String Spectacle: Mark O'Connor teams up with Berklee for Summer Program
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 Glaser, Melissa 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."