String Spectacle: Mark O'Connor teams up with Berklee for Summer Program

By 
Rob Hochschild
August 26, 2011
String virtuoso Mark O'Connor, whose popular string camps have drawn musicians to sites across the country, brings his expertise to Berklee with the Mark O’Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program.
From left, Carrie Turner, Mariana Green-Hill, Ashley Liberty, and Melissa Tong perform as a quartet.
Daniel Bernard Roumain infuses hip-hop and rock into his violin playing.
Francine Trester, associate professor of composition (left), and String Department chair Melissa Howe.
Matt Glaser is the artistic director for the American Roots Music Program, which kicked off two years ago with a residency by O'Connor.
Keizo Yoshioka (holding cello) receives a hug from Sarah Chaffee after he was given the Daniel Pearl Memorial Cello. Each year the cello is loaned to a student of the Mark O'Connor string camps to honor the memory of the late <i>Wall Street Journal</i> reporter Daniel Pearl. Chaffee was the recipient of the cello last year.
Guest instructor Martin Hayes
Associate professor Mimi Rabson
Fiddler David Wallace (center) is accompanied by faculty guitarist John McGann and faculty bassist Dave Hollender.
Guest cello instructor Nathaniel Smith
Brad Phillips and Mark O'Connor
Professor Eugene Friesen
More than 100 students enrolled in the Mark O'Connor/Berklee String Program.
Mark O'Connor poses with students at the end of the program in a park at Boston's Prudential Center.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

For one week this summer, more than 100 violinists, violists, cellists, and acoustic bass players converged on the Berklee campus to study with multiple-Grammy winning violinist, composer, and educator Mark O'Connor, as well as some of the world's leading string virtuosos and educators from Berklee and beyond at this summer's Mark O'Connor/Berklee College of Music String Program

Of the 101 enrolled, 72 students participated in the main program for intermediate and advanced string players; 17 in the O'Connor Method for Beginners for string players in grades 1 through 6; and 12 in the Teacher Training Program, which certified professionals to teach the O'Connor Method.

Not only did the string players get to study with the renowned O'Connor—whose own musical roots draw from mentors Benny Thomasson and Stephane Grappelli—but also with other world-class musicians such as Daniel Bernard Roumain and Tracy Silverman as well as Berklee faculty Matt GlaserMelissa Howe, and Dave Hollender

The string program is not O'Connor's first collaboration with Berklee. In 2009, he helped kick off Berklee's American Roots Music Program with a weeklong residency featuring clinics, master classes, and a concert. 

While Berklee and O'Connor held competing string camps in previous years, 2011 was the first year the two joined educational forces.

"This is certainly helping bring more string players to our campus," said Dana Acker, director of summer programs. "Those 101 devoted string students are not only getting Mark O'Connor, but they're also getting Berklee."