mark O'Connor have announced the Mark O’Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program, to be held on the Berklee campus in Boston, June 27 through July 1, 2011. O'Connor will be on hand for special sessions and clinics throughout the week. The Berklee program follows by a week O'Connor's longtime string camp in Tennessee, to be held this year at East Tennessee State University.

Drawing upon the groundbreaking Mark O'Connor String Camps, the program will allow aspiring young performers to study with world-renowned string players, among them several Berklee faculty. Bluegrass, Celtic, classical, and jazz will be among the styles covered, and there will be three distinct tracks:

  • The Mark O'Connor String Program, featuring an all-star faculty lineup, for aspiring mid- and upper-level performers
  • A teacher training program, preparing professional string teachers to use the O'Connor Method
  • A day program for young children who are beginners. 

In each track, instruction will be offered on the violin, viola, cello and double bass.

"I've been pleased to be informally associated with Berklee for quite a few years. The idea for this collaboration took shape last December, when I was in residence at Berklee for the inauguration of their American Roots Music Program," says O'Connor. "With its own remarkable string faculty and amazing resources, the college will add even more to what we've been doing with the String Camps. And Boston, with a terrific contemporary string scene—which is happening largely because of Berklee—is going to be an ideal location."

"Mark is clearly one of the world's leading role models for contemporary string musicians," says Roger H. Brown, president of Berklee. "For years, his string camps have been magnetic north for some of the best young players, and many of them, like Mike Barnett, Hanneke Cassel, Casey Driessen, Rushad Eggleston, Alex Hargreaves, Evan Price, and Carrie Rodriguez, have later come to Berklee. This will be a great collaboration."

Musicians interested in attending the Mark O'Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program can apply on the summer section of the Berklee website. For more information about the program, call 617 747-2245.

A product of America's rich aural folk tradition as well as classical music, Mark O'Connor began his creative journey at the feet of a pair of musical giants. First of these 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. O'Connor has melded and shaped these influences into a new American classical music, and a vision of an entirely American school of string playing. A dedicated teacher, he is the creator of the O'Connor Violin Method and the Mark O'Connor String Camps, each a groundbreaking means to realize his vision of string education.