August 5 HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mark O’Connor

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mark O’Connor born, August 5, 1961 who according to Chet Atkins, “Mark O’Connor and Itzhak Perlman are two of the greatest musicians alive on the planet today.” 1991-1996, won the CMA award six consecutive years for Musician of the Year. Mark’s music combines bluegrass, country, jazz and classical music.
As a teenager he won national string instrument championships on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. His mentors Benny Thomasson who taught O’Connor to fiddle as a teenager, French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli with whom O’Connor toured as a teenager, and guitarist Chet Atkins.
O’Connor has developed a string instrument technique for music teachers and students, The O’Connor Method – A New American School of String Playing. The method places an emphasis on music and playing techniques from North America, in addition to focusing on rhythmic development, ear training, and improvisation.
The method is published as a series of books that also contains short essays about famous American who played fiddle, such as Thomas Jefferson and Davy Crockett, and the history of Gypsy, Mariachi music, and various dances. Teacher training sessions based on the method take place around the United States and in other countries.

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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