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Mark O'Connor's Symphony No. 1 Debuts at Cabrillo Fest

Mark's Symphony No. 1 (Variations on Appalachia Waltz) had its first performance August 3, 2007, at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California.  Commenting on the new work, Mark said,
"There was so much material to draw from.... The colors for the canvas included the expansiveness of the wide-open spaces... the thunder of the prairie and the majestic mountains... remembring home and what we left behind.  The right ingredients to create an American musical experience.

The reaction to the new work was immediate:

“…new works (premiered at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music) also met with considerable favor:  the rich Americana of Mark O'Connor's Symphony No. 1 (Variations on Appalachia Waltz)”       
                                            Baltimore Sun


“…the form of variations on O'Connor's own haunting Appalachia Waltz… was compelling evidence that O'Connor's mastery continues to mature.”    
                                        Metro Santa Cruz

“…an infectious hoedown”
                                    San Francisco Classical Voice

“Its impassioned writing is triggered by the evocative and rich melody of O'Connor's excellent fiddle work, Appalachia Waltz.”
                                    The Sacramento Bee

"Absolutely beautiful work that resonated with me.  Bravo!"    
                                    Kenneth Fuchs, Composer

“A hit!”
Marin Alsop, Conductor and Music Director, Cabrillo
             Festival of Contemporary Music

Crossing Bridges
from Mark O'Connor's
Appalachia Waltz Trio

In the March 05 issue, Strings magazine, James Reel says of the album: You don’t often hear viola and cello in old-timey-style music, unless it’s really old-timey, like Mozart and Beethoven.  But Mark O’Connor has recruited two superb young players to join him in his new Appalachia Waltz Trio.  This CD is an effort to keep alive, in the absence of disc mates Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer, the music he wrote for their hugely popular Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey albums.  O’Connor’s arrangements for this new ensemble sound entirely natural, giving everybody something interesting to do nearly all the time; the cello, for example, is almost never relegated to a simple backup role. Yet the music never sounds over-arranged, either.

These are spirited three-voice conversations, and the textures and interweaving melodic lines fit together perfectly.  O’Connor’s performance style is well known, and he does after all own these pieces.

The Billings Gazette says of Crossing Bridges:  "The fresh approach (to the music) breaths new life into some of O'Connor's most profound compositions, at the same time it gets them closer to the mountains."
The Seattle Times' respected music critic Melinda Bargreen has chosen Crossing Bridges as one of her "top selections for the best year-end and holiday classical CDs."

The Lexington Herald Leader gives Crossing Bridges 3 1/2 stars:
"Violin champion O'Connor returns here to chamber-inspired Americanamusic but with a slight modification of his trio format (viola subbing for double-bass). The adjustments make the music even lighter and more open to the playful folkish stride that is an O'Connor signature.

Robert L. Doerschuk, former editor of Musician magazine says of Crossing Bridges:
"In exciting new works for violin, viola, and cello, as well as a number of new arrangements of his Appalachian series (first recorded with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer), The triumph, in casting traditional fiddle music in an entirely new light, may be compared to Glenn Gould's epic re-examination of The Well-Tempered Clavier."

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